PEP-PAGE project

Education language choice and youth entrepreneurship in Chad

Results from this study show that young people who choose Arabic instead of French as educational language are more likely to become entrepreneurs. However, such type of entrepreneurship is undertaken as a means for subsistence rather than profit-seeking activities. Find out more below, including links related PEP publications.

Context, issues and objectives

This project examines the effects of the choice of language for education (French, Arabic or bilingual) on self-employment and firms’ performance in Chad.

In a context of growth revival and development of the private sector - mainly due to the explosion of subcontracting activities in the public sector, which has given new dynamics to entrepreneurship - more than 74% of workers are now self-employed in Chad, according to the second survey on consumption and the informal sector (ECOSIT II).

In this context, Chad, as most developing countries, has recognized the importance of the development and promotion of micro, small and medium enterprise (MSMEs), for the significant role they play in a country's social and economic development.


In 2005, the Chadian government adopted a national strategy" for the and development promotion of MSMEs and, since 2007, has implemented two programs of support for youth entrepreneurship.

On the other hand, according to ECOSIT II, almost 63% of the total labour force in Chad speaks French, as compared to 31% for Arabic. In the public administration, 80% of workers are French speakers, while only 8% speak Arabic. As a result of French colonization, the teaching of Arabic in public school in Chad became mandatory only in 1995 - prior to what the educational system was mainly French-speaking.

The ongoing efforts to promote bilingualism in Chad may then serve to lift the barriers faced by those whose highest literacy is in Arabic when entering the public sector. However, if the acquisition of Arabic language skills may prove to be useful in the local labor market especially for trade activities, the daily practice of French in the administration may act as an impediment for entrepreneurship. Consequently, the effect of the choice of Arabic as a language of instruction on labour market outcomes remains unclear.

During the last decade, a substantial theoretical framework has been developed to model the impact of education on entrepreneurship. However, most of these studies conclude that a general education has a strong positive influence on entrepreneurship in terms of becoming self-employed and higher profits. Most of those papers that have identified significantly positive effects of education ignore the impact of language of instruction and do not focus on the case of developing countries in general and African countries in particular. This team of local researchers thus sought PEP support to try and fill this gap.

Research method and key findings

To achieve their objective, the researchers have made use of a recursive bicariate probit model to tackle the endogeneity of education choice, to analyze data from the third (and most recent - 2011) Chadian survey on consumption and the informal sector (ECOSIT III). The propensity score matching approach was also used to check for the robustness of results. Three main conclusions are derived from the analysis:

  • First, those youth who choose Arabic-language education are more likely to be an entrepreneur.
    • However, the majority of Chadian “firms” (or entrepreneurial activities) is composed of informal production units, and such type of entrepreneurship refers to subsistence rather than profit-seeking activities.
  • Second, youth are more likely to be self-employed in Chad.
  • Third, the probability to be self-employed is higher for men than women.

Find out more through about the research methods and findings, as well as ensued policy implications, through the PEP publications posted below - in particular, the working paper 2015-02 and policy brief 117

Project links and documents

Research team

Find out more about this project - its analytical approach and outcomes - through the following links/documents:
  • Mallaye Douzounet
    Researcher/Lecturer, University of N'Djamena (Chad)
  • Benjamin Fomba Kamga
    Researcher, CEREG
    Senior Lecturer, University of Yaoundé II - Soa (Cameroon)
  • Eurydice Tormal Gosngar
    Researcher, CEREG
    University of Yaoundé II - Soa (Cameroon)
  • Koulké Blandine Nan-Guer
    Economist, Ministry of Higher Education and Research, Chad
  • Urbain Thierry Yogo
    Researcher, CEREG, University of Yaoundé II (Cameroon)
PEP Project PMMA-12366 Working paper 2015-02 (PDF)
Project proposal (Word) Policy brief 117 (PDF) - in English
Résumé aux décideurs (PDF) - en français
Final report (PDF) Slide presentation (PDF)

Policy engagement, consultation and dissemination

Throughout the project lifecycle, the team has consulted with and been consulted by officials and representatives of the Ministry of Civil Service and Labour, the Ministry of National Education, the Ministry of Higher Education and the Ministry of Youth (including those in charge of the Youth National Funds, FONAJ).

Following these initial consultations, the Ministry of Youth, in particular, and several other stakeholders have requested further meetings with the team in order to examine the final research findings and possible related policy actions to be considered. Among other outcomes, and in addition to improving their profiling of entrepreneurs in the country, the Ministry of Youth put in place a new fiscal mechanism to improve the financial support of FONAJ to the self-employed youth.

The team has also been asked by the Director of the Centre National d’Appui à la Recherche (CNAR) to present their finding in one of their monthly conferences, usually involving large academic audiences.


So far, the team has been invited to present their PEP research work and preliminary findings during the following international conferences: 

  • June 2014 -  Bordeaux, France: 5th GREThA International Conference on Economic Development, organized by the Gretha Research Center-Bordeaux
  • November 2014 - Atlanta, USA: Southern Economic Association Conference

A PEP national policy conference was organized in December 2015 to present the final results and recommendations to policy makers and stakeholders, as well as the general public. Find out more about this particular event and its main outcomes.


PEP-PAGE projects

The project described above is one of the several projects selected for support under the PEP research and capacity building initiative for Policy Analysis on Growth and Employment (PAGE) in developing countries. The PAGE program is co-funded by UK's Department for International Development (DFID) and Canada's International Development Research Center (IDRC).

This particular project was selected in June 2013, following the first of three competitive calls for proposals of the PAGE initiative. So far, a total of 42 projects have been selected for support under the two first PAGE funding rounds. Find out more




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