Crucial crossroads ahead for the Central African Republic

Pledges of over €2 billion for recovery and peacebuilding in the Central African Republic (CAR) were announced at a high level donors conference in Brussels yesterday.

This includes pledges worth €409 million from the European Commission and  €298 million from EU Member States.

The pledges were made in support of the CAR Government´s comprehensive National Plan for Recovery and Peacebuilding.

The Plan was drawn up by the Government in cooperation with the United Nations, the European Union and the World Bank – and its success depended on financial pledges the conference sought to secure.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, one of the key speakers to address the stakeholders, had recently concluded a 2-day trip to the conflict-wracked country. “Less than three years ago, the country was on the verge of destruction”, he stated. “I saw a country facing enormous challenges – but also a country with enormous potential, dynamic and intense political engagement.”

With 40% of the population in need of humanitarian assistance, the President of the Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadera, ensured he would neither let down his people nor the international community. “Your massive presence for this crucial encounter for my country shows you believe in its potential. It’s difficult but not a lost cause”, he said in his opening statement. “The time to act is now, and your support is much needed.”

Adolescents and young people represent 48,8 % of the country’s population, and remain heavily affected by the military and political crisis. A side event hosted by UNFPA, dedicated to the contribution of young people, took place ahead of the donor conference, with representatives from civil society, religious communities and women, who underlined the need for security, since the lack of it takes an especially heavy toll on girls and women.

The conference was attended by delegates from over 80 countries, international organisations and agencies.

“I found a country with enormous potential, a country with a lot of vitality and dynamism,” Mr Eliasson told the conference, saying he had been impressed by the substantial human and material resources available in CAR. His hopes for the country’s future, reconciliation and economic potentials were echoed by Vice-President of the European Commission, Kristalina Georgieva, who closed the conference together with President Touadera. “There is no reason whatsoever why the people of this country should be poor.”

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