Central African Republic

Central African Republic
Population 4,854,904 (2014 Official Census)
Independence 1960, France
Languages French (official), Sangho (official)
Form of government Republic
GDP (2014) $1.78 billion; per capita (2014): $600

 

The Central African Republic (CAR), a landlocked country located in Central Africa and bordered by six countries, DRC, Republic of Congo, Sudan,  South Sudan, Cameroon and Chad. It gained its independence from France in 1960. The country has experienced periods of stability marked by bouts of destabilization and civil war. The most recent conflict, beginning in 2012, involves fighting between the Muslim minority Séléka (“alliance”) rebel group and loosely organized Christian anti-balaka (“anti-machete”) militias.

A Séléka-led coup in 2013 deposed President François Bozizé, who had been in power since  2003. On 18 April 2013 Michel Djotodia was recognized as the transitional head of government at a regional summit in N'Djamena. After the renewed conflict between the supporters of Francois Bozize and Séléka President Michel Djotodia resigned and this led to the formation of a National Transitional Council. The Council elected H.E. Catherine Samba-Panza as interim president in 2014, in advance of scheduled popular elections in 2015.

The Bangui Forum for National Reconciliation, held in May 2015, signified an important step toward peace in CAR. Ten factions of Séléka and anti-balaka signed a disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) agreement, and both sides agreed to release all child soldiers under their control. Participants, including civil society and religious groups, also agreed to establish a national truth and reconciliation commission, and set priorities for economic and social development.

The Central African Republic has been a member of the g7+ since 2010 and has subsequently endorsed the New Deal. A light fragility matrix was produced in early 2015, and provides a basis for further consultations and debate around a full fragility assessment and a New Deal Compact. The g7+ Secretariat participated in the Bangui Forum, and under the mandate of the g7+, CAR has engaged in fragile-to-fragile cooperation with Timor-Leste, another g7+ member.

Government Title Name
President H.E.Faustin Archange Touadera
rime Minister H.E. Simplice Sarandji
Minister of  Planning and International Coooeration Minister of Finance H.E. Felix Moloua
g7+ Focal Point, 
Director of Multilateral Cooperation
Mr.Bienvenu-Hervé Kovoungbo

 

Ms. Catherine Samba-Panza was elected interim President by a National Transitional Council in 2014. As an interim head of state, she is not permitted to run for reelection. The interim Prime Minister, H.E. Mahamat Kamoun, is the current head of government. The cabinet is the Council of Ministers, appointed by the Prime Minister in concert with the President.

The parliament is the unicameral National Assembly. Members are directly elected to five-year terms. It traditionally has 105 members; the National Assembly was dissolved in 2013, but popular elections are scheduled for 2015.

Local authorities are appointed by the central government. The interim government and development partners support decentralization, but formalized local governance structures are not yet active.

CAR’s security situation and limited infrastructure is challenge to social welfare and economic growth. Life expectancy in CAR is among the lowest in the world, and infant and maternal mortality rates are high. Food insecurity and poor access to healthcare are obstacles to productive employment. Ongoing conflict has disrupted the schooling of many school-aged children, and more than 425,000 people are internally displaced.

A 2008-2010 Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper outlined four target areas for development: (1) Security and conflict prevention; (2) Good governance and rule of law; (3) Rebuilding and diversifying the economy; and (4) Developing human capital. Limited domestic resource mobilization in recent years has prevented achievement of development goals, but the interim government has taken concrete steps to focus domestic and development partner resources on humanitarian assistance and security strengthening.

CAR has abundant natural resources, offering opportunities for foreign direct investment in the timber industry and diamond industry. CAR was EITI compliant from 2011 to 2013, and will be eligible for compliance again following elections scheduled for 2015. Most of CAR’s population is engaged in subsistence agriculture; the agriculture sector currently generates more than half of the country’s GDP, and with ongoing development, CAR has the potential to become an agriculture exporter.