Nov. 29, 2016
In the Central African Republic, recovery and reconstruction after its most recent civil war will take time, political will, courage and perseverance. But there is hope. After three years of unprecedented violence and civil strife, the recent presidential elections have opened the door for a fragile peace brokering process. Now, for the first time; citizens have a democratically elected president and parliament. A 12,000 armed strong peacekeeping mission is deployed on the entire territory that is able to contain the armed groups scattered throughout the territory. Professor Faustin Archange Touadéra, President of the Central African Republic, says, "Accordingly, we plan to launch immediately a program for disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and repatriation of former combatants." Despite its entrenched poverty, and frail economic and social climate, the CAR’s public finances are no longer in acute crisis. Regionally, there are signs of a rebound in confidence, with the resumption of international flights to Kenya and the reopening of the road corridor to Douala . All these signs point to a “Turn-Around” situation. And with this headwind, the people of the CAR, their leaders and development partners can make real progress toward the kind of positive change that can make a real difference in the lives of citizens that have been hardest hit by violence and civil strife. Consider this: about 2.3 million people, around half of the country’s population, are still in urgent need of humanitarian assistance But it will take commitment from the international community: commitment that goes beyond stabilization efforts and humanitarian aid. Professor Faustin Archange Touadéra, President of the Central African Republic, says, "Fortunately, the international community, at the peak of this crisis, stood at our side; and now, as we endeavor to emerge from that situation, the international community continues to lend us support. We wish to show our commitment. We wish to show that we are determined to leave that situation behind, with the help of resolute reforms." The country is rich in natural resources. With plenty of water and arable land, these citizens can rebuild their lives and become food secure. By working to diversify the extractives industry and developing its agriculture sector, the CAR could drive its economy. The World Bank is working with partners to ensure that this fragile and hard won stability is lasting. Accessing the turn-around facility under IDA17 will allow for the allocation of resources to support the CAR and her new leaders. So that work can begin to provide employment to citizens. So that emergency public services can be restored, hospitals and schools can be rebuilt. So that essential electricity and water services can reach citizens of the communities most affected by the crisis. So that the 380,000 internally displaced people, now hosted in makeshift camps, can safely return home. So that former combatants are reinserted into society and provided with job opportunities as part of the reconciliation effort. It’ll take continued effort to ensure peace and stability, but it is worth it. Faustin Archange Touadéra, President of the Central African Republic, says, "Currently, our main support is the will of the people of the country to turn the back on the aforesaid situation. They made that plain in the elections. They want to get out of that situation, with its endless conflicts."