CAR President Touadéra’s all-out efforts to save his shattered nation
BY ALAN GREEN
International reporting about the Central African Republic (CAR) focuses heavily on the incessant violent clashes between the country’s armed Muslim and Christian factions, with the civilian population caught in the middle, not to mention the heart-breaking stories of sexual violence against women and children. Rarely does the reporting acknowledge the results—albeit insufficient—of the authorities’ massive efforts over the past three years to bring the sectarian violence under control, especially the resolve of the country’s president since March of this year, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, to bring his country back in the international community. The resolve climaxed recently in his being able to secure a much-needed financial support from the donors community to get the devastated economy back on track, among other things.
In mid-November, President Faustin-Archange Touadéra’s all-out efforts resulted in securing a pledge of $2.2 billion (2.06 billion euros) from international donors gathered at the European Union’s headquarters in Brussels. But the total pledges covering the next four years fell short of the $3.0 billion targeted by the president.
“The situation of my country is difficult,” Touadéra stated in his appeal to the donors community, adding, “but it’s not a lost cause.” The math teacher turned politician who previously served as the shattered nation’s Prime Minister, pleaded: “We need your solidarity and support.” The pledges came from the European Union, the United Nations, the IMF, World Bank as well as the United States and the former colonial power, France.
The welcome support from the international community came as the culmination of the president’s massive efforts in Africa itself to look for support.
Arriving in Cote d’Ivoire on November 6, the Central African Republic’s head of state met with his Ivorian counterpart, President Alassane Ouattara, at the presidential palace in Abidjan. Touadéra told the press in Abidjan:
“We are here to request that President Ouattara uses his leadership position to get the Central African Republic’s plea to investors,”
Speaking before his guest, President Ouattara remarked:
“The Central African Republic is coming out of a serious crisis. His visit provides the framework to share our own experience.”
Besides meeting its desperate financial needs, The Central African Republic could also use help from Cote d’Ivoire’s experience, drawing from the West African economic powerhouse’s successful efforts to restore law and order after its post-election quasi-civil war that claimed nearly 3,000 lives in 2011.
President Faustin-Archange Touadéra may have made a giant step in his efforts to rebuild the Central African Republic by securing whopping $2.2 billion from the donors community, but his work is cut out for him, as his government’s control barely extends beyond Bangui, the capital. The security situation is all the more worrisome as France recently pulled out its troops named Sangaris, as the good weather, which favors the militias’ movements across the country, is back. That leaves only UN peace-keeping forces in charge of the dire security situation.
READ OUR EXTENDED REPORTING ABOUT THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC HERE AND IN THE NEXT PAPER EDITION OF “THE AFRICAN.”