Central African Republic

OVERVIEW

After several years of civil conflict and instability, the Central African Republic (CAR) remains one of the least developed countries in the world. The security situation in CAR has been volatile since December 2012, when the Séléka armed group first entered the capital city of Bangui. Since that time, armed groups—many organized along religious and ethnic lines—have attacked civilians and pillaged natural resources across the country. At the height of the conflict, over one-quarter of the country’s population was displaced.

With the assistance of the international community, the security situation has improved in some areas. In early 2016, CAR reached a major milestone when it held peaceful elections and transitioned to a new government. Nevertheless, armed groups continue to control significant portions of the country outside the capital city of Bangui. An estimated 2.35 million people in CAR currently require humanitarian assistance.

USAID assistance in CAR focuses on two critical areas: (1) humanitarian assistance and (2) development assistance to rebuild social cohesion and promote economic recovery. CAR is a non-presence country for USAID, and activities in CAR are managed by the USAID Mission in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

PROGRAMS

Humanitarian Assistance

In FY 2015, USAID provided nearly $84 million in humanitarian assistance to conflict-affected and displaced populations in CAR and CAR refugees in other countries.

Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)

USAID/OFDA programmed $37.9 million for CAR in FY 2015, with over 23 projects and 21 different UN and international NGO partner organizations. Located throughout the country, the projects include primary health care, water and sanitation, cash for work, seeds and tools, non-food items (blankets, cooking sets, soap, etc.), livelihood restoration, shelter rehabilitation, NGO security information, separated child reintegration, air transportation, and humanitarian coordination.

Food for Peace (FFP)

USAID/FFP programmed over $47.3 million for CAR in FY 2015. These funds support the World Food Program (WFP) and UNICEF, which distribute food aid and also support refugees in Cameroon and the DRC. Approximately 68 percent of these funds provides food aid, but funds are also used for food vouchers and local and regional procurement of food for distribution. In addition, FFP partners with WFP and UNICEF to improve food consumption, reduce under-nutrition among children aged 6-59 months and pregnant and lactating women, and increase access to basic services for more than 1.25 million internally displaced persons and moderately to severely food-insecure people. FFP also provided 220 metric tons of ready-to-use therapeutic food to UNICEF valued at more than $3.39 million.

Development Assistance

In FY 2015, USAID provided $4 million to support social cohesion and conflict resolution activities in CAR. USAID currently focuses its interventions on strategic opportunities to build sustainable foundations for peace. This includes, for example, working with Christian and Muslim religious leaders to strengthen inter-faith dialogue and conflict prevention. USAID programs have also built peace committees in towns facing ethnic and religious tensions, in order to provide a constructive way to address conflicts.

USAID supports the CAR government to restart the certification and export of conflict-free diamonds. As much as 25% of CAR’s population earns a portion of its living from the artisanal diamond mining sector. As with many other economic activities, artisanal diamond mining came to a halt during the conflict and was impacted by tensions between Muslim and Christian communities. With USAID support, the sector is beginning to export conflict-free diamonds and is contributing to economic recovery. USAID’s approach to responsible diamond mining emphasizes strengthening social cohesion and conflict resolution in artisanal diamond mining communities, which includes the active involvement of women and youth.

In addition, USAID helps to reduce communities’ vulnerability to armed groups like the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) on the eastern border of CAR and the DRC. Through the use of USAID’s high frequency radio network, communities share early warnings of possible attacks by the LRA and other armed groups. Communities also work together to map out security vulnerabilities and develop community protection plans, so that they are prepared to respond if they learn of a possible attack. Because it is not possible to completely reduce communities’ exposure to attacks, USAID programming also provides trauma healing and community-based reintegration assistance to those who have been impacted by violence.

CURRENT DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE ACTIVITIES

Advancing Solutions for Peace through Intercommunity Reconciliation and Engagement

Mercy Corps

Central African Interfaith Peacebuilding Partnership

Catholic Relief Service

Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development (PRADD II)

Tetra Tech

Secure, Empowered, Connected Communities

Catholic Relief Services

Supporting the Foundation of a Peaceful Transition in CAR

United States Institute for Peace

Zo Kwe Zo: All People Are People

Search for Common Ground

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