Our Perspective

January 22 2014

Avoiding another crisis in the Central African Republic | Abdoulaye Mar Dieye

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Akadus Zangoa, aged 10, carries a container of water to his mother, who sells manioc from a small stall to make enough money to feed her family. Without access to clean water the fear of an epidemic within the camp is heightened. Photo: UNHCR/S. Phelps

First of all, I would like to draw attention to the tragedy unfolding in CAR. The sectarian violence in the Central African Republic has uprooted nearly one million people and it is estimated that 2.2 million, about half the population, need humanitarian aid. Now, a major food crisis is looming. According to the U.N., 94 percent of communities report that they do not have enough seeds to plant for the next agricultural season. There needs to be a strong and massive response from the international community. However, we must understand that the crisis has deep structural causes that are development-related. Extreme poverty, considerable inequalities, poor governance, weaknesses and failures of the political class triggered the crisis. While we invest in humanitarian action, we must also tackle the structural causes of that crisis as part of a wider effort aimed at putting the country back on a more robust development path.  When the violence subsides, attention must stay focused on rebuilding essential infrastructure such as water reservoirs, sewers, bridges and local clinics. To that end, public works projects can provide vital sources of revenue for women and men. Such initiatives can help restore trust and confidence among local communities across ethnic and... Read more

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