Eradicating exclusion key to ending the violence in CAR, says UNDPFeb 9, 2015
Involving populations in decision-making, including young people, must be at the center of all peace and recovery efforts
Bangui, Central African Republic (CAR) – Massive investments are required to bridge the social divide in CAR, said Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, the Head of the Africa bureau at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as he concluded a five-day official visit here.
"Widespread poverty, inequality, exclusion and a weak State in a country with high economic potential: these are the ingredients of the crisis in the Central African Republic," said Mr. Dieye.
The government is pinning its hopes on the Forum of Bangui, a national gathering on reconciliation to be held in March. The event is widely expected to help restore peace and to forge a shared vision of the country, and it was preceded by a series of popular consultations organized throughout the country.
"The solution is youth: this country belongs to you, it is you who will have to build this nation," Mr. Dieye told a group of young people mobilized by UNDP to build a cultural and sports center in Bangui. A total of 1,000 young women and men will take part in the programme, receiving a salary and promoting dialogue in neighborhoods across the capital.
With an overall unemployment rate of 20.3 percent in 2010, the Central African Republic is unlikely to reach its target of achieving full employment by 2015. According to the national Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) report, issued in 2010, women and young people are particularly affected and the situation is likely to have worsened since the onset of the crisis.
During his visit, Mr. Dieye met the Head of State, Catherine Samba-Panza, the Prime Minister, the President of the Transitional Parliament, government ministers, as well as the Head of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), Babacar Gaye.
He also met Dieudonné Kombo Yaya, the President of the National Electoral Authority, the body responsible for organizing a constitutional referendum as well as general and presidential elections this year, and called on the international community to help fund the remaining gap.
The total budget of the electoral assistance programme is USD 44 million and UNDP is managing its basket fund. The European Union has confirmed that it would contribute to the basket fund to the tune of USD 21 million. UNDP is implementing the programme and will contribute USD 2 million USD. France announced a contribution to the electoral budget to the tune of USD 450,000.
“Just the same way that the West African region supported the elections in Guinea-Bissau, regional communities should support the RCA elections," he said.
The transitional government has adopted a roadmap which prioritizes the political dialogue; national reconciliation; the organization of elections; support for the process of restoring peace and security; community recovery; and humanitarian assistance.
In addition, Mr. Dieye visited police stations rehabilitated by UNDP in three districts of Bangui. He also traveled to Bossangoa, in the north of the country, where UNDP rebuilt city hall and provincial government offices.
"Administrations are central to the process of establishing peace and development. it is the heart of the nation. So the first action we must undertake is to restore the authority of the State, "said Dieye during his field visit there.
According to OCHA, the Central African crisis has uprooted over 438,000 people within the country and forced more than 423,000 people to flee to neighboring Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo. More than half of the country's population, about 2.5 million people, are in need of humanitarian assistance and more than 60 percent of the population continues to live in extreme poverty.
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