- Title: Donors pledge 2 billion euros for Central African Republic
- Date: 17th November 2016
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (NOVEMBER 16, 2016) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF EU COUNCIL BUILDING EU FLAGS OUTSIDE COUNCIL BUILDING EU SIGN
- Embargoed: 2nd December 2016 16:58
- Keywords: EU World Bank U.N. donors Mogherini Vallini France Central African Republic CAR Conflict Africa Touadera
- Location: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- City: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: Overseas Development Aid,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00258U3I2V
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: International donors promised 2.06 billion euros ($2.2 billion) for the Central African Republic (CAR) on Thursday (November 17), seeking to cement a recovery from three years of sectarian strife that has left the country dependent on United Nations peacekeepers.
Despite a respite in violence following the election of a new president in February, clashes between militias are rising in one of the world's most chronically unstable countries.
The departure of French troops this month puts the onus on U.N. peacekeepers and an EU military training mission, as well an International Monetary Fund programme, to try to rebuild the strategically-located country in sub-Saharan Africa.
EU Foreign Affairs Chief Federica Mogherini said the donors believed Central Africa had not only overcome a devastating conflict but that it was ready to rebuild. However the relative and fragile stability of CAR depends on reconstruction, for which the government needs a massive injection of funds.
"The programme (agreed between donors and CAR) is vast and ambitious, it is a clear roadmap we agreed together. The international community has a fundamental role to play to achieve this plan. In terms of reconstruction, the needs are huge, estimated at 1.6 billion dollars," she said.
At a conference in Brussels, 80 countries and international agencies pledged the money for the next four years, including more than 700 million euros from the European Union.
"Your enormous presence at this crucial meeting for my country is sufficient proof that you believe in the Central African Republic. Indeed, the situation in my country is hard, but it is not a lost cause," the Central African Republic's President Faustin-Archange Touadera said.
Central Africans have been among those rescued in the Mediterranean this summer, part of a rising tide of refugees and migrants boarding unseaworthy boats in North Africa to reach Italy.
The country has been plagued by inter-religious and inter-communal conflict since 2013 when the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power, prompting reprisals from the anti-Balaka militia, many of whose fighters are nominally Christian.
The level of violence fell after an election in February that brought Touadera to power but rose again in October.
With no army and few basic services in the country, a United Nations force has been deployed since 2014 to shore up the precarious stability established under a transitional government after France intervened in December 2013 to avoid a civil war.
"When I say the Central Africans need to go into action to take advantage of the aid dedicated to them, what I mean is that they need to speed up, themselves, the setting up of these projects and the implementation of these projects," said Andre Vallini, France's junior minister for development, adding France would give 85 million euros for the 2017-2019 period, having pledged 75 million euros in 2014.
The new government in the capital Bangui still does not have control over the whole country, while the pro-Muslim and pro-Christian militias have already displaced some 400,000 people, although some have been able to return home.
CAR's president vowed to fight corruption, to work on reconciliation and to help refugees and Internationally Displaced People (IDPs) return home.
The European Union is also trying to build a professional army and a defence ministry to eventually allow U.N. peacekeepers to leave, starting 14-week training periods to try to build up a battalion. However, the army also lacks experienced commanders to run missions.
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