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Central African Republic/International Conference on the Central African Republic, “From humanitarian relief to resilience building: the contribution of the EU Trust Fund ‘Bêkou’”

Published on June 2, 2015
Speech by Mme Annick Girardin, Minister of State for Development and Francophony (excerpts)

Brussels, May 26, 2015


First of all I’d like to thank the European Union for organizing this major international mobilization conference to support the Central African Republic in its process of stabilization but also of economic and social recovery, and I especially welcome the fact that the interim President is here with us.

1/ You’ve just reminded us of what is my first message: things are moving in the right direction in the Central African Republic, despite all the difficulties, which you’ve decided to confront bravely and resolutely with the Central African people.

I’d like to be clear: I don’t want to underestimate the difficulties, but we’re among those who see the glass as half-full rather than half-empty, because you have to move forward and find solutions. This, moreover, is what the United Nations Security Council said in its Resolution 2217 of 28 April: since the beginning of last year, the interim government’s efforts have been starting to bear fruit. Security has improved considerably, economic and social life is gradually resuming, particularly in Bangui, government departments are steadily being rebuilt in the country, the public finances are getting back on a sound footing, civil servants are being paid etc.

At the beginning of this month, the Bangui Forum provided an opportunity to bring Central Africans together on the basis of shared values of peace, reconciliation and reconstruction. The discussions led to a consensus on how to go about completing the transition process and continuing the country’s recovery. I’m referring first of all to the agreement on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration signed by virtually all the armed groups. I’m also referring to the Republican Pact signed at the Forum, which clearly sets out the steps to be taken and the commitments to be honoured in order to rebuild the country. In this regard, let’s pay tribute to the Central Africans’ determination – reaffirmed by the interim President – to organize elections by the end of the year, which must mark the completion of the transition and will enable the country to be given democratically-elected institutions.

2/ For all that – and this is my second message –, there are still huge challenges to take up and there are [humanitarian] emergencies everywhere. You reminded us of this, Madam President: your efforts, the efforts of the Central African people to overcome this crisis in the long term must be continued and encouraged.

The international community must not take its eye off the ball: on the contrary, it must maintain, more than ever, its support for the Central African Republic.

But this effort must be targeted in order to be effective. Beyond the initial emergency actions, the country’s lasting recovery requires determined support for the restoration of governance and support for economic and social recovery.
In this spirit, France intends to remain by your side.

In 2014, France contributed some €35-40 million. Our effort will continue at the same level in 2015 – i.e. more than €70 million over two years. The bulk of our assistance is shared between two key objectives: i) assistance with completing the transition and strengthening the rule of law, and ii) humanitarian relief and assistance with restoring social services and with the economic recovery. (…)

3/ That’s the message I want to end on: the Central African Republic has an urgent need for assistance, but the donors still aren’t mobilizing enough. The Central African Republic is a typical case of an aid orphan.

It combines two paradoxes:

- the development indicators there are among the lowest in the world, but aid per inhabitant is also among the lowest;

- the sharpest decrease in aid has come just as the country is bravely striving to resolve an exceptionally grave crisis.

My conclusion is simple: we must play a more active role in supporting the Central African Republic’s stabilization and recovery process. It’s also about consistency with what we’ve said, with our commitments and with the resolutions of the Security Council, which in its latest resolution welcomes the interim authorities’ effort, “regrets its insufficient funding” and “calls on member states, international and regional organizations to urgently provide support to the transitional authorities for the conduct of the transition.”

Several international meetings have been organized to spur the international community into more action. Here I want to pay tribute to the commitment of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee Chair, Mr Erik Solheim, the World Bank’s Vice-President for the Africa Region, Mr Makhtar Diop, and Commissioner Mimica. At all these meetings, in Paris, Washington and Brussels, the progress of the transition process has been commended and the need to encourage this progress to continue has been emphasized.

As you will have understood, France’s action in support of the Central African Republic is also about campaigning. It’s in everyone’s interest for the transition process in the CAR to succeed. It’s moving forward, but it still needs a great deal of effort. We all bear responsibility.
Thank you for listening./.

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