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  • on 26.05.2015
  • at 06:27 PM
  • by evelina

EU steps up its efforts for CAR 0

The European Commission is ramping up its assistance to recovery, resilience-building and development efforts in the Central African Republic, through committing an additional €72 million euros for the ongoing crisis in CAR.

The announcement was given by the Commission at a pledging conference, held in Brussels today with the aim of attracting international attention and raising support for CAR, which is still living with the impact of recent conflicts.

Of the amount announced, €10 million of new funding will be used to boost humanitarian aid and support people and refugees who have fled to Congo and to other neighbouring countries, €40 million will go to budget support and €22 million will be devoted to the EU Trust Fund for CAR, denominated Bekou.

The Central African Republic has been ravaged by bloody clashes between rival armed groups since 2013 and the state along with its economic and social structures need to be completely rebuilt. There is no infrastructure, industry, or health care outside the capital, and there are also no jobs; 1.4 million people depend on food aid and 460,000 refugees who fled in neighbouring countries aren’t able to return home.

“The population has been experiencing a dramatic humanitarian crisis since 2012. In 2014 I asked the EU not to abandon our country, today I come back to reiterate my call”, President of the Central African Republic’s transition government, Catherine Samba-Panza, who led CAR delegation in Brussels, told the press. “The EU has always supported us but the aid that has so far been provided is insufficient, Panza stressed, adding that EU support was mainly focused on urgent needs and it is time now to take care of the displaced people willing to come back to the CAR. “We need support to rebuild their houses and to provide them with the minimum necessary to live.”

Bêkou Trust Fund

Launched in July 2014 by the EU together with France, Germany and the Netherlands under the name of the Bêkou Trust Fund, which means “hope” in Sango, the country’s main language, the first ever EU Trust Fund has the goal of supporting better support projects that link humanitarian and development actions in CAR and to pave the way for its recovery. The fund received an initial amount of €74 million: €51 million from the European Commission, €10 million from France, €10 million from Germany, €3 million from the Netherlands.

“They initiated the process, now we need other countries to join”, Panza pointed out, “CAR still needs 613 million, but only 21 per cent of the amount has been paid so far. We had many promises but the disbursement did not follow the promises. The international community needs to continue helping CAR to bring hope to the population trough such an important instrument”, she added.

“The Bêkou Fund has created strong connections between international partners to help the Central African authorities to get out of the crisis it has endured, to reinforce the state and to re-establish peace and security. I am very happy with the speed with which the Bêkou Fund has been set up, which shows how much the EU and its partners are aware of the need to react urgently to the crisis. The conference today is an opportunity to highlight the stabilisation process in CAR and to highlight the international solidarity for it,” said Commissioner of International cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica.

As of today, six projects have been already approved by the Trust Fund’s Operational Committee, to support health, urban rehabilitation, gender, food security, refugees in the east of Cameroon and to promote the independence of economic actors and economic re-launch.

“After years of conflict, the people of the Central African Republic deserve a present and a future of peace. Since the beginning of this crisis, we as the EU have been by their side to help bring recovery, stability and development to the country. The recent Bangui Forum has launched a process towards national reconciliation which is led by Central Africans themselves; with today’s conference, we reaffirm our commitment, together with our international partners, to support them on their path towards recovery and peace”, High Representative and Vice-President Federica Mogherini commented.

CAR’s President, who was voted into office in January 2014 as part of efforts to stabilize the country, urged European countries to deliver on aid promised to her nation, including funds to pay for the electoral process to be held later this year. But, she ensures, “I won’t be a candidate in the elections, I will stick to the game rules, as I want to demonstrate that some heads of state are able to keep their promises”.

by Eva Donelli – Afronline

Photo Credit: Monde Kingsley Nfor/IPS

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