Despite years of prolonged civil war between government and rebel forces, things are finally looking up for Central African Republic according to the World Bank Group.
More than 1,500 rebels have already laid down their arms and have embraced the imminent Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration Program (DDR), pointing to a bright future for CAR.
“If possible, I’d like to finish my studies, become a free and decent citizen, and more than anything, to put all this behind us,” one rebel told the World Bank Group.
As part of the ongoing national stabilization and reconciliation process, the World Bank has teamed up with other development partners to initiate a major Turn-Around program that will support recovery and reconstruction efforts in Central African Republic.
The bank says it will give special attention to the youth who have been neglected by the society for many years, making them an easy target for radicalization and enrollment into armed groups.
Cash for Work
During the past three years of civil war in CAR, the World Bank Group has been running an empowerment project dubbed Stand Up in the capital city, Bangui.
Through this project, the bank has been able to give youths in the war-torn country temporary employment, which has been significant in restoring peace.
“The World Bank, through its Londo (“Stand Up”) project, facilitated peace building and stabilization efforts by giving short-term employment to 8,500 men and women in 17 districts at a time when insecurity still prevailed,” The World Bank Group reported.
Through this program, the bank has been able to convince many rebel fighters to put down their arms by guaranteeing them better ways to earn a decent income.
Hope for Peace amid Continued Tension
The World Bank Group has expressed its hope for a more stable Central African Republic following successful democratic elections in March this year. For the first time in its history, CAR has a democratically elected president and parliament.
Although the March elections have brought the three-year turmoil to an end, peacekeeping troops are still present in many parts of the country, and sporadic outbursts of violence are still being witnessed.
“On top of rebuilding the nation, the primary challenge will be to ensure the restoration of security throughout the country, promote national reconciliation, and take care of the internally displaced,” the World Bank notes.
Despite the impressive steps that the Central African Republic has taken towards ending violence and building peace, tens of thousands of internally displaced people are still living in makeshift camps.