In some areas there are equivalent safeguards offered through informal savings groups or the solidarity of church congregations. About , IDPs and about 85, people in the process of resettlement depended on food aid from the international community in Informal institutions help compensate for gross social differences, furthering the dominant ethos of sharing and redistribution, but such institutions are limited in scope and quality. Women have limited access to education and public office.
Only 10 out of members of parliament are women. The economy has performed reasonably along main indicators, with growth rates estimated at 4. Growth rates are however far below the African average. The national economy continues to be shaped by traditional agriculture. Cash crop production has hesitantly started again following years of conflict, and the cotton sector in particular is in better shape than in previous years.
The government started a three-year program to revive cotton production in The mining sector shows good potential, with official diamond production around , carats. Uranium, gold and other minerals should provide significant state revenue in upcoming years as many sites are being explored. The Central African Republic basically performs far under its economic potential.
Without a sustainable peace, better tax legislation and law enforcement as well as the elimination of corruption, it will remain difficult for the country to attract investment. Over the past decade, about 1 million hectares of forest has been cut per year. The timber industry remains a mainstay of foreign trade estimated Currently just 0. The easy availability of weapons following 12 years of warring instability and incursions from Sudan and Chad have led to an alarming increase in poaching, which threatens the populations of forest elephants and other animals.
The primary and secondary education system is extremely underdeveloped and has been neglected for more than a decade. The situation is particularly bad in rural areas, where a situation of already poor schools and teachers has been worsened by decades of political insecurity and violence. Teacher strikes over unpaid wages are frequent. When all six union federations called for a joint strike action in September over eight months of back pay, the call was most strongly heeded in the education sector, leading once again to a late start for the school year.
At the University of Bangui with 7, students , professors went on strike for months, demanding arrears in allowances and overtime. The lack of opportunity in the economic sector for university graduates contributes to a sense of frustration among youth. It is difficult to govern in the Central African Republic. The country is landlocked, lacks infrastructure and is surrounded by conflict zones Sudan, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In terms of structural socioeconomic conditions that shape the political process in the long term, the constraints on transformation are high.
Traditions of civil society are virtually non-existent, and there are few voluntary organizations. Trade unions are the most important, but the president is unsympathetic to their goals and participation. Existing traditional community structures are in fact a result of those imposed on the country during French colonial times. Value systems are tainted by variations of traditional political cultures and institutions. Most communities previously observed the rules of consensus.
In contrast, colonial rule was ruthless and mostly driven by private business interests. Social trust suffered major setbacks following violent episodes that started in , accelerated after and were exacerbated in Memories of severe human rights violations and episodes of ethnic cleansing, even in isolated instances, heavily influence social behavior.
In late , some , IDPs and , refugees as a result of regional upheaval were counted. It has only limited access to staffing and organizational resources to further its economic transformation policy.
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Over the past three years, donor activities to foster economic reforms have been stronger than ever. The IMF conducted three reviews in and presented an overall positive assessment, yet authorities still did not meet several performance criteria. The government earlier than expected had fulfilled requirements to reach the decision point under the enhanced HIPC initiative in , thereby qualifying for new debt relief.
According to the IMF, the country has made advances in structural reform in such areas as public financial management, tax and customs administration and governance and transparency. The most visible priority of the head of state, however, is to maintain power. Long-term strategies are not well-developed and only exclusively developed within the framework of international cooperation.
Foreign experts tightly supervise all major reform steps taken by the government. In early the government was pressed by members of parliament to suspend the value added tax on all basic goods after a dramatic price rise in major commodities. The government reacted to the call half-heartedly. Clear progress in structural reform was noted. The government has harmonized priorities for the budget with the IMF.
Details include further enhancing revenue mobilization, addressing the financial crises of major public enterprises, particularly in the energy sector, and reducing domestic arrears. These steps are a further sign of diligent oversight by international donors. An efficient security sector needs to be rebuilt; security forces have been notoriously prone to disloyalty and divided along ethnic and regional lines. The top political leadership shows limited willingness or even the ability to learn from past actions or policies.
The small, ambitious elite in the capital Bangui is not concerned with the fate of ordinary citizens. Institutions figure less importantly than the political dynamic engendered by state actors seeking to maintain and increase their own power.
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Authorities frequently react overly aggressively to criticism. The government rejected a report by Human Rights Watch in , calling it grotesque and untrue. While the report noted human rights violations by rebel groups, its criticism of the armed forces and the presidential guard was harsher and well-documented. He had published an editorial alleging that two ministers had embezzled XAF 7 billion, money earmarked for civil service salaries. In January , the privately held daily newspaper Le Citoyen was banned from publication for one month after a published article was deemed libelous by authorities.
This reaction, however, was hardly appropriate given the alleged circumstances. The government uses only some of its available human resources efficiently. The position remained vacant for months. The appointment of a consensus government on 19 January , including some positions for rebel representatives and opposition politicians, extends the sinecure system while risking a further loss of efficiency. Policy coordination with the current regime, particularly with the consensus government since January , deals with a fundamental problem of how to deal with rebels and other pressing challenges mainly in security but also development on one hand and how to maintain its own clientelistic power base on the other.
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Both regimes expect positions and other resources which are only available to a limited extent. Moreover, the coordination of government action is difficult when a large number of ministers were not selected for their technocratic skills but for what they represent in terms of electorate and influence. The high number of advisors to the president could be taken as a sign that a parallel structure has been built to counterbalance government action.
Embezzlement of public funds in some areas still occurs regularly, and inquiries or punishment into such actions is rare. According to international assessments, corruption is rampant at all levels in the Central African Republic. Generally, there can be no progress in the fight against corruption without strengthening customs agencies as diamond smuggling deprives the state of a substantial part of its potential export revenues. There is a rudimentary consensus among elite groups over the ideas of democracy and a market economy as vague principles. Major transformation processes are simply not at the top of the political agenda, although they are not contested as such.
Achieving consensus-building is possible with regard to coalition-building, as most parties remain open to participation in government.
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The vote over a crucial amnesty law in the National Assembly was boycotted by 31 members of the opposition in Individual members of parliament have continuously accused the government of wrongdoing. The National Assembly adopted a controversial law on the reorganization and functioning of the higher council of the magistracy against massive criticisms by magistrates. This law was subsequently declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court. Changes in the top hierarchy of the army and defections by entire army units were frequent in Politico-military leaders serving as political directors of rebel movements can be considered additional anti-democratic actors as soon as they are included in power-sharing arrangements, which weaken democratic principles and the formal weight of elections.
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The fight against diverse rebel groups and the repression of banditry in the north that intensified in early took the form of collective punishment, which reinforced the bitterness of the local population. However, the holding of the inclusive political dialogue in late was an acknowledgement of the need to return to a more consensual style of politics. Major actors of the violent conflict and of the political game have openly called for reconciliation during this inclusive political dialogue.
In January , however, the inclusive political dialogue resulted in a consensus government which includes some representatives from rebel organizations and the opposition. Yet this dialogue was not as consensual as many observers would have expected. However, one dissident rebel group has emerged, having broken away from the UFDR and continues to launch attacks. If the whole process fails, it is likely that the upcoming elections in will have to be postponed. Further unrest is likely. The government is largely indifferent with respect to the role of civic engagement.
It frequently ignores the needs and demands of civil society, with the notable exception of the powerful trade unions, which cannot be ignored. Civil society groups were more or less sidelined during the preparation and conduct of the inclusive national dialogue. The nomination of Bernadette Sayo as tourism and crafts minister in January was noteworthy.
The political leadership has not addressed past acts of injustice. Until now, no major movement to initiate a process of reconciliation beyond elite circles has been enacted.
No viable forms of justice, reconciliation commissions, compensation schemes or equivalent institutions have been established to deal with past horrors and traumas. Crimes against humanity and individual crimes were perpetrated by different parties from to and again from to the latter period is part of the current conflict. Competent authorities have transferred the judicial responsibility for crimes against humanity to the International Criminal Court ICC. The office of the prosecutor of the ICC decided to initiate investigations into alleged crimes against humanity for the period in May , including numerous cases of sexual violence.
It was feared that peace agreements would lead to impunity for war criminals. Amnesty was finally granted by a controversial amnesty law in October to both government and rebel forces for crimes committed since January This law was presented as the only realistic option for peace but it came with a number of problems. The law specified that its reach excluded genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes as well as all acts under the jurisdiction of the ICC. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, asking the U.