Report by Tanvi Banerjee
WASHINGTON (LNC) — Catherine Samba-Panza, the transitional president of the Central African Republic, spoke in Jack Morton Auditorium on Tuesday about the small but fragile country she now leads.
“Without a doubt, some of you have never have never heard about the Central African Republic,” Samba-Panza said during her presentation.
Samba-Panza, the first woman to serve as the country’s head of state, was elected into her transitional role in 2014. She will leave her post at the end of this month.
During the event, she talked about some of the issues her country faces and answered questions from an audience of about 40 people.
Here are a few takeaways from Samba-Panza’s presentation:
1. Central African Republic ‘is not that crazy’
The instability caused by conflict has affected the Central African Republic’s economy, governance and national unity, Samba-Panza said. The country currently ranks 185 out of 187 countries in the Human Development Index.
“The Central African Republic has always been presented as a failed state,” she said.
However, President Samba-Panza said she has focused on bringing the country to a state of relative stability. She attributed the the success of her tenure as the transitional president to the support she received from the international community.
With international support from organizations like the World Bank, the government has been able to strengthen national cohesion and increase the mobilization of resources, she said.
She also acknowledged a changing mindset in people, which she said has helped in the transition of the country to a democracy.
2. Using the local process to stop the cycle of violence
The Central African Republic is often presented as a violent country, with mass killings and religious discrimination but citizens of Central African Republic were now tired of this violence and conflict, Samba-Panza said.
“People are tired of violence, People are tired of conflict. The population itself is starting to reject conflict and violence.” President Samba-Panza said.
She said that that the first plan of stopping the culture of violence was starting the program of “disarmament” and sensitization.
“We knew that as long as these groups and populations did not feel safe, they would not separate themselves from their arms.” President Samba-Panza said.
3. Challenges for young people
Samba-Panza said that young people have played a major role in recent conflicts. She said that young people in Central African Republic and other countries like Burundi got involved in a cycle of violence because they did not have any other activities.
“It is important for the community to figure out not just giving young people something to do, but to also figure out how to continue to keep them involved with the community,” Samba-Panza said.
Samba-Panza talked about several projects that involve young people in high intensity labor to help them rehabilitate their communities.
Samba-Panza also had advice for young women, whom she encouraged to become more engaged in public and international events.
“Women should affirm themselves by making frank, open and honest commitments in the area of women’s rights and the area of politics and all other sectors.” she said.
Lire en Français :
© March 2016 LNC – LAMINE MEDIA