(AfDB) - Representatives of the African Development Bank and the United Nations Refugee Agency have conducted a joint visit to Central African Republic to explore the potential of joint initiatives for durable solutions to sustain the returns of refugees and internally displaced people.
The UNHCR team, led by Raouf Mazou, Assistant High Commissioner for Operations together with Director of the Transition States Coordination Office at the African Development Bank Yero Baldeh, Dr. Yvette Glele-Ahanhanzo, Director of Portfolio Monitoring and Service Delivery and Country Manager Mamady Souare and their teams, visited Bria, 580 kilometers north of Bangui.
During the height of the armed conflicts, more than 50,000 people fled the capital city to seek refuge in Bria, near the United Nations military camp. Today, approximately 35,000 natives from Bria are still hoping to return home. The joint visit took place from 21-25 February 2023.
The representatives met with national authorities and development partners working alongside the people of the Central African Republic to consolidate progress toward a lasting peace and inclusive socioeconomic recovery. Furthermore, the two organizations committed to deepening the partnerships through a more systematic collaboration in select targeted countries.
The African Development Bank’s third Strategy for Addressing Fragility and Building Resilience in Africa (2022-2026), puts an emphasis on conflict prevention and inclusive post-conflict reconstruction and development. This includes empowering forcibly displaced and host communities such as in the Central Africa region and finding regional solutions. The Bank’s active portfolio of over $450 million in CAR includes agriculture, transport, governance and social sector projects to support the government’s development agenda.
Baldeh, said the joint visit to Bria underlined the urgent need for strong collaboration amongst humanitarian and development partners. “This is very much aligned with Dr. Adesina’s vision for advancing peace and development in fragile contexts, such as here in CAR. Hence, we aim to scale up and accelerate our support to the poorest and most vulnerable, especially displaced youth and women, returnees and host communities”, Baldeh said.
“The internally displaced persons we met in Bria made very clear their desire to return to their homes as the security conditions continue to improve” Mazou said. "We encourage the national authorities to continue restoring security in the country, and we are eager to continue working with development partners such as the African Development Bank to help returnees rebuild their communities" he added.
The two organizations committed to further deepen their partnerships through a more systematic collaboration in select targeted countries and regions. This includes collaboration in other forced displacement hotspots on the African continent and implementation of the Yaoundé Declaration and the CAR Solutions Support Platform.