The Director-General for International Cooperation and Development at the European Commission, Stefano Manservisi conducted last week a 4-day visit to the Central African Republic (CAR).
On Friday 30/11 in Bangui, he chaired the Board of the Bêkou Trust Fund. The Board discussed a possible extension of the Trust Fund, which will expire in 2019. Discussions were based on a report outlining the main achievements of the Fund for the country. Member States participating in the Trust Fund requested pursuing the Trust Fund approach and renewed financial commitments (France, Germany subject to parliamentary approval, Italy).
Four years after its creation, the Bêkou Trust Fund has almost quadrupled its resources (from €64 million to €239 million) and has launched 16 programmes, which have already provided tangible results for more than 2 million beneficiaries. Its main achievements are seen in the health sector, which currently represents the main sector of intervention with 43% of the funds. At a strategic discussion in Brussels on 19 October on the future of the Bêkou Trust Fund, the CAR Health Minister, M. Pierre Somsé, praised this instrument as a health sector catalyst for his country. Health services have been restored for over 30% of the population. An important added value of the Bêkou Trust Fund is that it has introduced a sense of “normalisation” by providing access to basic services even in areas of the country still troubled by violence.
In the rural development sector, thanks to the food security programme, the animal vaccination campaigns have been relaunched and the livelihoods of agro-pastoral communities restored.
The Fund also financed projects to promote reconciliation and social cohesion, notably involving women, as well as economic recovery.
The European Court of Auditors acknowledged the results of these projects, as well as the enhanced visibility provided to the EU (Special Report on the Trust Fund Bêkou, Autumn 2017).
During his visit, Mr. Manservisi will also exchange with the CAR President, several Ministers and the international community present in CAR. They will discuss the challenges of the peace process, coherence and transparency; interventions in the security sector; and the implementation of the National Development Plan (RCPCA).
The EU will reinforce its cooperation with the Central African Republic through a security sector reform programme worth €38 million signed during the visit and through launching a key project on light connectivity (bridges). Mr. Manservisi also assessed progress in the Pediatric Complex of Bangui, one year after his last visit, and did a field visit in the remote Bamingui district, in the North-East of the country, where the EU also provides support. On several occasions, he met youth- and women’s associations to see what active role they can play in the peace, reconciliation and development process in the CAR.
The EU Trust Fund for the Central African Republic was created in 2014 by the European Union and three of its Member States, France, Germany and the Netherlands, as part of a comprehensive approach to address the consequences of the crisis in the Central African Republic and address the population’s needs as quickly as possible. In 2015, Italy and Switzerland joined the Fund. The Bêkou Trust Fund remains a critical instrument to bridge the gap between humanitarian needs and development in CAR and to implement the LRRD approach – ‘Linking Relief, Rehabilitation and Development’.