"Linking relief, rehabilitation and development is essential if we want to make a long-term difference in a fragile situation like the CAR crisis. The “Bêkou” Trust Fund will benefit the long-suffering population of the country, and will also contribute to reducing the fragility caused by this crisis in the wider region" said Kristalina Georgieva, the former European Union Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.




The European Trust Fund for the Central African Republic

More than 2.5 million people in the Central African Republic (CAR) (out of a population of 4.6 million) are in need of humanitarian aid. As of 17 October, there were more than 410,000 internally displaced persons in the country. At this point, over 427 256 people in the Central Africans have sought refuge in neighbouring countries.

The scale of the 2013 political and security crisis in CAR, laying on and causing the deepening of difficulties pertaining to infrastructure, the provision of basic services and the functioning of the administration, called for international aid that is structured and tailored to situations of fragility and can be organised quickly and efficiently.

Thanks to the new Financial Regulation (2013) that authorises the European Commission to set up and manage European trust funds under an agreement concluded with other donors, new EU trust funds have been specifically devised for crisis or post-crisis situations. Indeed, EU trust funds were designed to avoid what experience has shown that the weakness of the national or local administrations, combined with a sudden increase in the number of donors, leads to disorganisation and a fragmentation of the response of the international community, thus hampering an effective and sustainable contribution to the reconstruction of a country.

It is in this context that the first multi-donor EU Trust Fund called Bêkou, which means "hope" in Sango, was established on 15 July 2014, by the European Union (represented by the DG DEVCO, DG ECHO and the EEAS) and three of its Member States: France, Germany and the Netherlands, with the aim to promote the stabilisation and reconstruction of the Central African Republic.  It has been established for a maximum duration of 60 months in order to provide a medium-term response.


What is innovative about this Trust Fund?

The Bêkou Trust Fund adds a new string to the European system's bow. It makes it possible to move beyond coordination between Member States and put in place a real joint organisation of resources, expertise and implementation capacity. Indeed, faced with a situation as difficult as that of the Central African Republic, an 'aid orphan' country, in which all the technical and financial partners were already having great difficulty in executing projects before the current crisis, this tool streamlines the intervention set-up, focuses the human and technical resources deployed in the field and creates a real joint dynamic.

Moreover, the Bêkou Trust Fund takes into account the lessons learned from past crises and the fact that the current situation in the Central African Republic is part "of a complex emergency" with a strong interlocking of political, economic and humanitarian issues, and thus the coexistence in the field of emergency and transitional situations. Consequently, it was designed taking into consideration the need to better link the reconstruction/development programmes with the humanitarian response (Linking Relief, Rehabilitation and Development - LRRD) in order to build the capacity of the Central African Republic.


How is it organised?

The innovative approach of this Trust Fund results also in its governance. Through collegial command with the participation of the authorities of the Central African Republic at its every stage, each donor can express itself during all these stages.


Bêkou Trust Fund is governed at two levels:

  • Strategic Board consists of the Member States of the EU and other donors' representatives and is chaired by the EU. It lays down the general strategy of the Trust Fund, in association with the authorities of the Central African Republic.
  • Operational Committee decides the selection of projects, the implementing rules and the follow-up. It is chaired by the EU and constitutes of representatives of Donors (> 3M€) and of the authorities of the Central African Republic.

Bêkou is managed by the European Commission, and more particularly by a team led by the Trust Fund Manager that is responsible for the daily management of the Fund.


What are the advantages for the CAR government?

The authorities of the Central African Republic receive support from and also work with a pool of coordinated partners who can mobilise significant funds over a period of several years.


It helps to streamline donor operations by:

  • Reducing the administrative costs of coordinating international partners;
  • Ensuring that aid is not fragmented and disorganised;
  • Creating a defined framework for reaching compromises in the management of aid Programmes;
  • Reducing the risk of early withdrawal of international financing before the country's economy has had a chance to recover;
  • Mobilising a critical mass of financing, which makes up for the limited means mobilised by each donor individually.

What are the advantages for donors contributing to the Bêkou Trust Fund?

Bêkou Trust Fund offers donors a flexible and safe method of financing activities in the context of multipartner cooperation. It enables them to give form to and act upon their political commitment to resolving the crisis in the Central African Republic without incurring prohibitive transaction costs.

The donors also have the guarantee that the Trust Fund is managed by the European Commission, which assumes financial liability and acts in accordance with the principles and standards applicable to the budget of the European Union.

Moreover, the Trust Fund aims to rely on the expertise of the partners that have a continuous presence in the field, such as the European Union, the French, the German and the Dutch development cooperation, that can permit, thanks to their knowledge and competencies, other donors that are not present on the ground, to contribute to the recovery and development of the Central African Republic.


The Trust Fund is open to all Member States of the EU as well as other donors that wish to help achieve it's goals.

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The activities financed by Bêkou Trust Fund must help achieve the overall objective of this Fund, as set out in Article 2 of the Constitutive Agreement, namely to assist the country to exit from crisis and restart the engines of development, together with the authorities of the Central African Republic (CAR) and in accordance with the EU guidelines.

The EU Trust Fund for CAR aims to prepare the transition from emergency response, such as humanitarian aid, towards longer-term development assistance, according to the so-called LRRD approach. It will contribute to the reconstruction of the country, in particular restoring the national and local administrations, re-establishing economic activity and essential services (such as electricity, transport, health and education) and stabilising the country. The activities will also focus on enabling neighbouring countries to overcome the consequences of the crisis in CAR.

What is the LRRD approach?

The aim is to link emergency humanitarian aid actions, financed by appropriate but separate instruments, with simultaneous actions that will gradually promote the drivers of development in both medium and long term. For example, an LRRD approach makes it possible to bring food aid to refugee camps while also tackling the local agricultural sector by supporting it with seeds and input to prepare the fields and thereby ensuring gradual self-sufficiency.

As mentioned in Annexe I of the Constitutive Agreement, the Trust Fund will finance activities that contribute, inter alia, to assisting CAR in its recovery from crisis and in all aspects of reconstruction, with the emphasis on measures designed to:

  • Restore essential public services (e.g. electricity, transport, access to justice and access to water) and basic social services (health and education), and stabilise the food and nutrition situation;
  • Revive economic activity;
  • Stabilise the country and restore the social fabric, in particular through reconciliation, peaceful coexistence between the communities of CAR and respect for human rights;
  • Re-establish the legitimacy, rebuild capacity and restore the operation of national and local administrative structures.

It will also finance activities that contribute to mitigating the impact of the crisis on the countries sharing a common border with CAR and/or sheltering refugees and those fleeing the violence in CAR.

What is the regional dimension of this crisis?

The arrival of tens of thousands of refugees from the Central African Republic in border areas (Cameroon, Chad, DRC, Congo, etc.) could upset local balances. It is therefore necessary to act beyond the borders of CAR:
- To help the host communities manage the influx of refugees (food security, provision of essential services and management of land-related tensions);
- To manage the disruption of the flows of nomadic herders, who are used to crossing the Central African Republic in the dry season and who are now stuck in Chad, and/or the Muslim herders who have had to leave their herds in the Central African Republic and flee the violence.

The activities financed by the Trust Fund will consist mainly of measures in all relevant sectors that form part of the relief, rehabilitation and development process, in particular:

  • Health, including psychosocial support and measures to tackle gender-based violence;
  • Education;
  • Food security, sustainable agriculture and fisheries;
  • Improvement of urban and rural livelihoods, in particular for vulnerable sections of the population;
  • Urban and energy infrastructures;
  • Support to economic and social structures (civil society, local authorities, businesses);
  • Local and community development;
  • Sustainable and transparent management of natural resources;
  • Building capacity among CAR stakeholders to ensure optimum use of the aid and facilitate the political transition process.

Special attention will be paid to the gender dimension of aid activities and the principle of mainstreaming the role of women will apply to all measures under the Trust Fund.


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Prior to the signing ceremony, Commissioner Piebalgs said: "The Central African Republic is experiencing an alarming humanitarian, political and security crisis that needs a realistic and pragmatic approach in helping the people of the country as effectively as possible. We must think and act outside the box, collectively, in order to link emergency management, rehabilitation and development solutions. Acting together, combining our funds, our expertise and respective strengths will allow us to achieve much more than working separately. I am particularly grateful that the French, German and Dutch governments have decided to establish this innovative fund jointly/in collaboration with the European Commission and invite other donors from the EU and the international community to join us."

With an initial amount of €64 million the Bêkou Trust Fund creates an effective and coordinated international instrument to help the population of the Central African Republic (CAR) and contribute to its stabilisation. It comes in addition to the important contribution of the European Commission in humanitarian assistance to CAR since December 2012 (€84.5 million).

EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs co-signed the agreement that set up the Trust Fund on 15 July 2014 with the French Secretary of State for Development, Ms Annick Girardin, the German Minister for Development and Cooperation, Mr Gerd Müller and the Dutch Director General for International Cooperation (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) Mr Robert Swartbol, during the Informal Meeting of Development Ministers in Florence (Italy), in presence of the CAR Minister of Economy and International Cooperation, Ms Florence Limbio.

Initial contributions agreed to the EU Trust Fund "Bêkou" include:

  •  €39 million from the European Development Fund (EDF), and €2 million from the EU Humanitarian Aid budget (ECHO), both managed by the European Commission;
  • €5 million in 2014, and an additional €5 million envisaged for 2015 from France;
  • €5 million in 2014, and an additional €5 million envisaged for 2015 from Germany;
  • €3 million from the Netherlands.



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Central Africa Republic