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Sida's work in Central African Republic

Protection and health care is central to Sida's humanitarian work in the Central African Republic. Other important areas are water, sanitation and food. The population is badly affected by conflict, political instability, climate shocks, hunger and gender-based violence. The crisis has been ongoing for several decades.

The humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic

The Central African Republic has the lowest life expectancy in the world: 53.2 years. The country has a young population, 75 percent are under 35 years old. The conflict in the country has been going on since the independence from France in 1960 and deteriorated after the latest coup in 2013. Hopes for peace were ignited when a new peace agreement was signed between the government and 14 armed groups in 2019, but the violence has continued.

Increased violence during the pandemic

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has made the situation even more complex. In 2020, more than two out of three people in the country were below the poverty line and living on less than $ 3 per day.

Many have been forced to flee. In December 2020, clashes erupted between government forces and armed groups in connection with the general elections, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee. More than a quarter of the population is estimated to be on the run in the Central African Republic or in neighboring countries in the beginning of 2021. More than half of the population, about 2.8 million, is estimated to be in need of humanitarian aid. Almost as many are expected to suffer from hunger.

Women and children are hard hit

Children are particularly vulnerable. Half of school-age children do not go to school. These children are at risk being recruited to armed groups, exposed to sexual and gender-based violence or used in child labor. More than one million children in the Central African Republic are expected to need humanitarian aid by 2021.

Sexual and gender-based violence, mainly against women and girls, is a widespread problem. That type of violence doubled in 2020, according to humanitarian organizations. An alarm system that covers just over 40 percent of the country received one alarm every hour about sexual and gender-based violence. The escalating conflict and Covid-19 restrictions are likely to have exacerbated the situation.

Health care does not suffice. The health among people is expected to deteriorate and there is a constant risk of epidemics. More than two million people are expected to be in urgent need of humanitarian health aid by 2021.

Sida´s support to the CAR

Offering people protection and health care is central to Sida’s humanitarian work in the Central African Republic, together with water, sanitation, hygiene, shelter, necessities, education and food, as well as supporting against sexual and gender-based violence. Priority groups are vulnerable children, internally displaced people and people with disabilities

Support to women and children

Sida supports Action Against Hunger (AAH) to respond to needs related to health, nutrition, and WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) in Basse-Kotto prefecture where 96 percent of the population need humanitarian assistance. The activities primarily focus on children under five, pregnant and lactating women as well as women of childbearing age (15-49 years) presenting physiological and socio-economic vulnerabilities.

The AAH website

Flexible funding

The CAR Humanitarian Fund is a key financing mechanism for flexible humanitarian support in CAR. It facilitates the tailoring of humanitarian responses to needs throughout the year, both with regards to crisis-related developments as well as the geographical funding coverage.

CAR HF on the OCHA website

Support to sick civilians

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will provide multi-sectoral support to civilians, people deprived of their freedom, as well as people who are wounded and sick, in form of  food, non-food items, agricultural support, nutrition, cash-for-work, vaccination of cattle, water, shelter and health care. ICRC is an important protection partner to Sida in CAR with capacity to maintain access to areas where it is often obstructed. Part of the work will also entail working with authorities and weapon bearers to promote adherence to international humanitarian law (IHL).

The ICRC website

Better health and financial security

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) works in hard-to-reach areas in the CAR. Focus areas are health, safety and economic wellbeing. The IRC places affected groups at the centre of its response, building their capacity and resilience in the face of risks, and decision-making power within their families.

The IRC webbsite

Sida´s crisis analysis

Sida’s humanitarian support to CAR is based on an annual crisis analysis. It will be available for download shortly. The support in 2020 was 159 million SEK.

Updated: 12 May 2021