The World Bank Board of Executive Directors discussed a new five-year Country Partnership Framework to support the Central African Republic for FY21-FY25. A $50-million grant from the International Development Association (IDA) was also approved for a Development Policy Operation to help the government implement structural reforms to strengthen social inclusion and fiscal management.
The new Country Partnership Framework aims to boost stabilization, inclusion and resilience, while building state legitimacy and fostering growth. During the five-year period, the WBG will invest in human capital, connectivity, economic management and governance. Women’s empowerment and digital development will be cross-cutting priorities. In addition, the strategy provides an exceptional Turn-Around Allocation for the Central African Republic (CAR) with an envelope of up to $355 million for the coming three years provided that the country continues on its path to stabilization and peace.
“CAR is at a turning point. The 18-month old Peace Accord has proven difficult to implement, yet it is still holding. As the country is preparing for presidential and local elections, it has a unique opportunity to build the conditions under which the people of CAR can fully reap the dividends of peace,” said Han Fraeters, Country Manager for Central African Republic. “The WBG is committed to supporting that continued transition.”
A landlocked country in the heart of the continent, CAR ranks among the poorest and most fragile countries in the world. With a Human Capital Index (HCI) of 29, a child born in CAR today will be 29% as productive in adulthood as he could be if he enjoyed complete education and a full health in the early years.
Beyond a four-decade history of recurrent conflict and violence, the arrival of COVID-19 may plunge an additional 140,000 Central Africans into extreme poverty. The pandemic is expected to cause a sharp economic downturn and stress public finances – as the economy is projected to contract by 1.2% (3.1% in per-capita terms) in 2020, down from a GDP growth rate of 3.1% in 2019.
Guided by the roadmap laid out in the country’s National Peace Recovery and Consolidation Plan, the World Bank Group’s two thematic areas of support are to:
(a) Build human capital and connectivity for stabilization, inclusion and resilience: This means investing in people and communities, and their access to basic services, including education, health, energy, water and roads. It also involves direct support to the peace process through the re-integration of ex-combatants and by promoting social cohesion in fractured communities.
(b) Strengthen economic management and governance to build state legitimacy and foster growth: This means improving public financial management and domestic resource mobilization. It will also focus on private sector development and the business environment.
“The private sector is a fundamental partner in our collective efforts to support more inclusive economic development in the Central African Republic. IFC will complement World Bank efforts in key sectors such as energy, agriculture and financial services to help unlock new investment opportunities and job creation in the country.” said Aliou Maiga, Regional Director for IFC in West and Central Africa. “But the country has to improve the business environment and the government is committed to do that”.
Currently, the portfolio in CAR consists of 15 national projects with a total commitment of $563.5 million from IDA, and two regional IDA projects with a total commitment of $231 million. The portfolio focuses on stabilization, inclusion, strengthening of the state and early economic recovery.