The Central African Republic

October 4, 2010 • 5:00 – 6:30 pm EDT

Diplomatic and Security Challenges in the Heart of Africa

Located between Chad, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic (CAR) lies at the center of an unstable region. A decade of internal conflicts has led to chronic insecurity, particularly in the north. Since 2008, an inclusive political dialogue has moved the country toward political reconciliation and offered the hope of renewed development. Still, the CAR is handicapped by its geography: fighters and guns from its neighbors flow freely across its borders rarely challenged by CAR's ill-equipped army. The Lord Resistance Army's highly-publicized incursion is the most recent example of external destabilizing forces.

Chronic insecurity, combined with already poor internal governance, has led to the virtual disintegration of government authority and services in significant parts of the country. The result is a humanitarian crisis, what a senior UN Official calls, "the most ignored and forgotten human tragedy in the world." However, 2011 is an important year for the country as slow but steady progress in governance begins to improve the delivery of social services. While the CAR cannot solve all of its problems and restore border security in any foreseeable timeframe, this seems manageable if it can successfully hold elections, continue the political reconciliation process, begin DDR, and make progress on governance.

Featured Speakers:

Ambassador Laurence Wohlers,
U.S. Ambassador to the Central African Republic

Ambassador Jan Grauls,
Belgian Permanent Special Representative to the United Nations and head of the UN Peacebuilding Commission's CAR Confliguration

H.E. Sahle-Work Zewde,
United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) to the Central African Republic

With introductions by Ambassador Robert Loftis, Acting Coordinator of the U.S. Department of State Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) and Mark Quarterman, Senior Adviser and Director of CSIS's Post-Conflict Reconstruction (PCR) Project.

Robert D. Lamb

Robert D. Lamb

Senior Associate (Non-resident), International Security Program