After successfully holding national elections on Feb. 14, the Central African Republic is poised for a new stage of its political transition and the rebuilding of the country following years of deadly conflict. But outgoing Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza told USIP in a videotaped interview last week that any sustainable resolution and reconciliation will have to involve the population at the grassroots level.

The elections represent “a victory for the entire population,” Samba-Panza said in the interview during a visit to USIP to discuss her experience in office and the issues that will confront the administration of newly elected President Faustin Archange Touadera, a former prime minister. The Central African Republic has experienced violent conflict for almost 20 years. Several reconciliation processes have failed in large part because communities that had borne the brunt of the violence were not engaged to repair the damage and move forward.

Due to the longstanding nature of the conflict, the Central African state is extremely fragile, Samba-Panza said, adding that priorities for the future must involve treating the underlying causes of fragility in CAR: economic instability, persistent insecurity, and meeting humanitarian needs. She stressed the importance of continued international support to help the new administration meet these challenges.

In February, USIP began working with national leaders in CAR to strengthen communication with the public by holding a series of dialogues on community security. In parallel, the institute is helping create standardized methods for monitoring and evaluating the progress of U.S. government-supported peacebuilding programs.

In the video below, Samba-Panza talks about the prospects of reconciliation in CAR. For more of her remarks, see the extended interview on YouTube in English and in French.

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