Under Vladimir Putin, Russia’s global ambitions have steadily increased, including in unstable areas of the Middle East, Africa, and the Western Hemisphere. For the most part, Moscow’s activities in these and other areas run counter to Western interests and undermine efforts to mitigate conflict through broad-based, transparent processes. This report outlines the factors that appear to be motivating the Kremlin’s conflict-zone interventions and places them within the larger context of Russian foreign policy interests.
Coffee production is a fairly small part of the Central African Republic's economy, but it plays an outsize role in the country's ongoing conflict. Armed militia groups that hold sway over the country's main coffee growing regions and trade routes reap millions of dollars in funding to sustain their operations. This report discusses how understanding the political economy of conflict in the Central African Republic can help national and international stakeholders break the cycle of violence.
The 2017 National Security Strategy refocused U.S. foreign and defense policy to address resurgent major power competition with Russia and China. In U.S. foreign policy, Africa has emerged as a frontline for this competition, as in recent years both Moscow and Beijing have sought to expand their influence and promote their interests on the continent. Nowhere is the role of major powers more apparent than in the Central African Republic (CAR), where Russia has emerged as a key power broker amid a civil war that has simmered since 2012. Despite concerns about the need to counter other major powers, the best course for U.S. policy in CAR is to not allow competition with Russia and China to distract from the fundamental priority of supporting a democratic, inclusive path to peace.
The peace agreement signed in the Central African Republic (CAR) in early 2019 is the eighth in seven years, numbers that suggest how difficult it will be to even attempt to end to the country’s multi-sided conflict. That said, the accord this time was reached after more extensive preparations for talks and with greater international support than in the past, perhaps improving conditions for a sustainable halt to violence that has displaced more than 1.2 million people.
The Central African Republic’s president, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, came to Washington this week seeking to bolster U.S. support for a peace deal with internal armed groups, saying steady international assistance will be needed to rebuild the state and end years of metastasizing violence.
As the U.S. House of Representatives continues to adapt to the leadership of a new speaker, 6,000 miles away, the legislature of the Central African Republic (CAR), the National Assembly, has also recently elected a new leader. However, a change of leadership will not be sufficient to overcome the many challenges and weaknesses faced by this parliament, as the country continues to face rebel groups, communal violence, corruption, and intransigent poverty. The responses of many representatives to recent interviews with USIP raise a more fundamental question: given the context of the CAR, what is a parliament for?
The renewed violence in CAR reflects the need for a consistent engagement by the international community to sustain a peacebuilding process in the country. Governments and international organizations too often have focused on the country sporadically, in short-term reactions to crises that offer only temporary solutions.
Despite clear evidence of the effectiveness of individual peacebuilding efforts, the field as a whole often struggles to have a meaningful collective impact on broader conflict dynamics. This report, drawing on a pilot initiative in the Central African Republic—IMPACT-CAR—to develop a shared measurement and reporting system aimed at improving collaboration and shared learning across peacebuilding implementers, reflects on the results, successes, and challenges of the initiative to offer a road map for future initiatives focused on collective impact in the peacebuilding field.
Plagued by successive coups and waves of violent conflict since its independence in 1960, the Central African Republic managed to hold its first peaceful elections in late 2015 and early 2016. Fears of widespread violence proved unfounded. This report focuses on what went right in those elections and how those conditions have not held a year later, allowing violence to return to the country.
Nine months after the Central African Republic (CAR) held free, peaceful and democratic elections for president and parliament, the country continues to struggle for stability and progress. Half of the country remains in need of humanitarian aid, and an increase in violent incidents since September threatens to destabilize any progress made to date. At the end of November, clashes between factions of the ex-Séléka, a formerly united alliance of primarily Muslim armed groups, left 85 dead, 76 injured and 11,000 newly displaced.