By Asmau Ahmad
The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) are collaborating to ensure the return of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Central African Republic (CAR).
In a statement on AfDB’s website, the bank’s Director of Transition States Coordination Office, Yero Baldeh and UNHCR’s Raouf Mazou, Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, led a team to visit CAR.
According to the statement, the representatives met with national authorities and development partners working with CAR to consolidate progress toward lasting peace and inclusive socio-economic recovery.
The AfDB’s director said the joint visit to Bria in CAR underlined the urgent need for strong collaboration among humanitarian and development partners.
“This aligns with AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina’s vision for advancing peace and development in fragile contexts, such as here in CAR.
“Hence, we aim to scale up and accelerate our support to the poorest and most vulnerable, especially displaced youth and women, returnees and host communities,” Baldeh said.
He said the AfDB’s third Strategy for Addressing Fragility and Building Resilience in Africa (2022-2026), emphasizes conflict prevention and inclusive post-conflict reconstruction and development.
He said: “This includes empowering forcibly displaced and host communities such as in the central Africa region and finding regional solutions.
“The Bank’s active portfolio of over 450 million dollars in CAR includes agriculture, transport, governance and social sector projects to support the government’s development agenda.”
The UNHCR assistant commissioner said the IDPs in Bria made their desire to return to their homes very clear as the security conditions continued to improve.
“We encourage the national authorities to continue restoring security in the country.
“We are eager to continue working with development partners such as the AfDB to help returnees rebuild their communities.
“The two organisations have committed to further deepen their partnerships through a more systematic collaboration in select targeted countries and regions.
“This includes collaboration in other forced displacement hotspots on the African continent and implementation of the Yaoundé Declaration and the CAR Solutions Support Platform,” Mazou said.
During the height of the armed conflicts in CAR, more than 50,000 people fled the capital city to seek refuge in Bria, near the United Nations military camp.
Today, approximately 35,000 natives from Bria are still hoping to return home.