The Central African Crisis : From Predation to Stabilisation

"The current crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR) has sealed the fate of a state that depends on international aid and has long ceased to exist. Government has become little more than a patronage exercise, in which appointments to decisionmaking posts are based on ethnic criteria and clientelism. After the 1993 elections that brought Ange Félix Patassé to power, predation triumphed over democratisation. Poor governance and successive crises frightened away the most serious investors, destroyed the formal economy and impoverished the people. The collapse of the economy preceded and prepared the collapse of the state. Development indicators have fallen sharply, the number of mid-sized or large enterprises has fallen starkly since the start of the 1990s, the once flourishing coffee and cotton sectors have collapsed, and the almost non-existent social services have been subcontracted to donors and their operators, the NGOs. This report focuses on the political economy of the conflict. It describes how the predatory economy and trafficking intensified and spread under the Seleka and what the government needs to do to stabilise and rebuild the country. It also highlights the need to broaden the security intervention, so as to revive the productive economy and combat trafficking during a transition that is only just beginning."