France and the Central African Republic

France and Central African Republic

Political relations

France is the only European country with an embassy in Bangui (where the EU also has a delegation). On the strength of its long-standing, intense relationship with the Central African Republic, France continues to support its elected authorities in their efforts to stabilize and sustainably develop the country. At multilateral level, France has provided its full support to ECCAS and African Union action and is working in the United Nations Security Council. In July 2014, within the EU, France, along with Germany, the Netherlands and the European Commission, instigated the creation of the first European development multi-donor fund for emergencies and development, the Bêkou Trust Fund, which made it possible to swiftly adopt and implement projects in the sectors of health, food security, urban infrastructure and economic and social recovery. It currently contains €136 million.

Lastly, France supports the Central African Republic vis-à-vis international financial institutions (obtaining the completion point of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative in 2009, and an IMF Extended Credit Facility, Peacebuilding Commission, etc.).

Visits

The frequency of bilateral visits reflects the intensity of relations between France and CAR: French President François Hollande visited Bangui on 10 December 2013, on 28 February 2014 and 13 May 2016. The French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius visited on 13 October 2013 and 23 January 2014 to attend the inauguration ceremony of Samba Panza. His successor, Jean-Marc Ayrault, represented the President of the French Republic at the inauguration ceremony of Faustin Archange Touadéra, on 30 March 2016. He was accompanied by the Defence Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, who made five trips to CAR in 2014 and another visit on 31 October 2016. Ministers of State for Development and Francophonie, Annick Girardin, André Vallini and Jean-Marie Le Guen visited Bangui on 30 and 31 October 2015, from 28 to 30 June 2016 and from 14 to 16 December 2016. President Touadéra visited our country on 19 and 20 April 2016 for a working visit, then again on 20 March 2017.

Economic relations

Commercial relations between France and the Central African Republic suffered from the crisis. Trade remains limited and there are few French companies, but France remains the leading investor in the country. Despite the crisis, Air France, Bolloré (logistics and river freight), Castel (beverages and sugar) and Total (storage and distribution of petroleum products) maintained their offices.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

France granted more than €76 million in civilian assistance to the CAR in 2014-16, in addition to military spending (Sangaris and bilateral support to EU, EUFOR, EUMAM and EUTM operations, as well as the African Union – MISCA – and UN – MINUSCA). In addition to humanitarian assistance and support for the electoral process, particular emphasis has been placed upon aspects of democratic governance via State capacity building in key sectors, such as security, the economy, finance, justice, and regional administration. During the donor conference in Brussels on 17 November 2016, France announced a contribution of €85 million over three years, including €15 million for the “Bêkou” fund, reinforcing its ranking of number-one bilateral donor. France directs its assistance towards support for governance, the fight against economic vulnerabilities, the production of services for populations, including education and health, as well as aid coordination and implementation capacities.

Other cooperation

In order to protect civilians from the cycle of very serious violence, France deployed Operation Sangaris from 5 December 2013, supporting the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA). In response to a request from the Central African Republic’s transition authorities, the French operation (which involved up to 2,000 troops) was carried out under a mandate conferred by UN Security Council resolution 2127. Four French soldiers were killed in operations. Sangaris ended officially on 31 October 2016, but French soldiers are participating in the EU Training Mission (EUTM) and are present within the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

Updated: 23/05/2017

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