State fragility fuels crisis in Central African Republic

French soldiers in Paoua, Central African Republic
French soldiers patrol the town of Paoua, Central African Republic in 2013. When they left in 2016, clashes between rebel groups resumed (source: dpa)
  • The CAR’s geography is unfavorable for stability and economic growth
  • The state is unable to control large swaths of territory
  • Armed groups control much of the country, and violent clashes are common
  • The crisis will continue until the state can exert control over more of its territory

In the Central African Republic (CAR), 2.2 million people – almost half of the country’s 4.7 million population – are in dire need of aid, piling extra pressure on a continent struggling with what is considered the worst humanitarian crisis in seven decades. It is one of the world’s most unstable states, ahead of only neighboring South Sudan and Somalia, according to the Fund for Peace’s 2017 Fragile States Index. More than half of its territory is under the control of rebel groups. The crisis reflects poor governance and widespread violence committed along a complex combination of regional, religious, ethnic and occupational lines.

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