Central Africa

Archive Profile

2014 Country Profile

Although significant achievements were made in the region to address common security threats, with the success of a regional and international campaign against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) serving as a notable example, the Central Africa continues to be riddled with recurrent political unrest and internal conflicts. March 24, 2013 saw the Central African Republic (CAR) plunged into civil war as the Séléka rebels took power from the central government; and the DRC’s Eastern Region continues to be restive despite the defeat of the M23 rebels by government forces bolstered by a UN intervention force in late 2013.

Intermittent armed conflict has resulted in elevated numbers of refugees and displaced people in the region with fighting in the CAR forcing a further 425 000 displaced people into neighboring countries, as of October 2014. Central Africa’s porous borders mean that extremist groups can easily cross state lines posing a particular menace to border communities demonstrated by repeated incursions by Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram into Cameroon’s border region. With insurgents and extremist networks supported by illicit activity such as poaching and piracy permitted to flourish in the absence of clear state authority, the region continues to be one of the most volatile on the continent. Even in the absence of armed conflict, states risk losing gains from peace processes. Weak governance mechanisms and an inability to translate economic growth into improved living conditions mean that the countries of Central Africa remain vulnerable to instability.

Background

Along with two substantive UN peacekeeping operations in the DRC and the CAR and a relatively small mission in Burundi set to end in December 2014, Central Africa also hosts a regional UN political office. The UN Office in Central Africa (UNOCA) responds to the challenge posed by porous borders that require a transnational approach to addressing insecurity. Established in 2011, the office, which is based in Libreville, Gabon, covers the ten states of the Economic Community for Central African St Read More...

Key developments

The regional security situation is dominated by the outbreak of conflict in the CAR; the fallout from the crisis in South Sudan since civil war broke out in December 2013; and continued strife in the eastern DRC. Though various peacekeeping operations and regional mediation teams have been central to tackling insecurity in these countries, UNOCA in collaboration with the AU has been instrumental in shaping regional responses to conflict in the CAR. In an effort to promote cohesive regional and s Read More...

Conclusion

The security situation in Central Africa is not entirely bleak; numerous states in the region have succeeded in holding peaceful elections and are experiencing sustained economic growth. The region has also made significant steps to address common threats to peace and security with support from international and regional bodies as well as sub-regional economic communities that have organized states as they seek to meet border-crossing challenges to stability. Intermittent internal conflicts such Read More...

A number of important political and security challenges confront countries in Central Africa, illustrated most vividly by the rapid emergence of a rebel coalition in the Central African Republic (CAR), which gained control of approximately one-third of the country by the end of 2012. Governance concerns, in- cluding the lack of inclusive governance, continue to present risks as both Burundi and the CAR prepare for elections in the coming years. In addition, despite important progress in addressing security issues, the region is threatened by the continued operations of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

Background

A number of important political and security challenges confront countries in Central Africa, illustrated most vividly by the rapid emergence of a rebel coalition in the Central African Republic (CAR), which gained control of approximately one-third of the country by the end of 2012. Governance concerns, including the lack of inclusive governance, continue to present risks as both Burundi and the CAR prepare for elections in the coming years. In addition, despite important progress in addressing Read More...

Key developments

Following a request by the Security Council in November 2011, UNOCA took the lead in coordinating the development of a UN regional strategy for humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding assistance to LRA-affected areas, in close coordination with the African Union (in particular its Special Envoy for the LRA), UN missions and country teams in the affected areas, and Central African states. The strategy, endorsed by the Security Council in June 2012, focuses on five key objectives: implementat Read More...

Conclusion

The security environment has stabilized in important ways in Burundi and the wider region. However, critical security and political challenges remain, illustrated most dramatically by events in the CAR as the year came to a close. How governments choose to approach these issues will largely determine future stability in the region. Funding gaps affecting national efforts in security sector reform and interrelated efforts to mitigate threats posed by armed rebel groups operating across the region Read More...