Accelerating economic recovery in the Central African Republic

A conference on “Strengthening capacity building in periods of economic recovery through South-South and triangular cooperation”, has been organized by the government of the Central African Republic, together with the International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF), the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

Chaired by the Minister of the Economy, Planning and Cooperation of the Central African Republic, Félix Moloua, the Conference included plenary sessions, sectoral meetings and technical training workshops focusing on youth entrepreneurship and quick-impact initiatives. The event, which mobilized 32 national and international representatives and experts, helped to strengthen the operational capacities of young people and women to implement economic regeneration projects. It also provided an opportunity to explore, along with international partners, trade- and industry-related cooperation models in the fields of agribusiness and of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

“Through its interventions to strengthen the skills necessary for productive employment, UNIDO helps to establish social cohesion and equity, allowing the development of stable societies and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Tidiane Boye, UNIDO Representative in Côte d’Ivoire.

Manuel Mattiat, Programme Officer in UNIDO’s Region Division for Africa, added that “UNIDO works for Central Africans alongside its partners, such as the IOF, in order to accelerate economic recovery by involving young people in entrepreneurship and through the development of income-generating activities.”

Training sessions provided during the event concluded with 91 young people being certified on entrepreneurship practices and 60 officials and non-governmental organization leaders on quick-impact initiatives. Sectoral meetings focusing on the cotton industry were also held between representatives of Egypt and the Central African Republic.

At the end of the conference, nearly 200 participating Central Africans adopted recommendations to promote employability and entrepreneurship among young people. For example, it was agreed that young people will be trained in the car and motorcycle mobility industries. Young entrepreneurs will also be brought together in a consortium whose financing will be guaranteed by a trust fund supplied by local Central Africans. Also, Central African authorities will aim to ensure that 10 per cent of public procurement and contracts will be allocated to young people and 20 per cent to women.

Representatives of UNIDO and the IOF met with several partners and stakeholders likely to contribute to the implementation of the government’s National Recovery and Peacebuilding Plan of the Central African Republic (RCPCA) with the aim of identifying avenues to further develop and implement the recommendations adopted at the event, including the ones related to the establishment of a consortium of incubators dedicated to the digital economy, agro-industry, financial technology (Fintech) and mobility.

This event was preceded, on 14 December, by a public dialogue which brought together a hundred young people and women from Bangui to look at challenges related to the employability of youth, the country’s economic recovery and the revival of productive sectors.

The participants and organizers expressed their desire to explore possibilities of organizing a second edition of the Bangui Economic Conference in the near future.