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UN: escalation of violence is holding back development in Central Africa

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Yaoundé, Cameroon, 21 April – Continued violence in the Central African Republic, combined with the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria and neighboring countries may delay development for years to come, according to UN officials who met in Yaounde, Cameroon.

“The devastation and human costs are staggering,” said Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, the Head of UNDP Africa at a regional consultation on peace, security and development in Central Africa. “The crises are also having a severe economic impact, affecting business activities which have come to a halt due to the insecurity.”

In addition to the massive death and suffering caused by these conflicts, some 2.7 million people in CAR – over half of the population – are in dire need of immediate assistance, while 900,000 people have been displaced. Meanwhile, the conflict in north-eastern Nigeria has caused 66,000 people to flee to Cameroon, 18,000 to Chad, and more than 100,000 to Niger.

“The risk of destabilization and threats to development have reached a critical point and the stakes are enormous and important for the entire region. The” said Mr. Dieye. “Our analyses should be broad and should include multiple and mutually reinforcing perspectives, including the political, security, religious, humanitarian and development perspectives.”

Representatives of humanitarian and development organizations from across Central Africa attended the event, expected to pave the way for the preparation of a regional strategy for sustainable peace and development.

Mapping risks at the regional level, increased information-sharing and effective collaboration between the UN and with development partners and governments are essential to helping the sub-region return to a path of peace, stability and development, they said.