Since gaining independence in 1960, the Central African Republic (CAR) has experienced unremitting civil strife and political instability. It is a low-income, food-deficit country, ranking 159th of 169 countries in the 2010 human development index. Per capita gross domestic product is US$454.
Poverty, food insecurity and undernutrition are widespread: 62 percent of the population lives below the poverty line; 30 percent of households are food-insecure; the average global acute malnutrition rate is 10 percent; and chronic malnutrition is 37 percent. Primary school enrolment rates improved from 55 percent in 2003 to 63 percent in 2010, but only 36 percent of children finish school. The capacity to design and deliver social services remains extremely limited.
Following the recommendations of a 2011 WFP appraisal mission, the proposed country programme will continue food assistance while emphasizing the building of national capacity, to reinforce the roles and responsibilities of national stakeholders.
The country programme will focus on: supporting education through school meals; improving the nutrition status of pregnant and lactating women and children, particularly in the first 1,000 days following conception, and of acutely malnourished children under 5; and strengthening the capacity of national institutions for programme ownership.
It will be implemented in areas where insecurity, limited government capacity and poor infrastructure are significant challenges. Erratic funding and pipeline breaks, limited logistics capacity, and resource misappropriation pose further risks. To mitigate these, WFP will enhance internal controls, coordination and communication mechanisms, including with the Government and beneficiaries, to ensure that they become well-informed actors contributing to the achievement of results.
The country programme is aligned with the Government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper for 2011–2015 and with the United Nations Development Assistance Framework 2012–2016. It will contribute to Millennium Development Goals 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 and is aligned with WFP Strategic Objectives 4 and 5.