EU fund for Central African Republic is an achievement, say auditors

5 Sep 17

European Union auditors have praised the first trust fund set up by the EU to assist a developing country.

Auditors said the Bêkou Fund for the war-torn Central African Republic was a “positive achievement”.

The fund, the first of its kind run by the European Commission, had attracted aid and most of its projects delivered their expected outputs.

Launched in July 2014, it is based on €146m of donations from the EU, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Switzerland.

Auditors found the decision to set up the fund and its design were appropriate, even though there was neither a formal assessment of the choice of funding vehicle nor a comprehensive needs analysis.

Bettina Jakobsen, the European Court of Auditors member responsible for the report, said: “We hope very much that the fund can contribute towards building the foundations of a better future for the country.”

Auditors said the Central African Republic was among the world’s least developed countries, ranking last on the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index in 2016, despite the presence of significant mineral deposits.

Its population of only 4.5m is spread over a territory roughly the size of France and Belgium combined.

Since gaining independence in 1960, the country has experienced conflict, poor governance, high poverty and inequality, and the situation is now precarious, the auditors said, with more than half of the population in need of humanitarian aid, some 450,000 people internally displaced and a similar number having fled abroad.

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