YAOUNDE, CAMEROON - Central African Republic's interim president is pleading with the international community to help develop the war-ravaged country. She says although there are high prospects for peace to return, the humanitarian situation in CAR remains a major problem.
CAR's interim president, Catherine Samba-Panza, said after a May summit bringing together 700 representatives from political parties and civil society groups, she believed it was imperative to give an accounting to the international community and CAR's diaspora.
The gathering was intended to clear the way for national elections expected in August to end CAR's two-year political crisis.
However, Samba-Panza said humanitarian crises continued to batter her country, and CAR remained far from stable despite the presence of 8,500 U.N. peace keepers in Bangui.
She said the most important thing was for the international community to continue providing human and financial resources. She said without such help, it would be difficult for elections to be organized.
Samba-Panza has been serving as interim president since January 2014. She said all Central Africans she met in Cameroon and the other countries she visited were anxiously waiting for elections so their country could return to democratic law and put the period of sectarian killings behind them.
She said the massive turnout of CAR refugees to receive her in Cameroon's economic capital, Douala, was a strong indication that everyone wanted peace to return to CAR so they could go back and contribute to the development of their country.
Last month, the U.N. called on the international community to send aid to the country's population. But, so far, international donors have contributed just $83 million in aid out of the estimated $604 million required.
The U.N. reports that 460,000 people have fled CAR to neighboring countries, and an estimated 440,000 people, mostly women and children, are internally displaced.