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article imageAid organizations warn of market collapse in CAR

By Karen Graham     Feb 11, 2014 in Food
Bangui - The continuing violence between the Christian majority and Muslims in the Central African Republic (CAR) has torn the country apart. With the continued exodus of thousands of Muslims from the country, there are now fears of a market collapse.
In Bangui, the capital of CAR, the food trade is dependent on around 40 large-scale wholesale food traders who import food supplies from other countries, reselling them to smaller traders. Many of the Muslims who have already fled the country were the backbone of the local economy — farmers, herders or traders, targeted by Christian militias and forced to flee.
In a survey conducted recently by Oxfam and Action Contre La Faim ( Action Against Hunger), it was found that fewer than 10 wholesalers are left in the city, and many of them are considering leaving if security isn't restored. Phillippe Conraud, the country director of Oxfam in CAR said, “The Central African Republic risks facing a situation akin to a siege.”
The United Nations says that 90 percent of the population is subsisting on one meal a day. Fresh meat has become scarce because the few herders left have taken their livestock and fled into the bush, or across the borders into Cameroon or Chad. What little meat can be found has become so expensive that few can afford it,
To make matters worse, the planting season is only a month away, and over 96 percent of the farmers are unable to find seed for planting. At the country's border with Cameroon, hundreds of trucks and lorries sit loaded with food supplies, the drivers afraid to cross into CAR because of armed attacks. In the cities and towns, most warehouses are empty, or near-empty.
Several weeks ago, Human Rights Watch (HRW) told the BBC the continuing religious violence could force all of the country's Muslim population to flee. Peter Bouckaert, the HRW's emergency director also said forcing the Muslims to flee would be disastrous for the country's economy because they control the livestock markets as well as other businesses.
The Central African Republic is one of Africa's poorest nations, and has been in a constant state of chaos since Muslim Selaka rebels seized power over a year ago. Michel Djotodia, the coup leader who took over the presidency after the uprising, became the country's first Muslim leader. He resigned last month as part of a regional peace initiative.
More about market collapse, Food crisis, aid organization, United Nations, Violence
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