EUROPEAN FOREIGN POLICY SCORECARD 2016

Peacekeeping

7 - Central Africa

Grade: C+
Unity 3/5
Resources 3/5
Strategy 2/5
Impact 2/5
Total 10/20
Scorecard 2012: B- (12/20)
Scorecard 2013: B- (11/20)
Scorecard 2014: C+ (9/20)
Scorecard 2015: C- (6/20)

Central Africa is ridden with crises, and Europe’s ability to assist is in decline

Central Africa faced multiple parallel crises in 2015. Violence continued in the Central African Republic (CAR), and the EU’s military mission in the capital, Bangui, extended its operations until March 2015 in order to assist UN peacekeepers. It is generally judged to have boosted security, though only in a limited area, and there was a strong case for extending the mission further.

French and UN forces are still struggling to maintain order across the country, and both have been accused of sexual exploitation. There are only a handful of European personnel in the UN mission. While the Franco-UN presence may be enough to avert all-out collapse, and December’s presidential elections were calm, the CAR is likely to remain highly unstable for the foreseeable future.

In neighbouring South Sudan, leaders grudgingly agreed a long-delayed and weak peace deal in August. This was brokered by African governments, the US, and China. Though the UK and Norway are still engaged in mediation efforts, and London has pledged engineers to the UN mission to South Sudan (UNMISS), European influence in the country remains relatively limited.

France led efforts at the UN to raise concern over events in Burundi, where the president’s decision to circumvent the constitution and run for a third term precipitated a failed coup and ongoing violence. In Brussels, Belgium and the Netherlands led a push to suspend some aid to Burundi over the crisis. Russia and China initially blocked serious action by the Security Council, but relented in the final quarter of the year as killings spiked. By year-end, violence was escalating again, and it appeared possible that an international peacekeeping force might deploy.

There are fears that an electoral crisis may also loom in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2016, if President Joseph Kabila defies term limits to seek a third term. As in South Sudan, however, the US is now the main Western actor in the DRC’s politics, with Belgium, France, and the EU taking supporting roles.