Last month a peace agreement was signed between the Government of the Central African Republic and 14 armed groups, following talks in Sudan.

Our East and Central Africa Programme Manager, Caesar Poblicks, joined an expert panel on Channel Africa to discuss what needs to happen now in the Central African Republic. In this discussion, he argues that although the peace agreement marks progress, there are still challenges ahead.

The journey from communities having guns to protect themselves, to having no guns, is likely to take a long long time. Disarmament is connected to a real fear from some of these local commanders about losing power. [...] It is our task now to show them alternatives to violence.

He also argues, that for the peace process to last, there is an urgent need for coordination between different part of society to ensure people do not feel excluded from the process:

The peace agreement was signed in Rome by very high-level political representatives and armed leaders, and then two or three days down the line, the ceasefire is broken [in some regions]. There is a disconnect between the countryside and the capital Bangui, and between the leaders and the people they are representing [...] Did the local commanders know what was being discussed in [the peace talks] in Khartoum?

For more information and insight on the situation in the Central African Republic, you can listen to the full discussion here.