Central African Republic welcomes its ”repats”

Political circumstances had forced people to leave for greener pastures. Now, they are retuning home
Sylvia s Restaurant on Lenox Avenue in Harlem in NYC. Sylvia’s Restaurant of Harlem, legendary soul food restaurant at 328 Lenox Avenue in Harlem, New York City, USA May 2015

Clement Ndotizo spent ten years in France before returning to his native Central African Republic. The country is said to be plagued with underdevelopment and conflict.

Ndotizo is a founder of Fox Private Security in France, returned to the CAR in 1993 to establish the same company in the capital, Bangui.

Despite the fact that most people thought it foolish that he return home given the uncertainty of the clime, Ndotizo is excited to tell his story because like other CAR “repatriates” before him, he had managed to create a profit making business venture against the overwhelming odds.

Of course, the CAR, is rich in natural resources including diamonds, uranium, timber, gold and oil. Sadly, it has been brought to its knees by conflict.

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In 2013, insurgents (Seleka) overthrew the then President Francois Bozize who rather unsurprisingly was a Christian. This act sparked a bloody sectarian violence that will go down in history. Since then thousands more have been killed and about 4.5 million people have fled their homes.

The circumstances forced people to leave for greener pastures. The CAR suffered brain drain of epic proportions. A repatriate Auguste Ogoula who moved back in 2008 had this to say, “sometimes the circumstances force people to leave, but I know people who were talented here but were lost in the crowd in Europe, where there is more competition in Africa”.

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The Repats have an added advantage of having lived in two climes. With one foot in Bangui and the other in France, they get the best of both worlds. The thought of moving back home was scary but they indeed have no regrets.

A new peace accord with 14 armed groups was signed in on Tuesday as an attempt to end the bloodshed.  The Repats are confident and believe that “war or no war”, they are where they belong. Little by little, they all hope to contribute their own small quota to their country.


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