Several local Russian media reported back in April 2021 that the Russian government planned to invest $11 billion in the conflict-ridden Central African Republic (CAR). This report was also retooled and published in the reputable English newspaper The Moscow Times.
That news report made reference to a government official who said in late April that Russia could invest $11 billion in reconstruction projects in the mineral-rich Central African Republic, where rebel violence has led to mass displacement and Russian mercenaries are widely reported to be providing security services to the embattled military.
Since 2018 Moscow has expanded its diplomatic and financial activities in the former French colony in exchange for major concessions in the country’s mining sector, particularly gold and diamonds, The Moscow Times reported.
Pascal Bida Koyagbélé, CAR’s Minister in charge of Strategic Investments told Russian state media that Russian construction firms are still interested in investing in the CAR “because we are a country in reconstruction.”
“We have road projects worth about $6 billion, a $3 billion rail project and we also need to build a new city, which will cost $2 billion,” Koyagbélé told the French-language edition of the Kremlin-funded Sputnik news organization.
“We are in discussions with the Russian state, with public and private banks, to have a financing advantage. We have plenty of guarantees to offer, including mining guarantees,” Koyagbélé added.
Koyagbélé visited Moscow where he and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov discussed trade, economic and investment cooperation, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
He and Bogdanov addressed “the possibilities of involving interested Russian economic operators in projects to develop mineral resources, energy, infrastructure and agricultural projects in the CAR.”
United Nations experts expressed concern over reports of mass summary executions, forced civilian displacement and other rights abuses allegedly committed by Russian mercenaries in the CAR.
Russia’s increased presence in the CAR comes amid a wider military and financial push across the African continent in exchange for mining rights.