In December 2020, eight years into the Central African Republic’s (CAR) civil war and roughly a week before the latest presidential election, six of the country’s rebel groups—who at the time controlled two-thirds of national territory—formed Coalition des patriotes pour le changement (CPC). Though opportunistic alliances among previously-warring factions were not a new phenomenon, the rapid territorial gains which reached the outskirts of the capital, Bangui, gave credence to its legitimacy, despite the lack of centralization among its constituent members. This report will primarily focus on the time period December 2020 to May 2021, at which point the CPC had lost much of its territorial gains.
Drawing from the USAID Conflict Assessment Framework (Version 2.0), this report employs both a stakeholder and mobilization political economy analysis (PEA) and a political network analysis (PNA). The PEA investigates eleven key individuals involved in the conflict: President Faustin-Archange Touadéra, Héritier Doneng, Yevgeny Prigozhin, President Vladimir Putin, François Bozizé, Nourredine Adam, Ali Darassa, Mahamat al-Khatim, Sidiki Abass, Maxime Mokom, and Dieudonné Ndomate. Through the PEA, this report seeks to demonstrate that profit motives for elite actors in CAR constitute the preeminent driver of conflict, through which they use disbursed financial incentives, offerings of political power, and/or ethnic/religious grievances to mobilize fighters necessary to achieve their economic goals. Building on these concepts, the PNA serves to demonstrate—in contrast to some popular notions regarding deep-rooted ethnic/religious tensions structuring the conflict—that the personal alliances formed during the CPC phase of the war were driven by profit motives, overcoming both ethnic/religious tensions and even bringing together former enemies.