As Central African Republic swears-in the newly elected president, Faustin-Archange Touadera, the new leader faces a tough road ahead as years of deadly violence between Muslims and Christians have left the country in a dilapidated condition.
Touadera, 58, a former Maths professor and vice chancellor of the University of Bangui served as CAR prime minister between 2008 and 2013.
He was removed from power by the Muslim Seleka rebel alliance in March 2013.
We have to create the conditions for dialogue between the two communities. We will do everything we can so that Central Africans can live together in Central African Republic.
The new president is expected to face a legion of challenges in governing the country.
CAR is ranked world’s third poorest country in terms of Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
The country has been beset by conflict ever since the Seleka, a rebel group comprised mostly of Muslims, removed former president Francois Bozize from power in March 2013.
CAR is one of the most unstable countries in Africa since independence from France in 1960, having witnessed five coups.
Instability in the country has created a mass exodus of people, more than 450,000 Central Africans are currently seeking refuge in neighbouring countries such as Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Before the runoff vote, Touadera said he wanted to prioritise reconciliation and disarmament.
“We have to create the conditions for dialogue between the two communities. We will do everything we can so that Central Africans can live together in Central African Republic,” he said.
The new president would need to bring an end the long violence in the country, tackle impunity and disarm the militants.
There is also the challenge of bringing back the refugees who had fled the country long ago as a result of violence.
He would be expected to cement bilateral relations with western countries and neighbouring African countries.
Building a united army and creating a strong central government administration for the country are also part of the challenges Touadera intends to tackle.