Education (In)Security in the Central African Republic

  • The conflict in the Central African Republic is rooted in different populations’ unequal access to economic opportunities, public goods, and security and justice. Marginalisation of the mostly Muslim inhabitants in the country’s north-east was at the root of the onset of the civil war that started in 2012. This research project, looking at education as one important public good and studying educational success in the rebel-held town of Ndélé, analyses how inequality and conflict become interlinked. It contributes to and challenges assumptions of the literature on rebel governance.
    Knowledge Management Fund, 2018


    Anne-Clémence Le Noan

    Research Questions

    What factors explain educational success in the rebel-held town of Ndélé in the Central African Republic?

    Contribution to International Research

    The research project addresses both an empirical and a theoretical gap. Empirically, the CAR – particularly the rebel-held eastern areas – remains under-researched. Theoretically, there is a lack of knowledge on service provision in rebel-held areas. Other studies investigate broad matters of security, justice, and statebuilding in rebel-held areas. In this project we go one step further by looking at what such frame conditions mean for the provision of public goods, exemplified by education.

    Research Design and Methods

    Studying education in such a context is no simple endeavour; its feasibility depends on prior experience. The main applicant has conducted extensive fieldwork in the CAR over the past three years and has built a large network of local academics and policymakers who will facilitate access. The project will include three months of fieldwork and three months of desk work. In the field the project team will conduct interviews, focus group discussions, and participatory observations in Ndélé.

    Preliminary Findings

    This study in the rebel-held town of Ndélé, Central African Republic, challenged the assumption that rebels’ coercive means are naturally used for the people they rule – for governance – as opposed to gaining from the people and their land – extraction. We explicated how governance happens in rebel-held territory, but rarely by rebels. Allowing other actors to provide services for the people is only enabled when this does not hinder rebels to profit from them and their land. These findings call for a re-evaluation of existing rebel governance studies and the ways interventions engage rebel groups.
    The results have been published in a working paper at the ABI and will soon appear in a peer-reviewed article (a pre-print draft of which can be requested from the the PI).

    Small Wars and Insurgencies | 2023

    Rebel Governance or Governance in Rebel Territory? Extraction and Services in Ndélé, Central African Republic

    Rebel governance assumes a symbiotic relationship between coercion and public goods provision. However, in the rebel-held town of Ndélé, Central African Republic, we find that governance happens in rebel-held territory, but rarely by rebels.

    Anne-Clémence Le Noan

    ABI Working Paper | 11/2018

    Education Nationale En Territoire Rebelle: Le Cas Du Lycée De Ndélé En République Centrafricaine

    Anne-Clémence Le Noan

    CRU Report, October 2015 | 10/2015

    Speculating on Crisis: The Progressive Disintegration of the Central African Republic’s Political Economy

    Dr. Lotje De Vries

    Wageningen University

    Rebel Coercion or Rebel Governance? The Rise, Rule, and Fall of an Armed Non-state Actor in Ndélé, Central African Republic


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