Central African Republic



Country overview

Central africa 1

Country overview

Total area [1]: 622,984 km2
Climate [1]: tropical
Population [1]: 5,277,959 (July 2014 estimation based on several hypotheses)
Population growth rate [1]: 2.13%
Children under the age of 5 years underweight [1]: 28%
GDP – per capita [1]: 700 USD
Internally displaced persons (IDPs) [2]: 535,000
Refugees residing in Central African Republic [2]: 7,753
Total population of concern residing in Central African Republic [2]: 911,706
Total population of concern originating from Central African Republic [2]: 1,300,804




[1] CIA, “The World Factbook - Central African Republic,” 2015. [Online]. Available: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ct.html [Accessed: 03-Mar-2015].

[2] UNHCR, “UNHCR - Central African Republic,” 2015. [Online]. Available: http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e45c156.html# [Accessed: 03-Mar-2015].

Assessment phase

Assessment phase


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with the assessment phase.

Technologies proposed

Technologies proposed

Out of the two camps assessed, only the one in Zemio was considered for proposal of technologies.

  • Community freezing center, with testing space for food preservation technologies
  • Improved cookstoves (ICS)
  • Solar products for lighting


 africa republic technology


The access to both electrical energy and energy for food preservation will be improved through the establishment of a dedicate facility. A double solar system will power a set of freezers, and a mobile phone charging station. The solar system will directly compare two different photovoltaic technologies (i.e. polycrystalline and CIS/CIGS – thin film) and will give good indication regarding practical effectiveness and efficiency in field conditions as cloudy as CAR’s. Freezers will be used mainly for meat and fish preservation, and to cool ice packs (called “cold bricks”; potentially in the future they can be replaced with simple bottled of water). These packs will keep some root cellars at low temperature. In such a way some low-cost and no-power refrigerators will be tested for different uses, including income-generating activities. Some smokers will be available for the families, as well as some improved solar driers built with local material according to the best models available. People will be able to test different food preservation technologies, and will develop new economic opportunities.

Some energy will be dedicated also to light part of the camp, and make it safer. Some solar lamp posts will be installed, using very simple solar systems, and poles available on the local market. Moreover a group of families will test two different solar home-systems: some will receive solar torches/lanterns, while others will use systems with a separate panel, but the possibility to charge small devices thought a USB port.

Two different cookstoves will be tested by a large number of families: some will use a locally-made model, while others will experience a commercial model able to burn firewood and other biomass. In such a way, the possibility to burn agricultural waste will be tested directly by the users. The use of such biomass could probably need some preliminary activities, like briquetting, but at least the interest of people will be evaluated.

Technologies implemented

Technologies implemented

In Central African Republic (CAR) the main challenges are related to logistics, security and the poor local market. It was impossible to identify local contractors suitable for technologies selected, as well as several items were simply unavailable. The security affects not only the transport of goods, but also fairly reduces the interest of contractors from other countries. Indeed the idea to send a technician in such a country scared several companies, despite the fact that COOPI has worked in CAR for several years and would have been in charge of both security and local logistics. An international tender was launched, and several companies from countries in the area (e.g. Cameroon, Chad, Gabon) and from East Africa (e.g. Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda) applied. Some companies asked for clarifications, in particular about security, but few actually submitted a bid, and they did not cover all the technologies identified. Then several logistical constraints were faced. In particular the transport of technologies from Bangui, the capital city, to Zemio had to be by flight, in order to avoid the risk of stealing and to reduce the time required. Only construction material was transported by truck. Finally all these challenges generated an higher cost of the implementation of technologies, that was only partially compensated by the support provided by COOPI to contractors in terms of logistics and security counseling.

The technologies implemented are the following:

  • Community freezing center, with testing space for food preservation technologies
  • Improved cookstoves (ICS)
  • Solar products for lighting

A community freezing center will be composed of standard freezers in AC powered by two “twin” photovoltaic systems: they will have the similar characteristics, with the same load applied, but they will work with two different photovoltaic technologies, in order to allow a comparison in the same field application. A building will house both freezers and electrical equipment, and panels will be installed on the roof. The center will support also the improvement of the local practice of sun drying, as well as the testing of an improved version of root cellars. Indeed cool brigs (i.e. frozen water in plastic bottles) will be generated by freezers, and will help keep temperature low.

Improved cookstoves will be distributed to improve fuel efficiency, as well as testing people interest and willingness to use other locally-available biomass.

Simple but reliable solar products will be distributed for lighting purpose, in order to support replacement of kerosene lamps and the use of disposable batteries. Such products are also commonly available in different countries, including Uganda, where some goods available in the Zemio market come from, thus could be potentially available in case of a clear interest of either refugee and host community.


Pilot project story

Pilot project story

October – December 2014
The main part of the field assessment was carried out.

January 2015
The first draft of technologies was proposed.

February 2015
Technologies were finally defined, including social acceptability and market analysis.

Procurement of technologies started in February.

Procurement process was more difficult than expected due to the lack of reliable national suppliers for the technologies selected. Other suppliers were invited to submit their bid, with a supply/installation mechanism tailor-made on Central African Republic context, and in particular Zemio specific conditions.

Procedures took a couple of months, in order to clarify technical, logistical (including security) and financial aspects. Logistics management was particular challenging.

April 2015
Regular meetings with refugee community started in April.

June 2015
Sensitization campaign and coordination with UNHCR took more time than expected, but the situation was finally clarified. The construction was completed. Technologies arrived in Bangui, after a long trip with several challenges, and are on the way to Zemio.

July 2015
Last part of technologies arrived in Bangui. First part of technologies delivered to Zemio.

August 2015
Discussion with contractor about technical specifications of freezers. Baseline of information collected.

September 2015
Second part of technologies delivered to Zemio.

October 2015
Capacity building. Distribution of cookstoves. Demonstration about the use of the smoker.

November 2015
Last part of technologies finally got custom clearance and were delivered to Zemio. Installation of the freezing community center. Distribution of solar lights and demonstration about the use of root cellars.

December 2015
Additional freezer from contractor delivered to Zemio. All the technologies operational and in use.



SET4food is a project developed by:                                                                                                                                

Logo a colori in orizzontale senza pay off    PoliMI Croped SAFE -CropedGlobal Aliance Clean Cookstoves blue v2 Transparent    FAO     WFP



                                                           Co-funded by:      

         EU CP-HA EN                                                                                                                                                  


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