Central Africa and the Great Lakes

Operational information on the Central Africa and the Great Lakes subregion is presented below. A summary of this can also be downloaded in PDF format. This subregion covers the following countries:

Subregion: Central Africa and the Great Lakes


Latest update of camps and office locations: October 2017. By clicking on the icons on the map, additional information is displayed.

  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018

Budgets and Expenditure in Subregion Central Africa and the Great Lakes

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2016 {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"budget":[397.11091767,503.32381366,699.501085209,642.156147158,685.61173028,608.08015039],"expenditure":[186.81027121,236.15435243,274.23980882,292.79051134,null,null]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[239.84552114,307.9703963,505.440937742,458.162112674,527.97135625,467.6916841],"p2":[8.68566536,2.80964228,3.730164264,4.73713069,3.10447697,1.81631282],"p3":[55.78047991,64.77744622,54.587607553,66.33196742,62.63241923,34.68654283],"p4":[92.79925126,127.76632886,135.74237565,112.924936374,91.90347783,103.88561064]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[142.49521679,175.78113489,218.41039125,250.01217902,null,null],"p2":[2.14283547,1.29948582,1.06479773,1.85292683,null,null],"p3":[18.38606284,22.28936622,17.41356558,16.66261556,null,null],"p4":[23.78615611,36.7843655,37.35105426,24.26278993,null,null]}
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People of Concern - 2018 [projected]

[["Refugees",1554800],["Asylum-seekers",66991],["IDPs",2431903],["Returned IDPs",193000],["Returned refugees",143032],["Stateless",116000],["Others of concern",217401]]
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Operational environment 

The operational environment in the Central Africa and the Great Lakes subregion will continue to be heavily affected by a high concentration of multiple, complex and often inter-connected displacement situations. Displacement, both internal and external, has been on the rise in 2017 and the subregion now hosts 6.6 million people of concern. The continuing instability in Burundi, significant deterioration of the security situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as well as the Central African Republic (CAR), have been major sources of internal displacement and refugee outflows and will continue to require dedicated coordinated responses.
The continued political instability in Burundi has led to the outflow of more than 419,000 Burundian refugees to neighbouring countries and beyond since April 2015. In 2017, refugees have continued to flee their country, however at a lower level than in previous years, with close to 60,000 new refugee arrivals in the region. In 2018, unless the political situation is sustainably resolved, the refugee outflows are expected to continue in the region, albeit at a lower scale than in 2017. UNHCR, under the Burundi Regional Response, will advocate for maintenance of protection and asylums pace in the region, while supporting host countries to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to refugees, prioritizing livelihoods and self-reliance in a whole-of-society approach. Concurrently, small-scale spontaneous returns of Burundian refugees, predominantly from the United Republic of Tanzania have been reported during the course of 2017.  While UNHCR is not comprehensively promoting Burundian refugee returns, it has begun assisting small groups of refugees from Tanzania wishing to voluntarily return, which, will be continued in 2018 on a voluntary basis and will require coordinated reintegration support.
In 2017, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has seen a significant deterioration in the security situation. The number of IDPs now stands at 3.8 million, with more than 1.7 million displaced in 2017 alone, predominantly due to the Kasai crisis. Close to 100,000 Congolese refugees have fled to countries in the region, including large numbers in Angola, Uganda and Zambia. With recent improvements in the security situation in the Kasai region, some 700,000 are estimated to have returned and are now confronted by the challenge of reintegration. However, inter-communal conflicts and violence persist. A system-wide Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Level-3 emergency has been recently declared for the Kasais, South Kivu and Tanganyika – regions hosting some of the largest numbers of IDPs. With presidential elections announced for late 2018, and persisting inter-communal violence, UNHCR will continue to monitor the volatile situation in the country as well as in its neighbouring countries. Regionally coordinated responses may need to be activated. Inside the DRC, UNHCR will seek to implement a comprehensive approach to protection and solutions for refugees that promotes self-reliance, while upscaling IDP protection and assistance focused on the L.3 provinces.
Internal political uncertainty in the Republic of the Congo, following the April 2016 presidential elections severely impacted the civilian population, leading to the displacement of entire villages within the Pool Department. The number has increased six-fold in less than a year, from close to 13,000 in June 2016 to 81,000 in May 2017. Several villages in the Pool and Bouenza regions in the country’s south remain seriously affected by displacement and will continue to require humanitarian assistance in 2018.
The humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) is expected to remain fragile in 2018, following the resurgence of fighting between armed groups leading to displacement within the country and across borders. The conflict has spread to new areas in the north-west and south-east, as well as to areas previously unaffected by violence, such as Bria, in the centre of the country, and Kaga Bandoro, in the north. There are more than 514,000 CAR refugees in the region, with largest numbers in Cameroon. UNHCR will continue to monitor and support CAR refugees in the region in tandem with increased assistance to growing numbers of IDPs and refugees hosted in the country.
In 2018, UNHCR’s refugee responses in the region will be increasingly embedded in a comprehensive protection and solutions refugee response. During 2017, the United Republic of Tanzania has initiated the roll-out of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), which aims to support the Government in meeting its commitments and recent pledges for enhanced protection and inclusion of refugees. Rwanda, which continues to receive thousands of Rwandan returnees every year, and is hosting an increasing number of Burundian and Congolese refugees, is applying a CRRF-like approach in their refugee response, seeking to promote refugee inclusion in key sectors while supporting host communities.
The pursuit of solutions for refugees has also seen headway in 2017. The Office will continue to work with the Government of Tanzania to facilitate solutions for the verification and naturalization of the remaining Burundian refugees who arrived in 1972. As the deadline for the cessation of refugee status for Rwandan refugees draws closer, the number of Rwandan returnees arriving mostly from the DRC more than doubled in 2017 as compared to 2016. UNHCR will continue to support the pursuit of solutions for Rwandan refugees, advocating for assisted voluntary repatriation and alternative legal status for those wishing to remain in host countries. UNHCR is expecting to see a reduction in the number of Central African refugees repatriating, though it is anticipated that some 25,000 people will return in 2018.

Response and implementation

Operations in BurundiCameroonCentral African RepublicCongo (Republic of the), the Democratic Republic of the CongoRwanda and the United Republic of Tanzania are presented in separate chapters. For other countries where UNHCR operates in the subregion, please see below.

As of August 2017, Gabon is hosting more than 1,000 refugees and asylum-seekers mostly from Chad, but also from CAR, the DRC, and other countries. Refugees and asylum-seekers are predominantly residing in urban areas and their displacement is mostly protracted, 25 years on average. Refugees are unable to integrate professionally, especially in light of the worsening economic situation following the collapse of the price of oil in 2015. While most refugees indicate a preference for integration and naturalization in Gabon, ongoing concerns over the costs and length of the process continue to hamper the realization of durable solutions.  In 2018, UNHCR will maintain discussions with refugees to bring solutions to their situation, and will facilitate and support local integration of the refugees who expressed a need to stay through advocacy with the local authorities.

2018 Budget for Central Africa and the Great Lakes | USD

Operation Pillar 1
Refugee programme
Pillar 2
Stateless programme
Pillar 3
Reintegration projects
Pillar 4
IDP projects
Burundi 28,578,982002,345,61330,924,595
Cameroon 81,069,771530,53305,127,50286,727,806
Central African Republic 9,639,982017,021,77814,607,66241,269,421
Democratic Republic of the Congo Regional Office 109,914,4371,285,78011,143,85078,634,833200,978,901
Republic of the Congo 20,304,168003,170,00023,474,168
Rwanda 95,475,73003,300,309098,776,039
United Republic of Tanzania 122,708,61403,220,6060125,929,220
Total 467,691,6841,816,31334,686,543103,885,611608,080,150

2018 Voluntary Contributions to Central Africa and the Great Lakes | USD

Earmarking / Donor Pillar 1
Refugee programme
Pillar 3
Reintegration projects
Pillar 4
IDP projects
Central Africa and the Great Lakes overall
Luxembourg 000523,013 523,013
Central Africa and the Great Lakes overall subtotal 000523,013 523,013
Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) 987,994000 987,994
Great Lakes Region Cross Border Fund 169,359000 169,359
Japan 1,500,000000 1,500,000
Private donors in Thailand 30,524000 30,524
Sweden 000761,421 761,421
UN Peacebuilding Fund 933,333000 933,333
United States of America 323,930002,200,000 2,523,930
Burundi subtotal 3,945,141002,961,421 6,906,562
African Development Bank 1,000,000000 1,000,000
Canada 000628,437 628,437
Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) 908,839000 908,839
Japan 503,700085,60010,700 600,000
Private donors in Spain 000613,497 613,497
Private donors in the Netherlands 889,127000 889,127
Private donors in the United States of America 505,229000 505,229
Republic of Korea 0003,168,000 3,168,000
UNAIDS 00020,000 20,000
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1,216,545000 1,216,545
United States of America 0006,100,000 6,100,000
Cameroon subtotal 5,023,440085,60010,540,634 15,649,674
Central African Republic
Germany 0001,132,503 1,132,503
Japan 01,868,926131,0740 2,000,000
Private donors in Germany 000306,748 306,748
UNAIDS 00035,800 35,800
United States of America 0002,900,000 2,900,000
Central African Republic subtotal 01,868,926131,0744,375,051 6,375,051
Democratic Republic of the Congo Regional Office
Canada 0001,178,319 1,178,319
Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) 1,000,10802,926,6220 3,926,730
European Union 1,226,994000 1,226,994
Private donors in Spain 5,432000 5,432
Private donors in Switzerland 008540 854
Private donors in the Republic of Korea 28,301000 28,301
Private donors in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 42,525000 42,525
Sweden 0002,538,071 2,538,071
UNAIDS 00050,000 50,000
United States of America 00012,700,000 12,700,000
Democratic Republic of the Congo Regional Office subtotal 2,303,36002,927,47616,466,390 21,697,227
Republic of the Congo
UNAIDS 00015,000 15,000
Republic of the Congo subtotal 00015,000 15,000
Japan 2,000,000000 2,000,000
Private donors in Japan 100,270000 100,270
Private donors in Qatar 825,317000 825,317
Private donors in Switzerland 500,0000060,705 560,705
Private donors in the Netherlands 367,518000 367,518
United States of America 933,845006,700,000 7,633,845
Rwanda subtotal 4,726,950006,760,705 11,487,656
United Republic of Tanzania
Canada 000549,882 549,882
Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) 4,146,664000 4,146,664
Great Lakes Region Cross Border Fund 424,908000 424,908
Japan 500,000000 500,000
Private donors in Sweden 533,804000 533,804
Private donors in the United States of America 300,010000 300,010
Republic of Korea 500,000000 500,000
Sweden 150,063000 150,063
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 5,234,899000 5,234,899
United States of America 122,364000 122,364
United Republic of Tanzania subtotal 11,912,71200549,882 12,462,595
Total 27,911,6041,868,9263,144,15042,192,097 75,116,777