Catherine Samba-Panza

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The process of peace and pacification is a work that requires long breath, like a marathon
Starting today, I am the president of all Central Africans, without exclusion

Catherine Samba-Panza (born 26 June 1954) was interim President of the Central African Republic from 2014 to 2016, and the first woman to hold the post. Prior to becoming head of state, she was Mayor of Bangui from 2013 to 2014.


  • I call on my children, especially the anti-balaka, to put down their arms and stop all the fighting. The same goes for the ex-Seleka - they should not have fear. I don't want to hear any more talk of murders and killings. Starting today, I am the president of all Central Africans, without exclusion.
  • Interviewer: France has announced that it is planning to withdraw its troops from the Central African Republic at the end of the year. Is this good or bad news?
    Catherine Samba-Panza: The international community, be it the United Nations, the European Union or friendly countries like France, has been helping us from the very first hours of the crisis. Regional organizations like the African Union have accompanied us throughout all our difficulties. However, this is very expensive. So all these countries and organizations need to consider up to which limit they are able to continue with their efforts. We took note of France's intention to start withdrawing their troops right at the end of the transitional period. We can all see that the French Sangaris mission is still of great help for the mission of the European Union as well as the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSCA. So I would say that it is a withdrawal, but not a total withdrawal
  • Interviewer: Are you in a hurry to finish your term as the Interim President?
    Catherine Samba-Panza: I am not in a hurry but I believe that I had a specific mission which I accomplished. When I came into office, I knew that I was going to respect the rules, namely that I was not allowed to run for president in the following elections. I am proud to leave my position having respected these rules and to hand over a governable country to the new leaders that come out of the polls.

Roundtable at GW (2016)[edit]

  • Girls have to get much more interested in public matters, in international matters, and [they must] affirm themselves by making frank, open, honest commitments in the area of the protection of women’s rights, in the area of politics and in all other sectors. Sometimes when women are questioned on this or that subject, we are less informed than the boys.
  • Even this morning in my speech to the World Bank, I said it was important to undertake a study of the causes and the roots of the conflict in the Central African Republic. There are several factors. There is poverty, exclusion of communities and regions. Those who feel excluded react.
  • Violence is in the mind and on the hearts of our [Central African Republic] population for many, many years. The process of peace and pacification is a work that requires long breath, like a marathon.
  • “The process of peace and pacification is a work that requires long breath, like a marathon”


  • ”Women had confidence in my leadership. I couldn’t stand by and do nothing while my country fell into chaos,” [2]
  • Samba-Panza became the first female president of her country, and one of the few on the continent. Women were overjoyed, both on the streets of Bangui and in the parliament that had elected her. Her gender was decisive to her political rise,[3]
  • “Women of the country said: We have had enough of hostilities between men. A female leader would be less violent, less aggressive, less hungry for power,” [4]
  • Women fight for peace, Samba-Panza says, because of their intimate experience of giving life. [5]
  • “If I had acted like a head of state, that would have never worked” [6]
  • "The government will be reshuffled to be more inclusive and representative," [7]

External Links[edit]