The Central African Republic (CAR) is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bounded by Chad in the north, Sudan in the northeast, now South Sudan in the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Republic of the Congo in the south, and Cameroon in the west. The CAR is arelatively small country with a small population of some 4.4 million people (2008). The capital nd largest city is Bangui. The terraine is primarily Sudano-Guinean savannas but the north is Sahelian and the south is equatorial forest. Most of the country iswithin the Ubangi River basin and flows south into the Congo River. The northern zone is in the Chari River basin which flows north into Lake Chad. The importance of these two rivers while France referred tothe colony as Oubangui-Chari. France made it a semi-autonomous territory of the French Community (1958) and granted independence (1960). The new countrywas one of the most eratically ruled new African countries. After the French-supervised free election, elections became meaningless. The most eratic ruler was Jean-Bédel Bokassa. He was a military officer who aftr seizing power decided he wanted to be an emperor. Local discontent with their rulers and international pressure after the end of the Cold War eventually brought real multi-party democratic elections (1993). Ange-Félix Patassé was elected, but was unable to maintain popular support. He was ousted by French-backed General François Bozizé (2003). He went on to win a democratic election (May 2005). More information is available on our history page.
Incompetent and at times predatory leadership has led to economic failure. The CAR has a potentully potentially bright future. There are significant mineral and natural resources (uranium in Bakouma, crude oil, gold, diamonds, lumber, and hydropower) as well as adequate arable land for a small population. The CAR is, however, one of the poorest countries in the world and even in Africa ranks among the poorest.
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