The Central African Republic (CAR) is a landlocked country in Africa with a population of around 4.4 million. It is the 45th biggest country in the world, about the same sort of size as Texas. It borders Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon.
The capital of CAR is Bangui where about 20% of the entire population of the country reside. As with many (if not all) Sub-Saharan countries it has had and is still having massive beefs. Both socially and economically.
It achieved independence from France in 1960 and preceded to have 30 years of unelected presidents and emperors. The first democratic multi-party elections didn’t come until 1993. The guy who was eventually elected became unpopular himself and was overthrown to make way for General François Bozizé. Bozizé’s rule was tainted by corruption, nepotism and authoritarianism.
The people of CAR once again rose up and the country was thrown into the CAR Bush War of 2004-2007 and the CAR Conflict from 2012-2013. In March 2013 Bozizé was finally overthrown and deposed. The country is now in a state of near anarchy and lawlessness with religious differences at the heart of the problem. Muslim vs Christian.
In September 2014 France’s troops once again entered the country in a bid to keep the peace, and the UN and human rights groups have expanded their activities. Infighting between Muslim and Christian groups constantly rear their manes. In October 2014 at least 12 Muslim Séléka fighters were killed by “anti-Balaka” Christian militias.
Red Cross volunteers and workers for Médecins Sans Frontières are finding it difficult to help the victims of such attacks. Many aid workers have been attacked themselves whilst dressing wounds and helping the injured.
On paper CAR is a very rich country, it has uranium, crude oil, diamonds, gold, lumber and arable land, but it’s people are some of the poorest on earth. They are in the top 10 poorest nations of Africa. In the Human Development Index they come 179th out of 187 and more than 90% of their total population are confined to slums.
The country’s human rights record is a bit of a shocker too. There are executions without trial, torture, rape and beating of prisoners, lack of worker’s rights, state sanctioned mob violence, female genital mutilation, discrimination against females and pygmies and widespread government corruption.
Around half of the adult population are illiterate and life expectancy for men and women is under 50. HIV/AIDS infects 4.7% of people aged 15-49 and there are only around 5 physicians per 100,000 population.
If you would like to do something to help here’s some links to some charities that deal specifically with the region:
The country has thrown up a couple of sweet musical genres though. Where there’s suffering, there’s creativity. I don’t suppose that gives the people of CAR much hope but at least it gives a cheery end to this article. This first video shows Banda music, created by the Banda people who are indigenous to CAR. It sort of sounds like the confusingly popular band Madness playing their set backwards and underwater, but without a drummer:
This is Pygmy music: