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The Central African Republic (CAR), formerly known as Ubangi-Shari, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Chad to the north, Sudan to the northeast, South Sudan to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the south, the Republic of the Congo to the southwest, and Cameroon to the west. The Central African Republic covers a land area of about 620,000 square kilometres (240,000 sq mi). As of 2021[update], it had an estimated population of around 5.5 million. As of 2023[update], the Central African Republic is the scene of a civil war, which is ongoing since 2012.
Central African Republic
and largest city
|Government||Unitary presidential republic|
• Republic established
|1 December 1958|
• from France
|13 August 1960|
• Central African Empire established
|4 December 1976|
|4 December 1977|
|21 September 1979|
|622,984 km2 (240,535 sq mi) (44th)|
• Water (%)
• 2023 estimate
|7.1/km2 (18.4/sq mi) (221st)|
|GDP (PPP)||2023 estimate|
|$5.678 billion (170th)|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2023 estimate|
|$2.760 billion (182nd)|
• Per capita
|HDI (2021)|| 0.404|
low · 188th
|Time zone||UTC+1 (WAT)|
|ISO 3166 code||CF|
Most of the Central African Republic consists of Sudano-Guinean savannas, but the country also includes a Sahelo-Sudanian zone in the north and an equatorial forest zone in the south. Two-thirds of the country is within the Ubangi River basin (which flows into the Congo), while the remaining third lies in the basin of the Chari, which flows into Lake Chad.
What is today the Central African Republic has been inhabited since at least 8,000 BCE. The country's borders were established by France, which ruled the country as a colony starting in the late 19th century. After gaining independence from France in 1960, the Central African Republic was ruled by a series of autocratic leaders, including an abortive attempt at a monarchy.
By the 1990s, calls for democracy led to the first multi-party democratic elections in 1993. Ange-Félix Patassé became president, but was later removed by General François Bozizé in the 2003 coup. The Central African Republic Bush War began in 2004 and, despite a peace treaty in 2007 and another in 2011, civil war resumed in 2012. The civil war perpetuated the country's poor human rights record: it was characterized by widespread and increasing abuses by various participating armed groups, such as arbitrary imprisonment, torture, and restrictions on freedom of the press and freedom of movement.
Despite its significant mineral deposits and other resources, such as uranium reserves, crude oil, gold, diamonds, cobalt, lumber, and hydropower, as well as significant quantities of arable land, the Central African Republic is among the ten poorest countries in the world, with the lowest GDP per capita at purchasing power parity in the world as of 2017. As of 2021[update], according to the Human Development Index (HDI), the country had the fourth-lowest level of human development, ranking 188 out of 191 countries. The country had the lowest inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI), ranking 156th out of 156 countries. The Central African Republic is also estimated to be the unhealthiest country as well as the worst country in which to be young.
The Central African Republic is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the Economic Community of Central African States, the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie and the Non-Aligned Movement.
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