President: Faustin Archange Touadera
622,436 sq km
A landlocked state in Africa’s geographical centre. Variation from tropical forest in the southwest to semi-desert in the northeast.
Official language: French and Sango (trade language used by most of the population
With ample supplies of diamonds, gold, uranium, and oil, Central African Republic (CAR) should be thriving and rank as one of the world’s richest nations. But instead, it suffers from abject poverty and competition between rival warlords.
CAR gained its independence from France under the strong leadership of Barthelemy Boganda. But since then the nation has oscillated relative stability and disunity from constant coups.
Most of the leaders squandered the nation’s resources through corruption, played favorites among the ethnic groups, and stirred resentment between the Christian south and Muslim north. Although religious differences had little to do with the initial coups, current warlords have used it as a wedge to gain power.
Though the capital Bangui is relatively calm, numerous armed groups roam the countryside. Each one sets up blockades, operates mines, and executes revenge killings in their separate domains. The chaos has decimated the nation, leaving half of the population under the age of fifteen. Over one million of CAR’s 4.6 million people have been displaced and live in camps that provide little sanitation, have limited access to clean water, and are a quagmire of mud and disease.
CAR had once been one of the world’s most evangelized nations. To this day, half of the population professes Christianity, with 15% being Muslim, and 35% adhering to animistic faiths. However, Christianity is often mixed with local animistic traditions, and there is little depth of commitment and limited grasp of Biblical truth. National missionaries and agencies, however, are increasing, and indigenous-led Churches are rising up to meet the great spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of their people.