About Central African Republic

Located in the middle of the African continent is the Central African Republic (CAR), whose neighbors include Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, and Cameroon. Known for its exceptional natural beauty and wildlife, the CAR is home to a young population of 5.4 million people living primarily in the western and central areas of the country and around the capital city of Bangui. The majority of the population is Christian and culturally falls into several ethnic groups including the Baya, Banda, Mandjia, Sara, and M’Baka-bantu. The national language is Sangho, but French is also spoken in an official capacity.

The Central African Republic achieved independence from France in 1960 and has since experienced decades of misrule, military coups, contentious elections, and rebellion. The country’s most recent state of turmoil was the result of a violent takeover of power in 2013 and an uprising that displaced 25 percent of the population. In February 2018, progress was made when the country signed an African Union–mediated peace agreement with 14 armed groups; however, fighting between rebel groups continues. Today the CAR is one of the world's poorest and least developed countries. About 71 percent of the population lives below the international poverty line.

As a result of conflict and economic turmoil, more than half the country requires humanitarian assistance, with over one million in acute need. Health indicators include an alarming maternal mortality rate and an average life expectancy of 53 years. Leading causes of death include tuberculosis, diarrheal diseases, lower respiratory infections, HIV/AIDS, neonatal disorders, and malaria. In recent years, congenital defects and stroke have also become more significant contributors to death, as have road injuries.


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