Central African Republic is a landlocked country located at the central part of Africa (almost the precise center of Africa). Central African Republic borders the Republic of Chad to the north, Sudan to the northeast, the Republic of South Sudan to the east, the Republic of Cameroon to the west and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the south. Central African Republic has a total land area of about 622,984sq.km (about 2.9% of which is arable or land good for farming) and a population of about 5.2 million people with the population growth rate around 2.1%. About 40% of the total population of Central African Republic lives in urban areas in major cities and towns such Bangui the capital ( and biggest city). Bangui contains about 850,000 people.
Greater part of the population lives in rural areas mostly as subsistence farmers who grow crops and rear animals just to feed themselves and their families.
Although Central African Republic is a small country by population size, Central African Republic remains one of the most culturally rich countries in all of Africa with a beautiful blend of several cultures, ethnic and racial groups. Baya the most dominant ethnic group makes up about 33% of the total population followed by Banda with 27%. The Mandjias (an ethnic group) make up about 13% of the total population followed by the Saras with 10%. Other ethnic groups include the Mboum (7% of the total population), M'Baka (4% of the total population), Yakoma (4% of the total population), the rest (2% of the total population).
Although French remains the official language, there are several local and foreign languages spoken in Central Africa today (including Sangho [lingua franca] and national language). Central African Republic remains one of the very few countries in Africa today where traditional African belief system (or voodoo) reigns supreme. Traditional believers make about 35% of the total population. Although Catholics and Protestants together make about 50% of the total population, animistic beliefs and practices strongly influence the Christian majority. Muslims make up just about 15% of the total population.
Central African Republic just like its neighboring countries is blessed with abundance of natural resources such as diamond, uranium, timber, gold, oil, hydropower, etc.
However, despite the abundance of natural resources, Central African Republic remains one of the poorest countries in the world today and among the 10 poorest countries in Africa.
Central African Republic like so many poor countries in Africa today, faces so many challenges including extreme poverty and hunger, poor education ( high illiteracy rate especially among girls), the deadly HIV/AIDS, natural hazards such as floods and desertification.
Central African Republic has a literacy rate of 56.6% for the total population which implies about 56.6% of all Central Africans above the age 15 can at least read and write. Although this literacy rate isn't the worst in Africa, this literacy rate falls far below expectation in Africa today. The female literacy rate is even worse. Central African Republic has female literacy rate of just 44.2% which is one of the worst literacy rates in Africa today.
Central African Republic has lost its reputation as one of the last great wildlife refuges in the world due mainly to poaching and deforestation. Poaching, deforestation, overgrazing, etc. remain some of the major environmental issues facing Central African Republic today.
Central African Republic remains one of the HIV/AIDS killing zones in Africa with an HIV/AIDS Adult prevalence rate of 4.7%. More than 130000 were living with HIV/AIDS in 2012 with about 11,000 deaths recorded within the same year. In addition to HIV/AIDS, other deadly diseases such as Malaria (One of Malaria killing zones), bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, dengue fever, rabies, typhoid fever, schistosomiasis, etc. continue to tear the country into pieces.
Just like in most other African countries, most of the leaders and political figures in Central African Republic today are very corrupt and inexperienced. Corruption levels remains at all time high while poor governance continues to tear the beautiful country of Central African Republic into pieces.
Central African Republic remains one of the conflict prone zones in Africa with several clashes every now and then. Political conflicts especially between the Government of the Central African Republic and the Séléka (which means "Union" in the Sango language), a coalition of rebel groups, many of whom were previously involved in the Central African Republic Bush War. The rebels accused the government of President François Bozizé of failing to abide by peace agreements signed in 2007 and 2011. Most recently, Central African Republic has witnessed several religious clashes especially between Christians and Muslims in the country.