The former French colony of Ubangi-Shari became the Central African Republic upon independence in 1960. Located in the South East, CAR has since independence had a history of coups and civil unrest. After three tumultuous decades of misrule – mostly by military governments – civilian rule was established in 1993 but lasted only a decade. In March, 2003 President Ange-Felix PATASSE was deposed in a military coup led by General Francois BOZIZE, who established a transitional government. Elections held in 2005 affirmed General BOZIZE as president; he was reelected in 2011 in voting widely viewed as flawed.
The militant group, Lord’s Resistance Army, continues to destabilize southeastern Central African Republic, and several rebel groups joined together in early December 2012 to launch a series of attacks that left them in control of numerous towns in the northern and central parts of the country. The rebels – unhappy with BOZIZE’s government – participated in peace talks in early January 2013 which resulted in a coalition government including the rebellion’s leadership. In March 2013, the coalition government dissolved, rebels seized the capital, and President BOZIZE fled the country. Rebel leader Michel DJOTODIA assumed the presidency and the following month established a National Transitional Council (CNT). In January 2014, the CNT elected Catherine SAMBA-PANZA as interim president; legislative and presidential elections are scheduled to begin on 27 December 2015 and the transitional mandate is scheduled to expire in March 2016.
|Currency||Central African CFA franc|
|GDP (2013)||1.538 billion|
|Religion||Indigenous beliefs 35%, Protestant 25%, Roman Catholic 25%, Muslim 15%|
|Language||French (official), Sangho|
|Democracy Ranking (2015 World)||120|
 World Democracy Audit. 2016. Democracy table 2016. Available at: http://www.worldaudit.org/democracy.htm. (Accessed: 11 February 2015).