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The Central African Republic is a landlocked nation with a land area of approximately 622,980 square kilometers, and a population of more than 4.7 million people. It is situated in Central Africa, and is bordered by Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, South Sudan and Chad.
The country gained independence from France on 13 August 1960, and went on to be ruled by several autocratic leaders until the 1990s. Sadly, the Central African Republic is plagued by wars. The Bush War started in 2004 and in spite of the 2007 and 2011 peace treaties, the civil war started again in 2012.
After performing extensive research, I was able to find the following pros and cons of living in the Central African Republic. If you’re thinking of moving to this country, read on to find out whether the landlocked country is a worthwhile choice.
Pros of Living in the Central African Republic
1. Abundance of Minerals
The Central African Republic has a wealth of mineral resources, such as diamonds, quartz, gold, uranium, copper, tin, graphite, iron ore, limestone and salt. However, the country primarily focuses on the production and exchange of gold and diamonds only, which is overlooked by BECDOR (Bureau d’Evaluation et de Côntrole de Diamant et d’Or). Other mineral entities have not been exploited as much, because of high start-up costs, poor transportation, and conflicts between foreign companies and the government.
Some countries that have explored for gold and/or diamonds in the Central African Republic include Canada, the United Kingdom, South Africa and the United States.
2. High Agricultural Potential
Agricultural output in the Central African Republic mainly consists of subsistence crops. Around 3.2% of the country’s total land area is arable while 4.8% is under permanent pasture. Agriculture, which includes fisheries and forestry, is the country’s economic backbone. Most of the citizens are engaged in the cultivation and sale of yams, cassava, millet, plantains, maize, sesame, and other food crops. Cotton and coffee are the primary cash crops.
3. Significant International Financial Aid
The Central African Republic heavily relies upon multilateral foreign support and the existence of many non-governmental organizations, which offer numerous services. The presence of foreign peacekeepers, international organizations and refugee camps offers an essential revenue source for numerous Central Africans. Some humanitarian organizations that work in the Central African Republic are ACORD, CAFOD, CAAT, Caritas, Catholic Relief Services, Conciliation Resources, and Danish Refugee Council.
4. Tropical, Hot Weather
The Central African Republic’s location to the south of the Sahara Desert and north of the Equator gives it a hot climate all year round. The rainy season occurs from July to September and May to October, but it has been known to bring floods. December to February is the season for hot, dry weather.
Cons of Living in the Central African Republic
1. Extreme Poverty
While the Central African Republic is rich in gleaming diamonds, it faces the problem of crippling poverty. It is one of the poorest nations on the African continent, and thousands of its children are orphaned because of civil wars and AIDS. Since it gained its independence from colonial rule in 1960, the Central African Republic has been unable to attain substantial economic growth and extensively depends on foreign aid.
Economic progress is hindered by corruption, brutal regimes, rebellions and macroeconomic decisions. While the nation is termed as a democratic country, press freedom is limited. In addition, a significant portion of the population is illiterate, and many don’t have access to food, good housing or sanitation.
2. Poor Infrastructure
The Central African Republic has a poor infrastructural network, especially transport and energy, which negatively affects its production capacities, trade, social conditions and welfare. Electricity is only available to a small portion of the population, primarily in the capital of Bangui. The rural areas do not have access to electricity. Additionally, telecommunication, banking and other important services are lacking beyond the capital city.
3. Geographical Isolation
Similar to other landlocked nations on the continent, the country faces a difficult time exporting, which causes it to trade less, and develop at a slower rate than coastal countries. Other challenges include delays at the border, cartels in the transport sector, numerous clearance procedures, and bribe-taking, which contribute to high transport costs.
4. Political and Security Instability
Violence is one of the primary obstructions to economic growth in the Central African Republic. The country has been tormented by political strife, civil tension, and major violent outbreaks since it attained its independence from France. Fighting has continued to occur since the election of President Faustin-Archange Touadéra in 2016, and armed groups consistently work against the government. Moreover, warlords contend for control of the natural resources in the country, and continue to receive support from clandestine transnational trade networks.
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