Thus, the Central African Republic (CAR), with a per capita GDP of 639,9 dollars per year, turned out to be the poorest state in the world. And this position of this country is easily explained. Despite the richest natural resources, the CAR is one of the least developed countries on the African continent. The landlocked republic lives in poverty, and besides, its coups have been shaken by decades of military coups and armed conflicts between rival ethnopolitical groups. As lives in recent years, the poorest country in the world, we will tell in this article.
The Central African Republic got its name not by chance, since the truth is located in the center of the African continent. The land of the CARs is rich in natural resources - there are deposits of diamonds, uranium, gold, and oil. The most important wealth of the republic is forest, and water resources are significant. But despite this, economically, the CAR remains an extremely weak and poor state, although its independent existence has been going on for more than half a century. Until the end of the 19th century, there was virtually no statehood on the territory of the Central African Republic — the tribes of farmers, hunters, and gatherers, including all known pygmies, lived here. Periodically, the lands of the local tribes were attacked by detachments of the neighboring Sudanese sultanates of Darfur and Wadai, which captured ivory and slaves - a very valuable commodity, then shipped to Sudan and further to Egypt and the Middle East. From the middle of 1880's French and Belgian colonialists penetrate the territory of the modern CAR.
In 1889, a French expedition founded the fort of Bangui, which became a key center for further asserting the power of the French colonialists. In 1894, the area around Fort Bangui was named Ubangi-Shari. However, Egypt also claimed it for some time, as it owned Sudan and considered Ubangi-Shari as its patrimony. It was only in 1903 that the French troops managed to defeat the Egyptian detachments, after which the French colonial territory of Ubangi-Shari, which became part of French Equatorial Africa, was officially proclaimed. More than half a century, Ubangi-Shari existed as a French colony, and, among other colonial possessions of Paris on the African continent, deprived of access to the sea and covered with forests, the colony of Ubangi-Shari occupied a peripheral position. Nobody really wanted to deal with its economic and cultural development. But, in the context of a change in the world political situation, at the end of the 1950s. France finally decided to get rid of most of the colonial possessions, especially African. 1 December 1958, the colony of Ubangi-Shari was named "Central African Republic", and on August 13 1960 was proclaimed the independence of the Central African Republic.
However, the proclamation of independence practically did not affect the quality of life of the local population. Only the political elite of the Central African Republic won, in an instant transformed from colonial officials and junior officers of the colonial troops into independent "kings". The first president of the CAR became David Dako (1930-2003), a thirty-year-old former schoolteacher who worked in the transitional government and served there as minister of agriculture, forestry and livestock, then minister of administrative affairs, minister of internal affairs, trade and economics, and after the death of the head of government, Bartolome Boganda, who led the transitional government. David Daco managed to stay at the helm of the power of the CARs for only six years.
In 1966, a military coup took place in the country, led by Colonel Jean Bedel Bokassa (1921-1996), Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Central African Republic, who was cousin to David Daco. Prior to the declaration of independence of CAR, Bokassa, the son of the village warden of the M'Baca people, served in the French colonial forces. He managed to take part in the landing of troops of the anti-Hitler coalition in the south of France, in the battles on the Rhine. When World War II ended in victory for the Allies, Bokassa served as a senior sergeant. He graduated from an officer's school in Senegal and received epaulets lieutenant. Over the years 15, before 1961, he rose to the rank of captain in the French army, having managed to make war in Indochina. David Daco conferred the rank of major to his cousin and appointed him chief of staff. Then, two years later, Bokassa was promoted to colonel.
Perhaps it is Bokassa who is the most famous Central African politician. Rumors of cannibalism of this politician, who proclaimed himself emperor and renamed the country into the Central African empire, made Bokassa's name a common noun. By proclaiming himself emperor in 1978, Bokassa was literally buried in luxury. But the costs of the imperial court contrasted with the real standard of living in the country, which was extremely low. So, in 1977, in the CAR, there was a 1 doctor for 43,4 thousand inhabitants and a 1 dentist for the whole country. Bokassa’s awkwardness, and, most importantly, his flirtations with Libya and friendship with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, contributed to the growth of discontent with the policies of the CARs from yesterday’s metropolis France.
20 September 1979 in the camp was a bloodless coup d'état that brought David Daco back to power. However, two years later, in 1981, Dako was overthrown by the Chief of Staff of the Central African Army, Brigadier General Andre Kolingba (1935-2010), who ruled the country before 1993. In 1993, under pressure from the West, Kolingba held democratic elections in the country the president. Ange-Felix Patassé (1937-2011) was elected head of state. However, it was during the reign of the first democratically elected president that the relations between the southerners and northerners groups competing for political influence in the country sharply worsened in the CAR.
In 2003, the city of Patassa was overthrown as a result of a military coup. The new head of state was General Francois Bozize (born 1946), who was previously considered a close ally of Patass and headed the headquarters of the Central African Army. As a result of the military coup committed by General Bozize, a civil war began in the Central African Republic that continued from 2004 to 2007.
Government troops Bozize opposed the rebels of the Union of democratic forces for unity. This organization was headed by Michelle Jotodiya (born 1949), a rather remarkable figure for the CARs. First, Jothodiya is Muslim by religion, although in the CARs Muslims constitute a minority of the country's population. Secondly, for more than 10 years, Jotodiya lived in the Soviet Union. Here he studied at the accounting credit school and at the University of Peoples' Friendship. Patrice Lumumba, married a Soviet citizen, in marriage with whom he had a daughter. In 2007, the civil war in the CAR ended with a truce of the parties. But the rebels were not going to stop the struggle for control over the diamond deposits. 24 March 2013 President Bozize was overthrown in a coup. It was carried out by the rebel group "Séléka" (translated from the Sango language - "Coalition"), which is considered to be "Muslim" and headed by Michel Jotodiya. The latter proclaimed himself president of the CAR.
The actions of the rebels, among whom many were Muslims by religion, caused sharp discontent among representatives of other faiths of the Central African Republic - Christians and adherents of traditional cults. Opponents of Séléka and Michel Jotodia created the armed organization Antibalaka (translated from the Sango language as Anti-Sword), headed by Levi Yakete. The group proclaimed its aim to overthrow the power of the "Muslim" organization "Séléka". Thus, the conflict turned political into ethnoconfessional and split the country into two main opposing camps - Christians with adherents of traditional cults and beliefs, and Muslims supported by neighboring Muslim countries of the Sahel.
Of course, the opposition of Christians and Muslims in the CAR does not have such deep roots as in Nigeria or Chad, but the active penetration of Islam into Central Africa provoked a backlash as the growth of aggressive Islamophobia among the Christian and animistic population of the Central African Republic. Numerous cases of looting and destruction of Christian villages by soldiers of the Séléka group contributed to the radicalization of the Christian population of the Central African Republic. At the same time, the fighters of Sélékie committed numerous criminal offenses — rape of women, robbery and robbery, and murder of civilians. The desire to protect themselves from the attacks of the Séléka forced Christians and animists to create their own militia units. From them grew "Antibalaka".
Land disputes have become one of the main causes of tension between the Christian and Muslim populations in the CARs. It is known that the overwhelming majority of the Christian population of the republic, as well as adherents of traditional cults, live sedentary and engaged in agriculture. Among the Muslim minority of the CARs, cattle breeders are nomads. Between the two groups of the population agricultural disputes have long been outlined - pastoralists need land for pastures, but the peasants are going to cultivate this land and are not going to allow pastoralists to their fields. Before the ethno-confessional conflict developed into the CAR in the active phase in the spring of 2013, Muslims constituted 15% of the population of the republic. After the outbreak of hostilities, many Muslims became refugees, fleeing to the territory of neighboring states, primarily Chad and Cameroon. To this they were forced by the frequent incidents of reprisals against the peaceful population practicing Islam, by the militants of the Antibalaka organization.
The increase in violence in the CARs necessitated the armed intervention of the peacekeeping forces. 5 December 2013 The United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution authorizing the entry of units of the French army and African Union forces into the Central African Republic. In the CARs, 1200 French soldiers and officers were introduced, who were tasked with ensuring order and law in the capital, Bangui. But the introduction of foreign troops did not at all entail the normalization of relations between various ethno-confessional groups of the CARs. Moreover, the violence unfolded with a new force. The militants of the Séléka, trying to avoid direct confrontation with the peacekeepers of France or the countries of the African Union, began to wear civilian clothes and impersonate civilians. As a result of the civil war, up to 10% of the population of the Central African Republic was forced to flee their homes, becoming refugees. To achieve peace in the CARs, 6000 soldiers and officers of the armies of the African Union countries were introduced. However, the presence of peacekeepers is far from all aspects capable of positively influencing the actions of Central African military-political groups. The media wrote that units of the Chadian army that served as part of the UN peacekeeping forces in the CARs, in fact, provided armed support to the Séléka groups. At the end of December 2013, the anti-Balaka detachments attempted to attack the positions of the Chadian troops. In turn, "Antibalaka" cooperates with the government forces of the Central African Republic. The number of "Anti-Balak" in 2014 was estimated at about 60-70 of thousands of armed fighters.
Armed clashes between Christians and Muslims in the CARs continued throughout the 2014 year. During this time, the number of refugees who left their homes increased from 10% to 20% of the population. It became known even about the facts of cannibalism. In particular, someone Oundzha Magloir cut off the leg of a murdered Muslim and ate raw flesh. Magloir explained his actions by the fact that the Slyka militants killed his pregnant wife, his child and his relative. 10 May 2015, representatives of ten armed groups operating on the territory of the Central African Republic, signed an agreement on armistice and disarmament. In late November, Pope Francis visited 2015 in the CAR, who spoke before the Christians in the capital, Bangui, and met with the Muslim community in the city, calling on both sides of the conflict to reconcile and stop the violence. However, in reality, armed confrontation on religious grounds in the CAR continues. The situation is exacerbated by the presence of selfish economic interests among the opposing groups and the general catastrophic situation of the Central African economy.