If the name did not already give it away, the Central African Republic is a landlocked nation located at the center of the African continent.
The country, roughly the size of Texas, is among the few countries globally with a long history of human settlement. The country had inhabitants as far back as 8,000 years ago.
Despite years of settlement, societal relationships in the country have always been quite different from those of other African communities.
Divisions between distinct groups were fluid even before the arrival of colonial powers. Many thought of themselves as members of a clan rather than of a larger ethnic group. This blur in ethnic divisions crashed efforts by colonial officials and ethnographers to divide Central Africans into definite ethnic groups.
This explains why French and Sango are the country’s official languages. Sango is a lingua franca spoken by nine-tenths of the population. The language was originally native to CAR people from the Ubangi River region. However, Christian missionaries adopted, simplified, and disseminated it to their converts across the country.
The CAR is so much more than its colonial history.
Fun Facts about the Central African Republic
The Central African Republic is very rich in flora and fauna. Several endemic species call this country home. These include the Skink (a snake-like reptile), the Oubangui Mouse, the Sternfield River Frog, and the Sangha Forest Robin.
Only a few countries left in the world are not affected by light pollution. The CAR is one of them. The country is the least affected by this type of pollution globally. Three out of four people in the country enjoy pristine night sky conditions. So pristine that they can see the Milky Way clearly at night.
CAR citizens have three types of greetings. Shaking hands is considered formal and reserved for formal functions and greeting strangers.
Friends greet each other with three kisses on the cheeks – one on the right cheek and two on the left or vice versa. If there is a group of people, then instead of shaking everyone’s hand, you will raise both hands and greet the group verbally.
Hot Careers in the Central African Republic
Agriculture contributes to half of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The country has the potential to be an economic powerhouse. This is courtesy of its wealth of mineral resources and large tracts of arable land. Sadly, these resources are largely unexploited, making the Central African Republic among the world’s top-10 poorest countries.
This might change soon, thanks to creative minds in the agribusiness sector.
African tribes have been brewing numerous forms of sorghum beer longer than is recorded in history books.
Have you heard of African opaque beers? They are named so because of the beers’ cloudiness.
These traditional alcoholic beers are often brewed at home. (Traditionally, women are the brewers while men are the consumers.)
Opaque beers are no longer a preserve of home brewing. Neither is the brewing done by women only as it was in days past. Commercial brewing of traditional beers is made possible by the abundance of sorghum and millet in the country. Brewers in the country are introducing process improvement to the brewing process and creating jobs in the process.
The timber industry accounts for 13% of the country’s foreign export earnings and 11% of its GDP. The CAR owns a substantial forest resource base in the south of the country with a generous budding stock of high-value hardwood timber.
Private entrepreneurs reap the most from this sector. They form the bulk of entities involved in the commercial harvesting of timber. This career is very lucrative because of its most priced incentive: the management permit.
These permits are valid for the lifetime of the company.
As of 2005, 10 timber companies operated in an area of 3.3 million hectares in the southwest of the country.
The timber sector benefits the entrepreneurs, the government, and the local communities. Forest law dictates that a large portion of revenue from taxing timber harvesting be redistributed to local communities.
The diamond sector is the country’s biggest revenue generator. Central African Republic diamonds are renowned globally for their high quality. 80% of the diamonds mined in the country are estimated to be gem quality.
The sector is inundated by high informality. Only 2% of the country’s artisanal miners are registered. Mining continues to be the country’s hottest career because it directly and indirectly employs 70% of the population.
Mass formalization within the sector has continually shown transformative potential. As of 2019, the government had launched the restructuring of the country’s alluvial diamond mining sector.
Source: Mining Review Africa