Years of bitter struggle between various
armed groups have throughout the independence
characterized the country's politics and hindered the
building of a functioning state. Outside the capital,
there is basically no legal system, no health care
system, no schools or wage jobs. Central Africans
themselves capture the situation in the phrase "the
state stops at PK12", which means that the state's
influence does not extend beyond 12 kilometers from the
center of Bangui.
It was hoped that the democratic elections held in
2016 would pave the way for a more peaceful development,
but new struggles have erupted and followed by new
attempts to broker peace. The latest peace agreement was
signed in February 2019, but already in March it began
to crack in the joints.
Country facts and history of Central African Republic, including state flag, location map, demographics, GDP data, currency code, and business statistics.
The conflicts over power over resources in the
Central African Republic, rich in both gold and
diamonds, timber and other natural resources, have been
ongoing since independence from France in 1960. The
country has gone through a large number of coups and
armed conflicts. Tensions in society are fueled by
widespread poverty. Many people choose to join a rebel
group because they see it as a job, a source of income.
Thus, it is easy to build a militia for the politician
who wants to take up arms to promote his interests.
The latest conflict erupted in late 2012 when a
Muslim-dominated rebel movement, Séléka, took over
power, resulting in a bloody conflict between the rebels
and mainly Christian-dominated militia, called anti-balaka
(see Modern History). Both sides abused civilians. From
2012 to 2015, at least 5,000 people lost their lives
during the conflict. Since then, new casualties have
been demanded and over a million people have been forced
to flee. The war has also had devastating effects on
agriculture and the economy in general. In 2018, over
half of the population depended on international relief.
Foreign troops are stabilizing
However, the worst wave of violence erupted, at least
in the capital Bangui and some other cities, after the
foreign peacekeeping forces began to intervene more
actively against flaming fighting. The insufficient
regional peace force, Misca, was converted in September
2014 to the UN force, Minusca and reinforced to 6,500
men with better equipment and education. In the spring
of 2015, Minusca comprised just under 10,000 people (in
January 2019 it had been increased to just over 15,000
people). The French force that was also deployed in 2014
consisted mostly of about 2,000 men.
The fact that the situation became somewhat calmer
was also due to a certain war fatigue among the armed
groups. They were more willing to enter into armistice
and some militiamen had accepted the offer of amnesty
and were allowed to enlist in the regular army.
In May 2015, a reconciliation meeting was held in
Bangui with representatives of the government, a number
of militias, religious groups and other organizations.
At the meeting, most of the militia groups agreed to lay
down their weapons, but parts of anti-balaka were not
included in the meeting. Similarly, several groups of
former Sélékarebeller were missing (Séléka was formally
dissolved in the fall of 2013 but many of the rebels
continued to fight in new groups).
Although the violence decreased, the situation was
far from stable. Formerly Sélékarebeller has at times
ruled the northern and eastern parts of the country
while the anti-Balaka who are still active have hedged
in the west.
The peace forces work together with the small
domestic police forces that are being rebuilt but unable
to maintain law and order throughout the country. In the
countryside, many militias have been turned into
robberies that push the population for money and
supplies or set up roadblocks and demand those who pass
Faustin Touadéra wins the presidential election
The outside world wanted to get rid of their costly
and risky involvement in the Central African Republic as
soon as possible. The UN had great difficulties in
raising money for Minusca and France withdrew most of
its troops in the fall of 2016, except for about 350 men
who would be part of the UN force.
The outside world pressed for the provisional
government in Bangui (see Political system) to be
replaced by general elections. The elections that
Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza announced until
October 2015 had to be postponed following a new
outbreak of violence in the capital.
In November, it was announced that a referendum on a
new constitution would be held on December 13, followed
by presidential and parliamentary elections at the end
of the same year.
The referendum was carried out as planned, but was
disturbed in several places by gunfire and other
violence. The presidential and parliamentary elections
on December 30, on the other hand, could be held in calm
conditions. Thirty candidates ran in the presidential
election, but neither President Catherine Samba-Panza
nor her representatives were allowed to participate.
On January 7, 2016, it became clear that there would
be a second round of elections between two former prime
ministers, Faustin Touadéra and Georges Dologuelé, to be
held on February 14. There, Faustin won Touadéra with
almost 63 percent of the vote. Before the final round,
he had managed to win support from the 22 candidates who
were eliminated in December.
The second round of the presidential election was
also followed by cheating charges against the winner.
Dologuelé claimed, among other things, that Faustin
Touadéra utilized his Freemason friends both
domestically and in France to undermine his candidacy.
On March 30, Touadéra took office as president. He
then promised to take steps to build peace in the
country, by disarming the fighting groups, building new
defense forces and investing in agricultural
Parliamentary elections were also held in two rounds,
on February 14 and March 31. In twelve constituencies,
however, it had to be redone. Sixty of the 140 members
were elected as independent, and none of the 17 parties
nominated received more than 16 seats.
The violence is escalating
That did not mean it was calm in the country.
Fighting broke out in the north in June 2016 and
thousands of people fled to Cameroon and Chad. In many
cases it was about contradictions between different
factions of the now divided Séléka movement. Reports
also came of growing crime in Bangui, with murders,
kidnappings and looting, fueled by the large
availability of weapons. The concern was also fueled by
the fact that there was a great dissatisfaction with the
fact that Touadéra had so much appointed ministers from
the former Bozizé governments.
Violence also continued during the first half of
2017. Both former Séléka rebels and anti-Balaka militias
targeted their attacks on the Fulani people whose
livestock was one of the few assets they could plunder.
As a backlash, the cattle herdsmen acquired ever heavier
weapons to defend themselves.
In the spring, however, the government, through the
mediation of the Catholic Church, succeeded in
concluding a peace agreement with 13 of the 14 militia
groups on June 19, where they promised to lay down their
weapons in exchange for political influence. The day
after the riots broke out in the northeast and it was
questioned what control the leaders actually have over
their forces. Thereafter, violence increased again.
Struggles broke out both between different militia
groups and between militia groups and the UN force. The
civilian population is still severely affected by the
violence and the most vulnerable are the Muslims.
Under the new regime, there was also a rapprochement
with Russia, which provided the new defense forces with
weapons (after special permission from the UN Sanctions
Committee) (see Foreign Policy and Defense). A Russian,
Valerij Zacharov, also served as security adviser to
President Touadéra. In the summer of 2018, the Central
African Republic and Russia signed a defense agreement,
but Russian interests have also been involved in other
sectors of the country. In 2018, between 250 and 1,000
Russians were estimated to work in the country. In this
light, French promises of new support for the country of
€ 24 million should also be seen, as France does not
want to lose its traditionally strong influence in the
Yet another peace treaty
A new peace agreement was signed in early February
2019 after 18 months of negotiations. Under the
agreement, a national unity government would be formed
with representatives of all the country's political and
social movements and with a prime minister from the
rebel side. Army brigades would also be created to
include both government soldiers and rebels, who were
tasked with disarming rebels and helping them to
reintegrate into society. A special transitional justice
body would also be established (see Calendar).
But already in early March, after a new government
was appointed, the peace agreement began to crack, much
because of the militia groups' dissatisfaction with how
it had been designed. The rebels had expected, among
other things, that the new prime minister should be
taken from their ranks, now it became instead Firmin
Ngrébada, who has close ties to President Touadéra. In
addition, five militia groups were without ministerial
posts, while others were not satisfied with the
responsibilities they were given.
Follow the ongoing development of the Calendar.
FACTS - POLITICS
Republic Centrafricaine/Central African Republic
republic, unitary state
Head of State
President Faustin-Archange Touadéra (2016–)
Head of government
Prime Minister Firmin Ngrébada (2019–)
Most important parties with mandates in the
National Union for Democracy and Progress (UNDP) 16,
Central African Union for Renewal (URCA) 11, Central
African People's Liberation Movement (MLPC) 10, Central
African Democratic Assembly (RDC) 8, National Assembly
Movement Kwa Na Kwa 7, Independent 60, Others 28 (2016)
Main parties with mandates in the second most
National Assembly Movement 61, Central African
Democratic Assembly (RDC) 1, Independent 26, Others 17
59% in the second round of the 2016 presidential
it is unclear when the next election will be held.
New constitution is adopted
A new constitution is approved in a referendum.