Central African Republic

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The flag of the Central African Republic and the coat of arms are featured above.

This landlocked region has been inhabited for thousands of years. Its present boundaries, however, were established by France in the colonial era. As of this writing in 2019, the region has been in civil war since 2012.

European Colonial Era …

The European colonization was neither consistent nor steady, but rather lurched about between languages and philosophies and requirements.

Ubangi-Shari was the name given to this region in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Ubangi and the Shari are two major rivers running through the land along which early colonies were founded. Europeans arrived in this inland region during the Scramble for Africa.1 Germans and Belgians competed for territory in the same region. A 1911 treaty between France and Germany seceded a portion to Germany while Germany seceded a portion of Chad to France. Following WW1, France gained control again. France then modeled policies after those of King Leopold which would cause havoc in Rwanda years later.

The Kongo-wara rebellion, the war of the hoe handle, broke out in 1928 and continued for several years. t was a local rebellion against the French administration and their heavy handed methods, The rebellion was concealed by the authroities from the French populace as it was contrary to the narrative of the happy colnials under French administration.

In September 1940, the region was taken over by free French. Folllowing WW2, in 1946, the first representative in French government for the Central African Republic was elected, Barthélemy Boganda. He became disillusioned with French politics and returned to the Central African Republic and founded MESAN, Movement for the Social Evolution of Black Africa, which became the dominant political party in the early years of independence.

Era since Independence …

Independence from France was gained in 1960.

Autocratic rulers have dominated politics from independence into the 21st century.

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closeup detail of Central African CFA 2000 Franc Banknote front, featuring portrait of a woman

Central African CFA 2000 Franc

Central African CFA 2000 Franc Banknote – Face and Back
 CFA 2000 Franc Banknote Gabon 2000 back (2)
Currency of Gabon, back

The entire italicized text below is taken from Wikipedia (see reference below) and included in this website for reference.

The Central Africa CFA franc (XAF) is known in French as the Franc CFA, where CFA stands for Coopération financière en Afrique centrale (“Financial Cooperation in Central Africa”). It is issued by the BEAC (Banque des États de l’Afrique Centrale, i.e., “Bank of the Central African States”), located in Yaoundé, Cameroon, for the six countries of the CEMAC (Communauté Économique et Monétaire de l’Afrique Centrale, i.e., “Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa”):
Central African Republic
Equatorial Guinea
These six countries have a combined population of 45.0 million people (as of 2013), and a combined GDP of US$88.2 billion (as of 2012). In 1975, Central African CFA banknotes were issued with an obverse unique to each participating country, and common reverse, in a fashion similar to euro coins.
Equatorial Guinea, the only former Spanish colony in the zone, adopted the CFA in 1984.” 1

The banknotes are published with the same images for all participating countries.  The country of origination, however, is identifiable by a country code on each banknote.  Tracking these codes is more difficult than for the Western Africa CFA francs, because the country codes may change.  The list below has been compiled from data in the Wikipedia article on the Central African CFA franc. 2

Central African CFA 2000 Franc Banknote Gabon 2000 front
Banknote of Gabon, front. Note the letter “L” in the bottom left corner. This is the country code identifying Gabon as the country of origin for this Central African CFA franc banknote.

The first two digits of the serial number identify the year of issuance.  So, for example, the serial number on our banknote from Gabon, above, is 0015384617.  The first two digits are 00.  This indicates that the year of issuance is the year 2000.  Had the year of issuance been 1997, the first two digits would be 97.

For the banknotes issued from 1993 until 2001, the country codes for the 6 participating nations were as follows:
C – Congo
E – Cameroon
F – Central African Republic
L – Gabon
N – Equitorial Guinea
P – Chad

For the banknotes issued in 2002, the country codes for the 6 participating nations were as follows:
T – Congo
U – Cameroon
M – Central African Republic
A – Gabon
F – Equitorial Guinea
C – Chad

Republic of Central Africa 500 Franc banknote back featuring man with masks

Central African Republic – 500 Francs – Year 1987

Central African Republic – 5/100 Francs Banknote – Year 1987 – Face and Back
Republic of central africa 500 Francs banknote front featuring wood carvings statue and vase
Central African Republic

Our banknote features wood carvings and a wood carver.

Republic of central africa 500 francs banknote back featuring wood carver
Central African Republic

The Republic of Central Africa.

The territory is beautiful.  Modern exploratory research indicates it is rich in natural resources below the ground in addition to its large swaths or arable land.

Its history is ancient with evidence of inhabitants dating back 10 millenia at least.

The landlocked country was ultimately penetrated by the Atlantic slave trade as was so much of West Central Africa.

France colonized the region about 150 years ago and the boundaries by which it is now known then began to take shape.

Independence was gained from France in 1960 and its present boundaries set.

The Central African Republic is among the very poorest of our world. The following measures were taken in the last half of the 2nd decade of the 21st century by various international agencies.  The Central African Republic rates:

  1. the lowest GDP per capita at purchasing power parity in the world as of 2017.
  2. the country had the lowest level of human development, ranking 188th out of 188 countries.
  3. It is also estimated to be the unhealthiest country
  4. It is the worst country in which to be young.

What shall we do?  Today?