The Central African Republic (CAR), French: République Centrafricaine pronounced [ʀepyblik sɑ̃tʀafʀikɛn] or Centrafrique [sɑ̃tʀafʀik]) is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It borders Chad in the north, Sudan in the east, the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the south, and Cameroon in the west.
Most of the CAR consists of Sudano-Guinean savannas but it also includes a Sahelo-Sudanese zone in the north and an equatorial forest zone in the south. Two thirds of the country lies in the basins of the Ubangi River, which flows south into the Congo River, while the remaining third lies in the basin of the Chari River, which flows north into Lake Chad.
Since most of the territory is located in the Ubangi and Shari river basins, the French called the colony it carved out in this region Ubangi-Shari, or Oubangui-Chari in French. This French colony of Ubangi-Shari became a semi-autonomous territory of the French Community in 1958 and then an independent nation on 13 August 1960. For over three decades after independence, the CAR was ruled by presidents who were not chosen in truly democratic elections or who took power by force. Local discontent with this system was eventually reinforced by international pressure, following the end of the Cold War.
The first fair democratic elections were held in 1993 with resources provided by the country's donors and help from the UN Office for Electoral Affairs. They brought Ange-Félix Patassé to power, but President Patassé lost popular support and was overthrown by French-backed General François Bozizé in 2003. General Bozizé won a democratic election in May 2005.
Inability to pay workers in the public sector led to strikes in 2007, forcing the resignation of the government in early 2008. A new Prime Minister, Faustin-Archange Touadéra was named on January 22, 2008.
The Central African Republic is one of the poorest countries in the world and among the ten poorest countries in Africa.
In 2001 The Ecologist magazine estimated that Central African Republic is the world's leading country in sustainable development.