The Central African Republic (CAR) is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It borders Chad in the north, Sudan in the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo in the south, and Cameroon in the west. Bangui is the capital city.
It is comparable in size to Ukraine or slightly smaller than the state of Texas.
Much of the country consists of flat, or rolling plateau savanna, about 500m above sea level. 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.
The Central African Republic (CAR) has been unstable since its independence from France in 1960 and is one of the least-developed countries in the world. It has endured several coups and a notorious period under a self-declared emperor, Jean-Bedel Bokassa, who headed a brutal regime.
Illegal weapons proliferate across the CAR, the legacy of years of unrest. Armed groups are active in the volatile north. The unrest has displaced tens of thousands of Central Africans; many of them have crossed the border into Chad.
The CAR possesses considerable agricultural, water and mineral resources. But corruption is rife, according to the IMF, and affects the timber and diamond industries.
The country is endowed with virgin rainforests and has some of the highest densities of lowland gorillas and forest elephants in Africa.