| · Note: animistic beliefs and practices strongly influence the “Christian” majority
Poverty in CAR
The former French colony of Ubangi-Shari became the Central African Republic upon independence in 1960. After three tumultuous decades of misrule – mostly by military governments – a civilian government was installed in 1993. As indicated by its name, the Central African Republic (CAR) is a country situated in the geographical center of Africa. It has a varied climate and beautiful physical features, from the tropical rain forest in the south to the sub Sahara Sahalian region in the north.
Though the CAR has numerous natural resources including diamonds, gold, uranium and wood, it still remains one of the poorest nations in the world. It suffers from being landlocked and fairly isolated in Central Africa. This has led to a significant dependency on the neighbouring countries and a relatively high cost of living. Political problems and mismanagement have led to significant strikes and political tension in recent years.
Islam Investment in CAR
Current economic difficulties are proving to be a source of growth for Islam in the CAR. Already a significant number of businesses are owned by immigrant Muslim Lebanese, Arabs, Haussas, Senegalese, Malians and Chadians. Several Arab countries are openly multiplying their gifts and investments in the CAR with the goal of encouraging the proclamation of Islam. Even some very remote regions are being touched by the growing Islamic influence. Several mosques have been built in recent years and others are planned. Many students have received instruction and training in the Islamic universities in Sudan and Saudi Arabia. Islamic schools have been built in the CAR including a technical and scientific high school which has just recently been completed.
The Rungas, a Muslim tribe that lives in Northern Central Africa and that also flows into Chad (pop: 37,000) are practically unreached and are very isolated from Christians. The CAR also has an immigrant Arab population that remains largely untouched by the gospel. That is to only name a few. Despite the advances which Islam has made in the CAR in recent years God has also been at work. Recently an influential Muslim Fulani, who had even made two pilgrimages to Mecca, turned to Christ and has maintained his Christian testimony against significant pressures. It is significant to note that his conversion happened during the month of Ramadan.
Prayer Guide for CAR:
* Thank God for the relative peace which is enduring in the country despite various social and economic tensions. Pray that this would continue.
* Pray that Christians would have prosperity in business while remaining faithful to the Lord. Many people are attracted to Islam through the relative prosperity of the Muslims (Proverbs 13:7).
* Pray for training programs to be established so that Christians would know how to proclaim the Gospel to Muslims (Romans 10:15).
Listen to the Podcast – DAY 21 – CAR
Background on the Central African Republic (CAR) (World Factbook)
The former French colony of Ubangi-Shari became the Central African Republic upon independence in 1960. After three tumultuous decades of misrule – mostly by military governments – civilian rule was established in 1993 and lasted for one decade. President Ange-Felix PATASSE’s civilian government was plagued by unrest, and in March 2003 he was deposed in a military coup led by General Francois BOZIZE, who established a transitional government. Though the government has the tacit support of civil society groups and the main parties, a wide field of candidates contested the municipal, legislative, and presidential elections held in March and May of 2005 in which General BOZIZE was affirmed as president and reelected in 2011. The government still does not fully control the countryside, where pockets of lawlessness persist.
The Economy of Central African Republic
Subsistence agriculture, together with forestry, remains the backbone of the economy of the Central African Republic (CAR), with more than 70% of the population living in outlying areas. The agricultural sector generates half of GDP. Timber has accounted for about 16% of export earnings and the diamond industry, for 40%. Important constraints to economic development include the CAR’s landlocked position, a poor transportation system, a largely unskilled work force, and a legacy of misdirected macroeconomic policies. Factional fighting between the government and its opponents remains a drag on economic revitalization. Distribution of income is extraordinarily unequal. Grants from France and the international community can only partially meet humanitarian needs.
Statistics on Central African Republic
Population: 5,057,208 (July 2012 est.) — see note below — World Rank: 117
Life Expectancy at Birth: 50.48 years. World Rank: 217
Ethnic groups: Baya 33%, Banda 27%, Mandjia 13%, Sara 10%, Mboum 7%, M’Baka 4%, Yakoma 4%, other 2%
Religions: indigenous beliefs 35%, Protestant 25%, Roman Catholic 25%, Muslim 15%
note: animistic beliefs and practices strongly influence the Christian majority
Languages: French (official), Sangho (lingua franca and national language), tribal languages
Literacy: 56%; male: 69.3%, female: 43.2%
School Life Expectancy: 7 years
Population notes: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected.
Video: Central African Republic Radio Planting
Trip to Central African Republic to establish a new Christian radio station