Central African Republic - (Africa)

Information about Central African Republic

622984 square kilometres
indigenous beliefs 57%, Christian 35%, Muslim 8%
Christian (%)
Protestant (%)
Reformed (%)

The Central African Republic was first known as the “Ubangi-Shari” (from the name of the two major rivers in the area). It was part of the former French Equatorial Africa until its independence in 1960. The country is predominantly agricultural, with more than 70% of the population living in outlying areas. Its main export earnings come from the export of lumber (13%) and of diamonds (80%). Between 1966 and 1979 the country was ruled by Jean Bedel Bokassa, who had served in the French army as captain and proclaimed himself field marshall and then Emperor. His demise was followed by several coups d’etat. In 1994 Ange Félix Patassé became the first democratically elected head of state.
RCath work in the area started first in the late 1880s, entering by way of Gabon and Congo-Brazzaville and spreading to the north and the east during the following decades. Prot were to follow with the Baptist Mid Mission, which arrived in 1912 in the eastern part of the area. Their emphasis was on evangelism, church planting, leadership training, and Bible translation. The Church of the Brethren came in 1919 and worked among the Karre tribe in the western part of the Ubangi-Shari. By 1940 they had 13 centers including Bangui, the capital. Their emphasis was on religious education, Christian literature, and medical care. The Swedish Baptist Mission started work in the southwestern part of the country. The Africa Inland Mission began its work in 1924 among the Zande tribe. The Swiss Pentecostal Mission started in 1927. Since the 1960s several other mission societies have arrived into the country. In 1977 the Bangui Evangelical School of Theology was opened as an initiative of the Association of Evangelicals of Africa and Madagascar (AEAM). Today it has some 60 students.
Although half of the population are Christians, animistic beliefs and practices continue to influence the people strongly.


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