Me and the Petits Ambassadeurs, Bangui, July 1998

Acknowledgements - Remerciements
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Official name
République Centrafricaine (French) - Koddorosêse tî Bê-Afrîka (Sango) - Central African Republic (English)
Short name
Centrafrique (French) - Bê-Afrîka (Sango) - Central Africa (English)
Area
622 984 Sq Km or 240 536 Sq Mi
Boundaries
Landlocked country. North to Chad, East to The Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan, West to Cameroon, South to Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) and Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa).
Population
3 895 139 (according to latest official census Recensement Général de la Population et de l'Habitation, RGPH 2003)
State Capital
Bangui - Pop. 622 771 (according to the latest official census RGPH 2003)
Ethnic groups
Gbaya, Manza, Banda, Mbum, Pana, Kare, Ngbaka-Manza, Zande-Nzakara, Ngbandi, Ngbaka, Gbanziri, Yakoma, Mpiemu, Isongo, Sara, Laka, Kaba, Runga, Gula, etc.
Indigenous and tribal peoples: Aka Pygmies (full Central African Republic citizenship 1990) and Mbororo (Fulani).
Official languages
The nation's official languages are French and Sango. Although Central Africans speak different languages according to their ethnic group most of them speak Sango (87.5%), but only a few speak French (13%). Other local languages include Gbaya (22%), Banda (20%), Arabic-Peul (8%), Mbum (7%), Manza (7%), Zande-Nzakara (4%), Sara (4%), Ngbandi (3%) and Ngbaka (2%) (according to the latest official census RGPH 2003).
Currency
Franc CFA
Intl./Ntl.
phone calls
+236 (21) Bangui code, plus former subscriber's 6-figured number (as of 1 November 2007)
+236 (22) country code
, plus former subscriber's 6-figured number (as of 1 November 2007)
mobile & additional information at Agence chargée de la Régulation des Telecommunications, ART
State origin

Independence from France on 13 August 1960.
Central African Republic
proclaimed on 1st December 1958 as an autonomous republic inside a large federation, the Communauté. Previously known as Ubangi-Shari (Oubangui-Chari, in French) created on 29 December 1903.

Constitution
Constitution of 30 March 2016 (approved by Central African People in referendum on 13-14 December 2015).
Government type
Presidential Republic
Executive Power
Head of State, Faustin Archange Touadéra (sworn-in on 30 March 2016), styled Président de la République.
Head of Government, Mathieu Simplice Sarandji (sworn-in on 6 April 2016), styled Premier Ministre, Chef du Gouvernement de Transition.
Legislative Power
The national parliament of the Central African Republic consists of two houses known as:
- Assemblée Nationale (AN
, National Assembly), Chairman Abdou Karim Meckassoua
(sworn-in on 6 May 2016), styled Président de l'Assemblée Nationale.
- Sénat (Senate, election pending, before an election to the Senate can be organized a regional councils election must be held), styled Président du Sénat.
Judiciary
The Conseil Supérieur de la Magistrature is the ruling body for the Central African Republic Judiciary.
Chairman of Conseil Supérieur de la Magistrature, Faustin Archange-Touadéra (since 30 March 2016).
Vice-Chairman, Flavien Mbata, Minister of Justice (appointed on 11 April 2016).
Administrative divisions
1st level - 7 Regions with permanent assemblies (a regional councils election has still not been held); the regions are subdivided into:
2nd level - 16 Prefectures and 1 Autonomous municipality (Bangui) called commune autonome with non-permanent assemblies; the Prefectures and the Autonomous municipality of Bangui are subdivided into:
3rd level - 72 Subprefectures and 8 neighborhoods called arrondissements with non permanent assemblies; the Subprefectures and neighborhoods are subdivided into:
4th level -
Municipalities called communes in the countryside and city councils called mairies (1 per each neighborhood) in Bangui. Based on their budgetary capacity and depending on wether the Mayor is elected or appointed the Central African law categorizes municipalities into four groups:
- communes rurales,
-
communes d'élevage (they incorporate the election of a majority of council members from transhumant pastoralist farmers),
- communes de moyen exercice,
- and communes de plein exercice.
Flag
Designed by Barthélemy Boganda (1910-1959) and adopted on 1st December 1958 the flag is made up of four equal horizontal stripes of blue cobalt, white, dark viridian green and yellow with a vertical red stripe through the center and a five-pointed gold star on the upper hoist side of the flag. (See also my article on the Central African Republic Flag--pdf)
Coat of Arms
Originally adopted on 17 May 1963 the coat of arms consists of a shield in the center flanked with two flags on its edges pending on two spears with a rising sun on top of the shield. Inside the rising sun the date of the proclamation of the Republic –1er Décembre 1958—is shown. Below and above the shield there are two banners. The upper banner bears the national motto and the lower banner bears a second motto, both by Boganda. The national motto “Zo Kwe Zo” means “tout homme est un homme, tout homme en vaut un autre, tous les hommes sont égaux” . And the other states “Unité – Dignité – Travail”. In the bottom of the arms there is a medal between the shield and the lower banner, the medal is the Cross of the Order of the Central African Merit which is the most reputed and the original national decoration created in 1959. The shield is divided into four equal fields. The upper left field in sinople bears an elephant head in silver reminding that the country held one of the largest herds of elephants in the whole Africa and that it was an important source of income for the national economy in a time when no ban was imposed on hunting. The upper right field in silver shows a tree in sinople. The lower left field in gold bears three four-pointed black stars pierced in its core by a silver botton. And the lower right field in blue shows a black hand pointing to a five-pointed star, this was a symbol of MESAN party since the Boganda years and was an official emblem of the party by the time the coat of arms was adopted . In the core of the shield there is a smaller shield in red that bears the map of Africa in black on a silver disk and, over the map, a gold five-pointed star shows the location of the Central African Republic in the continent. (See also my article on the Central African Republic Flag--pdf)
National Anthem

Officially adopted on 20 June 1960, the national anthem is called La Renaissance in French (The Rebirth in English) or E Zîngo in Sango (see official languages above), music by Herbert Pepper (1912-2001) and words by Barthélemy Boganda (French version) and Michel Adama-Tamboux (b. 1928, Sango version) in 1958.

E Zîngo
La Renaissance                                                                                      La Renaissance--The Rebirth--

Bêafrîka, dambeso tî âBantu
Ô Centrafrique, ô berceau des Bantou                                 Oh! Central Africa, cradle of the Bantu

Kîri mo gbü gîgî tî mo-mvenî
Reprends ton droit au respect à la vie                                  Take up again your right to respect, to life!

Mo bâa pâsi na gbe tî âzo kwê
Longtemps soumis, longtemps brimé par tous            Long subjugated, long scorned by all,

Me fadësô mo ke na kurru gô
Mais dès ce jour brisant la tyranie                                          But, from today, breaking tyranny's hold.

Mo sö benda mo bûngbi kwê ôko
Dans le travail l'ordre et la dignité                                         Through work, order and dignity

Na kusâra ngâ na nahngo-terê
Tu reconquiers ton droit ton unité                                       You reconquer your rights, your unity

Ti tö ndâ tî finî dutï tî ë sô
Et pour franchir cette étape nouvelle                                  And to take this new step

E mä gbegô tî âkötarä ti ë
De nos ancêtres la voix nous appelle                                    The voice of our ancestors call us.

E gbû kua nzönî na nehngo-terê
Au travail dans l'ordre et la dignité                                        To work! In order and dignity,

E kpë ndya nzönî nâ mahnngo-terê
Dans le respect du droit, dans l'unité                                    in the respect for rights and in unity,

E kinda wasyobê, ë tomba pâsi
Brisant la misère et la tyranie                                                    Breaking poverty and tyranny,

E yâa bandêra tî Koddoro tî ë
Brandissant l'étendard de la Patrie
                                       Holding high the flag of the Fatherland.

Contact me at: juanfandos (at) ono . com  (UPDATED: 3 September 2016)
Juan Fandos-Rius © 6 August 2006