By Fidel Amakye Owusu

1. As its name suggests Central African Republic lies directly in the heart of Africa.

2. Landlocked and rich in natural resources, the country is located in the transition zone between the Sahel North and the tropical rainforest of the Congo Basin.

3. Geopolitically, it links North Africa to Central Africa and West Africa to the Horn and East Africa. Religiously too, the country has Christianity and Islam “meeting”. While strategic locations have helped many states develop, the case of Central Africa has been unfortunate.

4. Why?

5. For many reasons and its location, CAR has attracted many of the wrong happenings and vices in the continent.

6. Firstly, the country is a major transit point of illicit arms and drugs moving from the East to West Africa and vice versa. Arms coming through the Horn of Africa coasts find their way to the country before entering the middle of the Lake Chad Basin onward to West Africa. Illicit drugs are also trafficked through the corridor.

7. Also, the zero sum and strongman politics in Africa has been exhibited in a more costly manner in the CAR. The situation has resulted in a deadly civil war that is still haunting the stability of the country.

8. Linked to this is widespread abject poverty in the country. Majority of the population live below the poverty line as regular jobs for the youthful population are scarce. This further fuels conflicts and make them more protracted.

9. Furthermore, the undue exploitation of resources by foreign interests—as often bemoaned in Africa—has been seen happening in dangerous ways in the CAR. Today, Chinese miners and Wagner are exploiting resources in the country. In recent times, the two interests have been suspected to be undermining and sabotaging each other.

10. While the use of Wagner PMC seems to be gaining momentum in the continent, many countries have misgivings about its activities. Today, Central African Republic seems to be a strategic point from where Wagner manages its operations in the continent. The location of the country makes this convenient.

11. More seriously, the country borders Sudan on its north-east. With the current mayhem in Sudan, the country has started feeling the consequences. Itself not stable, having an unstable neighbour that is bigger and more populated makes CAR more vulnerable.

12. With Chad, South Sudan and the DRC as immediate neighbours, it behoves the politicians and people of CAR to show determination towards stability. If there is going to be any hope for the people, it must come from within.

13. Many more…

By Fidel Amakye Owusu – International Relations and Security Analyst and Writer

Article Reproduced with Permission from Fidel Amakye Owusu

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