Spotlight on Central Africa

The region known as central Africa is made up of 11 countries. Those 11 countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, São Tomé and Príncipe, Angola, Chad, Congo, South Sudan, Rwanda, and Burundi.

Central Africa has many different geographic features. One of the region’s most defining features would be the Congo River basin. The Congo River runs between The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Republic of the Congo. The larger of the two countries, the DRC, has the Congo River basin in the west and becomes more mountainous in the east. According to the CIA Factbook, the agricultural land in central Africa covers about 42.3% of all land in the region.[1] The climate of this region is typically tropical, though the more northern countries in the region transition to a desert climate.[2] The region’s geography is dominated by the Congo River basin.

Central Africa was colonized by several European countries. Germany colonized Rwanda and Burundi, while Belgium colonized the DRC and took over Rwanda and Burundi after World War II. The French colonized Republic of the Congo, Chad, the Central African Republic, and Gabon. Spain colonized Equatorial Guinea, while Portugal had control of Angola.

The largest country geographically in Central Africa is the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The DRC’s neighboring countries are the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Angola, and the Republic of the Congo. The DRC sits directly in the middle of the continent. The terrain there is the central basin that is on a low plateau with mountains towards the east of the country.[3] The DRC climate is tropical by the Congo River basin, and in the southern highlands, it’s more of a cooler and drier climate. The eastern highlands tend to be more cooler and wetter.[4] The DRC has over 200 different ethnic groups, with the four biggest being Mongo, Luba, Kongo, and Mangbetu-Azande.[5] There is a huge amount diversity in ethnic groups but for the language, the official one is French, with some others being Lingala, Kingwana, Kikongo, and Tshiluba. The CIA World Factbook states that the DRC is a semi-presidential republic, which means there is a president and a prime minister that coexist.[6] Some of the staple foods from the DRC are moambe, which is a dish that includes chicken or fish with cassava leaves, hot pepper sauce, bananas, rice, peanuts, and palm nuts. Another Congolese dish is chikwanga, which is cassava that is cooked then stored in banana leaves.[7] These two dishes have a lot of tropical food ingredients like bananas or cassava.

The Central African Republic is located north of the DRC. The countries that surround the Central African Republic are Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, the DRC, the Republic of the Congo, and Cameroon. The Central African Republic was a French colony until it gained its independence in 1960, where it would be in political discord for the next 30 years with many military dictatorships. The first popular rule came in 1993,[8] but it did not last long. Another military coup occurred in 2003, so the country doesn’t have much control of its countryside, which is where rebel groups can be found.[9] The Central African Republic has a population of 5,625,118 with an ethnic group makeup of 33% Baya, 27% Banda, 13% Mandjia, 10% Sarah, 7% Mboum, 4% M’Baka, 4% Yakoma, and 2% other. The Central African Republic has a national language of French, while there are also many other languages spoken as well.[10] The Central African Republic has a climate of tropical with hot and dry winters, while the summer is hot and wet.[11] One of the typical dishes found in the Central African Republic is makara, which is a bread made from cassava flour.[12] Another typical dish is egusi, which is a blood-red sauce made from the seeds of a gourd, tomatoes, onion, and chili.[13]

Chad is the northernmost country in the central African region. It is north of the Central African Republic and is surrounded by Libya, Sudan, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Nigeria, and Niger. Chad was another one of the countries that France colonized, gaining its independence in the early 1960s. Like the Central African Republic, Chad had 30 years of political instability and civil war until the early 1990s, when a democratic constitution was drafted.[14] This democracy is far from perfect; the Chadian government has issues with term limits and controversial elections.[15] The population of Chad is 12,075,985 as of July 2017, according to CIA World Factbook. The official language of Chad is French, with others being Arabic and Sarah, as well as 120 other languages or dialects.[16] The country is majority Muslim. The climate in Chad is tropical in the south, while in the north it is desert.[17] Due to the climate of Chad in the north, 39.6% of the land in Chad can be used for agriculture.[18] In Chad, a typical dish would be daraba, which is made up of okra, sweet potato, tomato, and greens. Another typical dish from Chad would be tilapia which is made up of a fish that is smoked or dried.[19]

[1] AFRICA: DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO.” CIA World Factbook. Last modified

October 19, 2018. Accessed November 5, 2018. https://www.cia.gov/library/

publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cg.html.

[2] Birmingham, David. “Central Africa.” Britannica. Accessed December 15, 2018.
https://www.britannica.com/place/central-Africa.

[3] “AFRICA: DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO.” CIA World Factbook. Last modified

October 19, 2018. Accessed November 5, 2018. https://www.cia.gov/library/

publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cg.html.

[4]  “AFRICA: DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO.” CIA World Factbook. Last modified

October 19, 2018. Accessed November 5, 2018. https://www.cia.gov/library/

publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cg.html.

[5]  “AFRICA: DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO.” CIA World Factbook. Last modified

October 19, 2018. Accessed November 5, 2018. https://www.cia.gov/library/

publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cg.html.

[6]  “AFRICA: DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO.” CIA World Factbook. Last modified

October 19, 2018. Accessed November 5, 2018. https://www.cia.gov/library/

publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cg.html.

[7] “Democratic Republic of Congo: Food and Drink.” World Travel Guide. Accessed

November 5, 2018. https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/africa/

democratic-republic-of-congo/food-and-drink/.

[8] “AFRICA; CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC.” CIA World Factbook. Last modified October

31, 2018. Accessed November 5, 2018. https://www.cia.gov/library/

publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ct.html.

[9]  “AFRICA; CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC.” CIA World Factbook. Last modified October

31, 2018. Accessed November 5, 2018. https://www.cia.gov/library/

publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ct.html.

[10]  “AFRICA; CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC.” CIA World Factbook. Last modified October

31, 2018. Accessed November 5, 2018. https://www.cia.gov/library/

publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ct.html.

[11]  “AFRICA; CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC.” CIA World Factbook. Last modified October

31, 2018. Accessed November 5, 2018. https://www.cia.gov/library/

publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ct.html.

[12]  “Central African Republic: Food and Drink.” World Travel Guide. Accessed

November 5, 2018. https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/africa/

central-african-republic/food-and-drink/.

[13] “Central African Republic: Food and Drink.” World Travel Guide. Accessed

November 5, 2018. https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/africa/

central-african-republic/food-and-drink/.

[14] “AFRICA: CHAD.” CIA World Factbook. Last modified October 18, 2018. Accessed

November 5, 2018. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/

the-world-factbook/geos/cd.html.

[15] “AFRICA: CHAD.” CIA World Factbook. Last modified October 18, 2018. Accessed

November 5, 2018. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/

the-world-factbook/geos/cd.html.

[16] “AFRICA: CHAD.” CIA World Factbook. Last modified October 18, 2018. Accessed

November 5, 2018. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/

the-world-factbook/geos/cd.html.

[17] “AFRICA: CHAD.” CIA World Factbook. Last modified October 18, 2018. Accessed

November 5, 2018. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/

the-world-factbook/geos/cd.html.

[18] “AFRICA: CHAD.” CIA World Factbook. Last modified October 18, 2018. Accessed

November 5, 2018. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/

the-world-factbook/geos/cd.html.

[19] “Chad: Food and Drink.” World Travel Guide. Accessed November 5, 2018.

https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/africa/chad/food-and-drink/.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s