Category Archives: Regional Posts

West Africa

West Africa is generally understood to compose the western-most part of sub-Saharan Africa.  It is made up of 19 countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.  The region is characterized by high levels of geographic, cultural, and historic diversity that have both colonial and precolonial roots.  This blog post will provide background on topics such as climate, politics, and economics in Western Africa, which is helpful when thinking about how West African food developed to what it is today.

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The geography of West Africa is incredibly varied, and in many instances, two very different climates coexist within close proximity.  Generally speaking, the climate progresses from being dry or semiarid in the northern parts of the region to being humid tropical rainforests in the southern parts, closer to the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.  The northern part of Western Africa encompasses a transitional zone known as the Sahel.  The Sahel stretches across the continent from east to west and separates the Sahara Desert to the north and the savannahs to the south.  In West Africa the Sahel goes through Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, and Chad.  It is a large plateau with higher elevation than in the lower-lying coastal south.

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The rainfall in West Africa also varies considerably between the north and the south.  The southern and more coastal parts of the region receive about 50 inches of rainfall each year, while the northern, more arid parts receive only about 10 inches.  This contrast in rainfall results in stark differences in the types of vegetation that grow in each region.  The northern parts of the Sahel contain very little in the way of plant life, with a few small trees and scrub vegetation.  In the areas just south of the Sahel, the vegetation is composed of grassland and a few taller trees.  In the areas near the coasts that see the most rain, there are a number of equatorial rainforests.  These rainforests contain a large amount of biodiversity and are found within 150 miles of the ocean.  Both the northern and the southern areas of West Africa have two primary seasons; a rainy season and a dry season.  These seasons vary in length and intensity based on the distance location from the equator.  Longer and wetter rainy seasons are more prevalent closer to the equator with shorter and drier rainy seasons occurring further from the equator.  In recent decades, seasonal rains have at times been unreliable, thus causing drought and famine.  Geographic factors and climate variation have a significant impact on the kinds of food that can be grown in West Africa. Some parts of the region, especially those closer to the cost or in river basins, make for fertile land to grow a variety of grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts.  Other parts of West Africa such as the northern Sahel have climates where only a few drought-resistant crops such as peas, millet, and sorghum can grow.  People who live in this region rely on imported foods to live year-round.  As commodity prices have risen, food security is greatly threatened.  For more information on West African climate, check out https://eros.usgs.gov/westafrica/node/157

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West Africa has a long and complex history that dates back about 10,000 years.  Organized society in West Africa can be traced as far back as 1500 BC.  Founded in 300 AD, the Empire of Ghana rose to prominence, becoming the first major state to take shape.  By the 8th century, the Empire of Ghana had risen to power via its control of the Trans-Saharan trade routes and vast amounts of gold composites.  The empire was thwarted in the 11th century by Muslim traders, and by the 13th century, the region was controlled almost entirely by the Mali Empire.  Over the next several centuries, empires such as the Empire of Songhai, the Kingdom of Kongo, the Empire of Jolof, and the Almoravids would rise and fall, each one controlling substantial parts of West Africa before their decline.

By the 13th century, West Africa’s wealth and gold had drawn the attention of many European monarchs.  This coincided with the fall of West Africa’s great empires.  Prince Henry of Portugal was the first one to aggressively pursue West African exploration by way of sea.  Portugal spent the latter half of the 13th century exploring the coast and building trading posts.  Over the next two centuries, the French, British, and Dutch would join them.  European expedition into West Africa did not come easy, as Europeans were met with resistance by natives, and their influence was contained to the coasts.  After King Leopold’s aggressive claiming of the Congo, there was a mad dash for West Africa.  The region was split up between the British, French, Germans, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Originally, the colonizers sought to exploit the gem and gold trade in West Africa, but colonial interests evolved to include slaver labor and to the production and trade of cash crops such as coffee, cocoa, rubber, nuts, and cotton.  This pattern of agriculture, which is still evident today, has had a significant impact on West African food security, as fertile land is used to grow cash crops instead of food.

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Each colonial power had its own style of rule.  The French had a tight grip on its colonies in West Africa and tried to convert Africans to accept French culture through a process of assimilation.  The British went for a less direct rule and delegated power to local leaders.  Portugal and Spain were particularly brutal when it came to ruling their colonies, and Germany was forced to hand over its West African colonies following defeat in WWI.  Calls for independence started well before WWII, but the first West African country to gain independence did not do so until 1957, when Ghana gained its independence from Britain.  Within the next three years, most West African countries would become independent, with some countries leaving their colonizer on better terms than others.  The last West African country to gain independence was Guinea-Bissau; the country had to wait until 1973 before Portugal begrudgingly granted them independence.  Today, former French colonies tend to have closer ties with their colonizer than former non-French colonies (Guinea being the only exception).  Like Africa as a whole, independent West Africa struggled with governance in the wake of independence.  Unstable economies based on cash crops, weak and undeveloped political institutions, and internal conflict along ethnic and religious lines (large Christian-Muslim divide in many West African countries) led to numerous coups and civil wars.  External forces that through money and resources into violent conflict in West Africa during the Cold War, made this era particularly bloody.  The fact that West Africa has failed to establish an integrated economy has only increased the possibility of internal conflict.  For more detailed information on West Africa’s history and conflict check out  https://www.lonelyplanet.com/west-africa/background/history/a/nar/facae734-6770-4bcf-8115-cd0c82879f6b/1333574 or https://www.e-ir.info/2013/03/15/conflicts-in-west-african-states/

West Africa’s diverse land, history, and culture are all important things to consider when studying the regions culinary culture and struggles with food security.  Each West African plate has a story to tell about the region’s climate, colonization, religion, and culture.  A thorough understanding of the region’s background allows us to see food as a story.

East Africa: Ethnicity and Resources

After looking at the external impacts of religion on the access to food it is now crucial to bring in domestic identity factors to draw more precise conclusions on the Politics of Food within the Region.

Picture6.pngThe politics of food within East Africa calls for an attention on identity factors. Thus, after previously focusing on Religion I will not focus on domestic factors.

Ethnicity within the region creates issues in relation to food. In the states that arguably have more visible ethnic divides, there are clearer effects on politics and preferences owing to these divisions. In states such as Ethiopia and Somalia this is very visible with Somali authorities holding a strong belief that those residing in Southern Ethiopia belong in Somalia, as highlighted by Englebert and Dunne; ethnicity has clearly affected policies of development and access to food because historically the Somali authorities have sort to annex this region, subsequently affecting food security and development domestically and internationally as neither access to food or developmental tools can occur during a state of conflict as Alinovi, Gunter and Luca point out. Such issues were created by the imposition of state boundaries by colonialist powers. The impacts of ethnicity in the region show both a domestic and internationally historic effect on the access to food because evidently ethnicity does cross the colonial borders which I argue affects the ability to coordinate with other nations as desertification hits a certain area. Ultimately, ethnic conflicts particularly in the north of the region have severely affected the coordination of policies to ensure equitable access to food for all. On a micro scale, ethnicity also affects politics domestically as it is likely that politicians belonging to a certain ethnic group will seek to aid this group over others as shown in Burundi by Englebert and Dunne.

Picture7Ethnicity clearly has domestic origins, which therefore leds me to focus on other domestically based factors. In east Africa this means the impact the local environment has on modes of production and uses of land. Resource wise, as research from the CIA world fact book shows, 1/3 of the Kenyan economy is agricultural, in Burundi this equates to 90% and in Ethiopia this equals more than 80% of the populations livelihoods. There is therefore a need to focus on policies that improve agricultural production in order to prevent a food crisis. This is essential owing to the need to prevent threats to human security which under the United Nations Development Program, was defined in 1994 as the need to include freedom from fear and want within a definition of security. With this high reliance on agriculture, climate change clearly does pose a threat toward human security because of the domestic divides between ethnicity and gender as previously discussed which have led to unequal access to food. Therefore, ethnic groups that are discriminated against by government regimes and women, are at a greater risk of suffering when there is limited access to resources owing to climate change. What this means is that internal factors will play a more incremental role in the access to food as agricultural production decreases. This is because much of the economies and internal trade is clearly based on farming in this region as indicated in the data above, thus when production goes down there will be less resources and money available to provide sufficient food, which will lead to inequitable access due to power divisions which will I argue underline any policies of distribution.

In acknowledging these power relationships ethnicity and gender as talked about previously, it is alarming that we see a high incidence of famine in the region,such as in The Ethiopian Famine of 1983-86 which begun as a result of political chaos, strong ethnic ties and crop failure.Picture8

Further issues related to food and politics can be revealed when looking at the recent escalation in Somalia. In this example Ethnicity has been key as the famine is affected only specific regions and therefore only specific ethnic groups within the country.

In focusing on famine what the above shows is that owing to the geography of the region which has meant that it is prone to failed rainy seasons as argued by Miller, the fact that domestically the majority of the countries in this religion rely on agriculture for food production and income shows that climate change poses a major issue to this region. This is particularly true when looking at the effects that this will have on those marginalized within the societies owing to their membership to a particular ethnic group with 2.8 million people in south Somalia facing hunger as shown by Raghavan 2011.

There are however regional differences. Kenya, Zimbabwe and Djibouti, are fairly stable countries, with better access to food resources. Evidently, despite experiencing high levels of economic mismanagement the likelihood of famine is reduced. When considering all of the above factors this is perhaps due to greater levels of assimilation and unification under colonialism due to modes of direct rule and settler colonies that existed within these states. Arguably this meant that their political structures and societal structures were more likely to reduce the effects of ethnicity in particularly. More over each of the aforementioned states lack either a dependent on agriculture (Djibouti), or the Sufism does not form a major part of their culture (Kenya and Zimbabwe), which would suggest owing to my previous arguments that there will be more equitable access to food.

Ultimately in East Africa, due to issues of identity, limited access to food leads to skewed access as well as discriminative legislation which can seriously affect the majority of the population.

East Africa: How religion affects the politics of food

Picture4East Africa is a unique and diverse region, which today many equate to civil war and famine. However, there is a lot of diversity within this region. In order to illustrate these differences, I shall look at the effects that religion and ethnicity have had on food and therefore access when there is a reduction in availability.

To begin with this post will focus on religion and how these international factors have affected domestic relations, which has subsequently had knock on effects for the politics of food with regards to differences in access and the types of food consumed.

But first to offer some background: this region consists of 20 countries and islands with varying levels of population density. Of these diverse states Six — Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda—form part of the East African Community, first established in 1967. Although this organization has suffered many Drawbacks during conflicts, especially during the 1970s, when the EAC “collapsed”, it has since reemerged, expanding its membership with South Sudan joining  in 2016 and can now frequently be seen to advocate for individual empowerment within member states. There is not much variation between members and non-members suggesting the variations come from domestic or international factors because diversity has not come from membership to regional organizations. This leads me into my first discussion based around religion and food

Externally, religion particularly the Islam has had a major impact on the politics of food in the region. It is evident that the expansion of Islam during the ninth century from the Arabian Peninsula had a greater impact on the population during 1880-1960, particularly in northern East Africa than the slave trade did in comparison to other regions. Much of the Islamic practices that were adopted from this expansion can be seen to accumulate under the umbrella of Sufism, as highlighted by Englebert and Dunne. As Fleisher notes, much of the coastline has been heavily impacted by Islamic culture, because of the high levels of trade that took place coastally between East Africa and the Middle East during  700-1400 AD, which introduced new spices and subsistence foods to the region. Specifically, we have seen the introduction of large amounts of rice, fruit and vegetables in stews as Fleisher shows. Dishes such as Injera, a pancake like fermented bread feature heavily, as shown by Ottolenghi. Accompanying dishes often feature turmeric and chilies, therefore reflecting another strong Arab influence. Clearly Islamic culture can still be seen to influence food with owing high Muslim populations in northern East Africa, with  94% the Djibouti population being Muslim.

Picture5The Islamic culture not only continues to influence food but also social practices surrounding food with the adoption of the feasting tradition. But, as Fleisher notes the cultures surrounding feasts represent physical manifestations of power, which are now reflected within East African communities that adopted such practices. From this there has been an impact on social structures which ultimately affect access to food due to Islamic structures embedded in state, which are ingrained within a numerous state constitutions. For instance, Djibouti’s legal system is based partially on Islamic religious law. This has clear implications for power relations particularly with regards to women. Dishes mentioned previously especially Injera often rely on experience, experience which owing to the culture falls to women within a community. This is because the Islamic Sufis culture consists of ideas which center around the notion that it is private/domestic teachings within the household that expertise in cooking is gained through, an area reserved primarily for women due to the practices outlined in Islamic law, which reflects and perhaps extenuates gendered relations. The divide created between men and women owing to the religious and cultural beliefs are extenuated by the positions women are seen to hold within the family and community, reducing their power as they are limited to the private sphere (the home). I argue that this can best be shown by East Africa scoring 59.1/100 for women’s political empowerment on the Ibrahim Index. This could affect access to food because they are seen as less important under this culture, which clearly affects their security.

From taking the example of the affects that religion has had on the food what can be implied is that how gains priority within a household is determined by this Sufis culture. Despite the influence of this religion no longer strongly felt beyond the north of the region there is a great historical impact particularly which has affected conceptions about women, which consequently affect the politics of food particularly when focusing on access to such food.

In acknowledging these religious impacts, it is crucial to apply this to a phenomenon prevalent within the region: famine

In Somalia a famine was declared in 2011 and it is clear that domestic and international religion has had a severe impact on the events of the famine. Arguably we have a seen a higher incidence of women and children dying as a result of the famine and previously mentioned power structures. The effects of the famine are felt more severely by women because they are arguably marginalized within societies owing to the effects of the religious culture.

moreover owing to issues pertaining to Al-Shabaab  (a sub-section of Al Qaeda) specially the prevention of aid reaching those most in need and the unwillingness of international organizations and the state to get involved in terrorist held areas, it is clear that religion in the region also affects policies in response to food crisis. A connection can therefore be drawn between the social relations, terrorist presence, and differing effects of famine as noted by Miller especially when the crisis is ignored internationally.

Ultimately as well as affecting the type of food eaten, what I have shown in this section is that religion clearly affects the politics of food by impacting how has the greatest access to the food and the success of policies initiated to stop crises.

Southern Africa

What is considered Southern Africa?

Generally, Southern Africa includes Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Sometimes, islands of Madagascar, Réunion, Mauritius, and Comoros, are included, and a few of these countries are considered to be in other regions.

History

Southern Africa has a long and fairly well-documented history. Below is a summarized version, but further research can be done here.

200 BCE to 1800 CE

Two main nomadic groups, the Khoe and the San, were the largest groups to inhabit the southern portion of the African continent. According to ancestry.com, the two groups were forced to the boarder of what is now Botswana and South Africa by the Bantus, while also being pushed further north by the Dutch and French colonists. This began in the sixteenth century and continued into the eighteenth century.

At the same time, trade was also introduced; however, most trade was local. Eventually, settled societies of farmers grew grain, herded livestock, and created iron tools. These iron tools became popular as a result of Dutch settlers who began to settle in the 1600s.

1800-Present

Oxford Research Encyclopedias claims that that the major shift into the period of colonialism was when Britain took control of the Cape in South Africa in 1806. There were a few attempts at colonialism prior to this time, but the settlement of the Cape led to the huge influx of colonizing almost all African states. A large number of outside forces, including Britain, Germany, and Portugal, took power in Southern African states and forced governments, policies, and work onto the people. This became more powerful in the 1860s, when Britain became more ruthless in its attempts to remain supreme and became even more demanding of the African people. For example, the changes in the mining industry. Britain “ensured that men who had chosen previously to work in the mines on their own terms were now forced to do so on employers’ terms”. The African workers “were subjected to a bewildering array of discriminatory laws and practices, all enforced in order to keep workers cheap and pliable” (“The Industrial Revolution in Britain and Southern Africa from 1860”) This was because they wanted to remain in control despite other increasingly powerful countries.

A greater emphasis on patrimonialism, a system of favors being given in return for loyalty, was used, as colonizing states would offer resources to elite members in exchange for their loyalty, as well as the assurance of loyalty throughout each state. Christianity’s introduction and spread were strong, especially in the southern states as a direct result of colonial power. The colonizers also stressed the idea of tribes, a concept that was not native to Africans and made African groups seem less organized and complex than European communities. This was another way that the colonizing powers would assert their elitism over the Africans.

Current issues in Southern Africa include climate changes that are drastically affecting the agricultural industry, food insecurity, and HIV/AIDS. (More regarding the effects of these below).

The consequences of colonization have remained, nearly half a century later. The changes in the structures of the governments, religion, trading systems, and overall way of life was a direct result of colonialism.

States Colonizers and Date of Independence                                  

More information can be found in the textbook Inside African Politics by Englebert and Dunn.

State Colonizer Date of Independence
Angola Portugal November 11, 1975
Botswana Britain September 30, 1966
Lesotho Britain October 4, 1966
Malawi Britain July 6, 1964
Mozambique Portugal June 25, 1975
Namibia Germany and South Africa March 21, 1990
South Africa Netherlands and Britain May 31, 1910
Swaziland Boer Republic and Britain September 6, 1968
Zambia Britain October 24, 1964
Zimbabwe Britain April 18, 1980

There are two different types of colonization: settler colonization, in which members of the colonizing country come into the state to take over, and imperialism, where the colonizing country rules from outside. South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe and Zambia were all settler colonies, whereas the other states in the region were imperialistic colonies. Settlers, such as the French and Dutch that pushed the Khoe and the San groups to move, as well as imperialistic forces, all had a major impact on the regions.

One effect colonizers had on Southern Africa was the cuisine. In addition to teaching the Southern Africans new cooking styles, such as using cast iron pots, a wide variety of different spices, ingredients, and dishes were introduced. Dutch ingredients, specifically many foreign fruits and vegetables, were introduced, as well as Malaysian and Indonesian spices, as a result of the Malay slaves that were brought. These ingredients and spices were combined with cooking styles and dishes that the Southern Africans were already cooking, creating a melting pot of cuisines.

British influences included the introduction of a British breakfast, instead of leftover dinner the next morning, as the Southern Africans were used to. “They also left their mark with their “pudding” culture, their pies and their English roasts, which developed into the carveries we know today” (South African Food).

Perhaps the most interesting and influential aspects of colonial rule in Southern Africa occurs in South Africa. Because of the slave trade in the mid 1600s, many of the descendants of current citizens were brought as slaves. This contrasts drastically with the upper-class white population that is also present in South Africa, most of whom are descendants from the settlers. As a result, even after the state received its independence, there was a huge racial, ethnic, and socio-economic divide, also known as apartheid.

More can be read at “The Colonization of Africa” and “History of slavery and early colonisation in South Africa”.

Food Issues in Southern Africa

Southern Africa faces severe food security for many reasons. A major one is the global issue of climate change. Climate change, including wide temperature swings and droughts, is causing unpredictable agricultural seasons, which Southern Africa is vastly dependent on for its food production and workforce. According to Nation Master, 47% of Namibia’s population, 66% of Zimbabwe’s population, and 85% of Angola’s population is in the agricultural industry.

In addition, according to the article “The Impacts of Climate Change on Food Security and Health in Southern Africa”, there will be hardships in trade due to the “difficulties in transporting food through carbon regulations in air-freight, changing conditions for growing food crops and negative impacts on fishery,” only furthering food insecurity as there will be reduced access to imported goods. As such, food that must be imported will be more expensive. Because of the unpredictable agricultural seasons and increasing prices on imported food, food insecurity will continue to increase in lower income families.

The issue of food insecurity only increases as foreign governments and organizations attempt to provide aid in order to combat this very issue. This can be in the form of foreign government funded initiatives or non-government organizations (NGOs). While these projects intend to help the African citizens, it only furthers the issues. These actions wind up increasing prices, a burden that falls primarily on poor and middle-class Africans. The article, “Exploring the Logic Behind Southern Africa’s Food Crises,” claims that the issue of the governments being unable to truly help the people is because the people and the private sector do not trust one another. It asserts that the private sector, which are the workers (farmers, traders, etc.) “each is at times acutely dissatisfied with government policy on these matters and would like to have more influence over what decisions are made. An example of this is the trade regulations on corn and the inability of those being directly affected to have any input in the decision. This prevents proper aid from occurring.

The increase of prices leads to further malnutrition, as basic diets consisting of lower-cost food do not provide all of the necessary sustenance for proper nourishment.

Another cause of food insecurity in Southern Africa is the prevalence of HIV/AIDS. According to Advert, “South Africa accounted for one third (270,000) of the region’s new infections in 2016. Another 50% occurred in eight countries: Mozambique, Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Ethiopia… Women account for 56% of adults living with HIV in the region. Young women (aged 15–24 years) accounted for 26% of new HIV infections in 2016, despite making up just 10% of the population.” As a result, women, who do a majority of the agricultural work in Southern Africa, are working less, therefore producing less. They also provide most of the household food for their families, when ill, they may be unable to do so, furthering the food insecurity.

Staple Food in Southern Africa

Mutandabota is both a local and sustainable food, traditional in Southern Africa. This food source, which is a dairy product is not only nutritious, but also contains probiotics, which aids in improving intestinal health. Probiotics are living microorganisms that are not only safe to consume, but beneficial, as they help the intestine grow the natural bacteria that helps fight off strands of microorganisms that will cause sickness.

Video of Anthony Bourdain’s show “Parts Unknown” in which he visited South Africa.

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/

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