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Regions & CountriesJanuary 28, 2020 | 19:29 GMT
Georgia
Georgia
Georgia is located in the Caucasus region, a transcontinental zone between Europe and Asia, and is surrounded by powerful neighbors that have controlled part or all of the country throughout much of its history. These include Russia to the north, Turkey to the southwest and Iran to the southeast. Georgia's core is found in the capital city of Tbilisi, where the country's economic, political and demographic resources are concentrated. But because of Georgia's largely mountainous terrain, the country has distinct regional differences and contains various non-Georgian ethnic groups that have traditionally maintained autonomy from Tbilisi. These groups, most notably the Abkhazians and Ossetians to the northwest and north, have posed a separatist problem for the Georgian state. The territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia established de facto independence from Georgia with the help of Russia in a 2008 war. Because of Georgia's disputes with Russia and its military vulnerability, Tbilisi has sought to integrate with Western blocs like NATO and the European Union. However, Georgia's geographic distance from Europe and its exposure to Russia has made that a difficult prospect. Thus, Tbilisi also seeks supplementary partnerships with countries like Azerbaijan and Turkey.
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Regions & CountriesJanuary 28, 2020 | 19:28 GMT
Central African Republic
Central African Republic
The Central African Republic is a landlocked country in the heart of Central Africa. The country shares borders with Chad to the north, Sudan to the northeast, South Sudan to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo to the south and Cameroon to the west. The Central African Republic's prospects for economic growth are severely limited by its geographical location, which has increased the costs of imports and exports while hampering connectivity. Unsurprisingly, the country is one of the world's least stable nations. Moreover, the government in Bangui, the country’s capital, remains woefully unable to assert its power beyond its immediate environs. In fact, large swaths of the country remain effectively outside the government’s control, as militant groups and gangs have proliferated in many areas. The assistance of outside powers and international organizations have done little to enhance Bangui’s authority in recent years. A former French colony, the Central African Republic has struggled to achieve stability since independence. Instead, periodic conflagrations have rocked the country, occasionally precipitating French military intervention, such as in 2013. An additional challenge for leaders in Bangui is the near continuous meddling of their regional neighbors, which have sought to exploit the Central African Republic's security vacuum to grab some of the country's vast mineral resources. At present, the country’s long-term prospects appear bleak due to its deep structural deficiencies.
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