Central African Republic

Central African Republic (Africa)

Introduction ::Central African Republic


The former French colony of Ubangi-Shari became the Central African Republic upon independence in 1960. After three tumultuous decades of misrule - mostly by military governments - civilian rule was established in 1993 and lasted for one decade. President Ange-Felix PATASSE's civilian government was plagued by unrest, and in March 2003 he was deposed in a military coup led by General Francois BOZIZE, who established a transitional government. Though the government has the tacit support of civil society groups and the main parties, a wide field of candidates contested the municipal, legislative, and presidential elections held in March and May of 2005 in which General BOZIZE was affirmed as president. The government still does not fully control the countryside, where pockets of lawlessness persist. Unrest in the neighboring nations of Chad, Sudan, and the DRC continues to affect stability in the Central African Republic as well.

Geography ::Central African Republic

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Central Africa, north of Democratic Republic of the Congo

Geographic coordinates:
7 00 N, 21 00 E

Map references:



total: 622,984 sq km country comparison to the world: 44 land: 622,984 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than Texas

Land boundaries:

total: 5,203 km

border countries: Cameroon 797 km, Chad 1,197 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 1,577 km, Republic of the Congo 467 km, Sudan 1,165 km


0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims:

none (landlocked)


tropical; hot, dry winters; mild to hot, wet summers


vast, flat to rolling, monotonous plateau; scattered hills in northeast and southwest

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Oubangui River 335 m

highest point: Mont Ngaoui 1,420 m

Natural resources:

diamonds, uranium, timber, gold, oil, hydropower

Land use:

arable land: 3.1%

permanent crops: 0.15%

other: 96.75% (2005)

Irrigated land:

20 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:

144.4 cu km (2003)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 0.03 cu km/yr (80%/16%/4%)

per capita: 7 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:

hot, dry, dusty harmattan winds affect northern areas; floods are common

Environment - current issues:

tap water is not potable; poaching has diminished the country's reputation as one of the last great wildlife refuges; desertification; deforestation

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography - note:

landlocked; almost the precise center of Africa

People ::Central African Republic


4,844,927 country comparison to the world: 116 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2010 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 40.9% (male 928,277/female 917,739)

15-64 years: 55% (male 1,235,940/female 1,244,958)

65 years and over: 4.1% (male 71,439/female 113,135) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 19.1 years

male: 18.7 years

female: 19.5 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.149% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 43

Birth rate:

36.79 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 26

Death rate:

15.3 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 11

Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population country comparison to the world: 78


urban population: 39% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 2.3% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 101.6 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 7 male: 109.65 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 93.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 49.68 years country comparison to the world: 214 male: 48.45 years

female: 50.95 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

4.68 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 33

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

6.3% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 11

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

160,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 35

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

11,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 30

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: very high

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne disease: malaria

respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis

water contact disease: schistosomiasis

animal contact disease: rabies (2009)


noun: Central African(s)

adjective: Central African

Ethnic groups:

Baya 33%, Banda 27%, Mandjia 13%, Sara 10%, Mboum 7%, M'Baka 4%,
Yakoma 4%, other 2%


indigenous beliefs 35%, Protestant 25%, Roman Catholic 25%, Muslim 15%

note: animistic beliefs and practices strongly influence the Christian majority


French (official), Sangho (lingua franca and national language), tribal languages


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 48.6%

male: 64.8%

female: 33.5% (2000 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 7 years

male: 8 years

female: 5 years (2009)

Education expenditures:

1.3% of GDP (2007) country comparison to the world: 179

Government ::Central African Republic

Country name:

conventional long form: Central African Republic

conventional short form: none

local long form: Republique Centrafricaine

local short form: none

former: Ubangi-Shari, Central African Empire

abbreviation: CAR

Government type:



name: Bangui

geographic coordinates: 4 22 N, 18 35 E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:

14 prefectures (prefectures, singular - prefecture), 2 economic prefectures* (prefectures economiques, singular - prefecture economique), and 1 commune**; Bamingui-Bangoran, Bangui**, Basse-Kotto, Haute-Kotto, Haut-Mbomou, Kemo, Lobaye, Mambere-Kadei, Mbomou, Nana-Grebizi*, Nana-Mambere, Ombella-Mpoko, Ouaka, Ouham, Ouham-Pende, Sangha-Mbaere*, Vakaga


13 August 1960 (from France)

National holiday:

Republic Day, 1 December (1958)


ratified by popular referendum 5 December 2004; effective 27 December 2004

Legal system:

based on French law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


21 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Francois BOZIZE (since 15 March 2003 coup)

head of government: Prime Minister Faustin-Archange TOUADERA (since 22 January 2008)

cabinet: Council of Ministers (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: under the new constitution, the president elected for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); elections last held on 13 March and 8 May 2005 (next to be held on 23 January 2011); prime minister appointed by the political party with a parliamentary majority

election results: Francois BOZIZE elected president; percent of second round balloting - Francois BOZIZE (KNK) 64.6%, Martin ZIGUELE (MLPC) 35.4%

Legislative branch:

unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (105 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)

elections: last held on 13 March 2005 and 8 May 2005 (next to be held on 23 January 2011)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - KNK 42, MLPC 11, RDC 8, PSD 4, FPP 2, ADP 2, LONDO 1, independents 34, other 1

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court or Cour Supreme; Constitutional Court (three judges
appointed by the president, three by the president of the National
Assembly, and three by fellow judges); Court of Appeal; Criminal
Courts; Inferior Courts

Political parties and leaders:

Alliance for Democracy and Progress or ADP [Jacques MBOLIEDAS];
Central African Democratic Rally or RDC [Andre KOLINGBA]; Civic
Forum or FC [Gen. Timothee MALENDOMA]; Democratic Forum for
Modernity or FODEM [Charles MASSI]; Liberal Democratic Party or PLD
[Nestor KOMBO-NAGUEMON]; Londo Association or LONDO; Movement for
Democracy and Development or MDD [David DACKO]; Movement for the
Liberation of the Central African People or MLPC [Ange-Felix
PATASSE] (the party of deposed president); National Convergence or
KNK; National Unity Party or PUN [Jean-Paul NGOUPANDE]; Patriotic
Front for Progress or FPP [Abel GOUMBA]; People's Union for the
Republic or UPR [Pierre Sammy MAKFOY]; Social Democratic Party or

Political pressure groups and leaders:

Monam (combating gender-base violence)

International organization participation:

(subscriber), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN,

Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Stanislas MOUSSA-KEMBE

chancery: 1618 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 483-7800
FAX: [1] (202) 332-9893

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Frederick B. COOK

embassy: Avenue David Dacko, Bangui

mailing address: B. P. 924, Bangui

telephone: [236] 61 02 00
FAX: [236] 61 44 94

note: the embassy is currently operating with a minimal staff

Flag description:

four equal horizontal bands of blue (top), white, green, and yellow with a vertical red band in center; a yellow five-pointed star to the hoist side of the blue band; banner combines the Pan-African and French flag colors; red symbolizes the blood spilled in the struggle for independence, blue represents the sky and freedom, white peace and dignity, green hope and faith, and yellow tolerance; the star represents aspiration towards a vibrant future

National anthem:

name: "Le Renaissance" (The Renaissance)

lyrics/music: Barthelemy BOGANDA/Herbert PEPPER

note: adopted 1960; Barthelemy BOGANDA, who wrote the anthem's lyrics, was the first prime minister of the autonomous French territory

Economy ::Central African Republic

Economy - overview:

Subsistence agriculture, together with forestry, remains the backbone of the economy of the Central African Republic (CAR), with about 60% of the population living in outlying areas. The agricultural sector generates more than half of GDP. Timber has accounted for about 16% of export earnings and the diamond industry, for 40%. Important constraints to economic development include the CAR's landlocked position, a poor transportation system, a largely unskilled work force, and a legacy of misdirected macroeconomic policies. Factional fighting between the government and its opponents remains a drag on economic revitalization. Distribution of income is extraordinarily unequal. Grants from France and the international community can only partially meet humanitarian needs.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$3.468 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 171 $3.345 billion (2009 est.)

$3.289 billion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$2.113 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

3.7% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 92 1.7% (2009 est.)

2% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$700 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 222 $700 (2009 est.)

$700 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 55%

industry: 20%

services: 25% (2001 est.)

Labor force:

1.926 million (2007) country comparison to the world: 121

Unemployment rate:

8% (2001 est.) country comparison to the world: 90 note: 23% unemployment for Bangui

Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.1%

highest 10%: 33% (2003)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

61.3 (1993) country comparison to the world: 6

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

0.9% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 18

Central bank discount rate:

4.25% (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 92 4.75% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

NA% (31 December 2009 est.)

NA% (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$288.8 million (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 167 $241.3 million (31 December 2008)

Stock of broad money:

$343.4 million (31 December 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 177 $292.9 million (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

$357.6 million (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 167 $339.1 million (31 December 2008)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Agriculture - products:

timber, cotton, coffee, tobacco, manioc (tapioca), yams, millet, corn, bananas; timber


gold and diamond mining, logging, brewing, textiles, footwear, assembly of bicycles and motorcycles

Industrial production growth rate:

3% (2002) country comparison to the world: 107

Electricity - production:

115 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 187

Electricity - consumption:

107 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 188

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 196

Oil - consumption:

2,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 186

Oil - exports:

0 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 144

Oil - imports:

2,203 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 174

Oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 192

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 186

Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 198

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 191

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 192

Natural gas - proved reserves:

0 cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 193

Current account balance:

-$77 million (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 74


$146.7 million (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 184

Exports - commodities:

diamonds, timber, cotton, coffee, tobacco

Exports - partners:

Belgium 32.57%, China 10.49%, Indonesia 10.36%, Morocco 10.24%,
Democratic Republic of the Congo 6.87%, France 5.79% (2009)


$237.3 million (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 198

Imports - commodities:

food, textiles, petroleum products, machinery, electrical equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals

Imports - partners:

South Korea 19.29%, France 11.95%, US 7.78%, Cameroon 7.39%,
Netherlands 6.77% (2009)

Debt - external:

$1.153 billion (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 148

Exchange rates:

Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per US dollar - 506.04 (2009), 447.81 (2008), 481.8 (2007), 522.59 (2006)

note: since 1 January 1999, the Central African CFA franc (XAF) has been pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 CFA francs per euro; Central African CFA franc (XAF) coins and banknotes are not accepted in countries using West African CFA francs (XOF), and vice versa, even though the two currencies trade at par

Communications ::Central African Republic

Telephones - main lines in use:

12,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 199

Telephones - mobile cellular:

168,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 174

Telephone system:

general assessment: network consists principally of microwave radio relay and low-capacity, low-powered radiotelephone communication

domestic: limited telephone service with less than 1 fixed-line connection per 100 persons; spurred by the presence of multiple mobile-cellular service providers, cellular usage is increasing from a low base; most fixed-line and mobile-cellular telephone services are concentrated in Bangui

international: country code - 236; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2008)

Broadcast media:

government-owned network, Radiodiffusion Television Centrafricaine, provides domestic TV broadcasting; licenses for 2 private TV stations are pending; state-owned radio network is supplemented by a small number of privately-owned broadcast stations as well as a few community radio stations; transmissions of at least 2 international broadcasters are available (2007)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

20 (2010) country comparison to the world: 217

Internet users:

22,600 (2009) country comparison to the world: 191

Transportation ::Central African Republic


37 (2010) country comparison to the world: 106

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 35

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 12

914 to 1,523 m: 16

under 914 m: 6 (2010)


total: 24,307 km (2000) country comparison to the world: 105


2,800 km (the primary navigable river is the Ubangi, which joins the River Congo; it was the traditional route for the export of products because it connected with the Congo-Ocean railway at Brazzaville; because of the warfare on both sides of the River Congo from 1997, however, routes through Cameroon became preferred by importers and exporters) (2010) country comparison to the world: 35

Ports and terminals:

Bangui, Nola, Salo, Nzinga

Military ::Central African Republic

Military branches:

Central African Armed Forces (Forces Armees Centrafricaines, FACA): Ground Forces (includes Military Air Service), General Directorate of Gendarmerie Inspection (DGIG), National Police (2009)

Military service age and obligation:

18 years of age for selective military service; 2-year conscript service obligation (2010)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 1,121,548

females age 16-49: 1,118,432 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 637,474

females age 16-49: 643,188 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 54,024

female: 53,203 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

0.9% of GDP (2009) country comparison to the world: 136

Transnational Issues ::Central African Republic

Disputes - international:

periodic skirmishes over water and grazing rights among related pastoral populations along the border with southern Sudan persist

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 7,900 (Sudan); 3,700 (Democratic Republic of the Congo); note - UNHCR resumed repatriation of Southern Sudanese refugees in 2006

IDPs: 197,000 (ongoing unrest following coup in 2003) (2007)

Trafficking in persons:

current situation: Central African Republic is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation; the majority of victims are children trafficked within the country for sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, street vending, and forced agricultural, mine, market and restaurant labor; to a lesser extent, children are trafficked from the Central African Republic to Cameroon, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo; rebels conscript children into armed forces within the country

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Central African Republic is on the Tier 2 Watch List for the third consecutive year for its failure to show evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in 2007; efforts to address trafficking through vigorous law enforcement measures and victim protection efforts were minimal, though awareness about trafficking appeared to be increasing in the country; the government does not actively investigate cases, work to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, or rescue and provide care to victims; the government has not taken measures to reduce demand for commercial sex acts (2008)



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