Africa :: Central African Republic
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Central African Republic
Location of Central African Republic
 
Map of Central African Republic
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 neighboring nations, Chad, Sudan, and the DRC, continues to affect stability in the Central African Republic as well.
Geography ::Central African Republic
Central Africa, north of Democratic Republic of the Congo
7 00 N, 21 00 E
total: 622,984 sq km
country comparison to the world: 44
land: 622,984 sq km
water: 0 sq km
slightly smaller than Texas
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)
none (landlocked)
tropical; hot, dry winters; mild to hot, wet summers
vast, flat to rolling, monotonous plateau; scattered hills in northeast and southwest
lowest point: Oubangui River 335 m
highest point: Mont Ngaoui 1,420 m
diamonds, uranium, timber, gold, oil, hydropower
arable land: 3.1%
permanent crops: 0.15%
other: 96.75% (2005)
20 sq km (2003)
144.4 cu km (2003)
total: 0.03 cu km/yr (80%/16%/4%)
per capita: 7 cu m/yr (2000)
hot, dry, dusty harmattan winds affect northern areas; floods are common
tap water is not potable; poaching has diminished the country's reputation as one of the last great wildlife refuges; desertification; deforestation
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
landlocked; almost the precise center of Africa
People ::Central African Republic
4,511,488
country comparison to the world: 120
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 2009 est.)
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) (2009 est.)
total: 18.8 years
male: 18.5 years
female: 19.1 years (2009 est.)
1.491% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90
32.75 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 44
17.84 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
NA (2009 est.)
urban population: 39% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 2.3% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.63 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
total: 80.62 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 21
male: 87.22 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 73.82 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
total population: 44.47 years
country comparison to the world: 215
male: 44.4 years
female: 44.54 years (2009 est.)
4.14 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 45
6.3% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
160,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 35
11,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
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
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.)
1.4% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 174
Government ::Central African Republic
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
republic
name: Bangui
geographic coordinates: 4 22 N, 18 35 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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)
Republic Day, 1 December (1958)
ratified by popular referendum 5 December 2004; effective 27 December 2004
based on French law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
21 years of age; universal
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
elections: under the new constitution, the president elected to a five-year term (eligible for a second term); elections last held 13 March and 8 May 2005 (next to be held in 2010); 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%
unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (105 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 13 March 2005 and 8 May 2005 (next to be held in 2010)
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
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
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; Patriotic Front for Progress or FPP [Abel GOUMBA]; People's Union for the Republic or UPR [Pierre Sammy MAKFOY]; National Unity Party or PUN [Jean-Paul NGOUPANDE]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Enoch LAKOUE]
Monam (combating gender-base violence)
ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AU, BDEAC, CEMAC, FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OIC (observer), OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
chief of mission: Ambassador Emmanuel TOUABOY
chancery: 1618 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 483-7800
FAX: [1] (202) 332-9893
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
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
Economy ::Central African Republic
Subsistence agriculture, together with forestry, remains the backbone of the economy of the Central African Republic (CAR), with more than 70% 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.
$3.198 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171
$3.129 billion (2007 est.)
$3.003 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
$1.997 billion (2008 est.)
2.2% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
4.2% (2007 est.)
4% (2006 est.)
$700 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 223
$700 (2007 est.)
$700 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
agriculture: 55%
industry: 20%
services: 25% (2001 est.)
1.926 million (2007)
country comparison to the world: 121
8% (2001 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111
note: 23% unemployment for Bangui
NA%
lowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 33% (2003)
61.3 (1993)
country comparison to the world: 6
revenues: $250 million
expenditures: $273 million (2007 est.)
0.9% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 85
5.25% (31 December 2007)
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 45
15% (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 152
$218.3 million (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 166
$47.58 million (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 154
$320.2 million (31 December 2007)
$NA
timber, cotton, coffee, tobacco, manioc (tapioca), yams, millet, corn, bananas; timber
gold and diamond mining, logging, brewing, textiles, footwear, assembly of bicycles and motorcycles
3% (2002)
country comparison to the world: 85
115 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 187
107 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 196
2,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 202
2,203 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 176
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 194
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 195
0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 179
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 192
$-77 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 78
$146.7 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185
diamonds, timber, cotton, coffee, tobacco
Japan 43.2%, Belgium 10.4%, China 8.3%, Indonesia 6%, France 4.7%, Italy 4.3%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 4.3% (2008)
$237.3 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 197
food, textiles, petroleum products, machinery, electrical equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals
France 17.3%, Cameroon 9.8%, Netherlands 7.3%, US 6.7% (2008)
$1.153 billion (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151
Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per US dollar - 447.81 (2008 est.), 481.8 (2007), 522.59 (2006), 527.47 (2005), 528.29 (2004)
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
12,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 200
154,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 176
general assessment: limited telephone service; fixed-line connections for well less than 1 per 100 persons coupled with mobile-cellular usage of only about 3 per 100 persons; most fixed-line and cellular telephone services are concentrated in Bangui
domestic: network consists principally of microwave radio relay and low-capacity, low-powered radiotelephone communication
international: country code - 236; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2008)
AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 1 (2001)
1 (2001)
.cf
21 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 215
19,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 191
Transportation ::Central African Republic
40 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 104
total: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2009)
total: 38
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 12
914 to 1,523 m: 17
under 914 m: 8 (2009)
total: 24,307 km (2000)
country comparison to the world: 105
2,800 km (primarily on the Oubangui and Sangha rivers) (2007)
country comparison to the world: 35
Bangui, Nola, Salo, Nzinga
Military ::Central African Republic
Central African Armed Forces (Forces Armees Centrafricaines, FACA): Ground Forces, General Directorate of Gendarmerie Inspection (DGIG), Military Air Service, National Police (2008)
18 years of age for selective military service; 2-year conscript service obligation (2009)
males age 16-49: 1,032,828
females age 16-49: 999,330 (2008 est.)
males age 16-49: 552,907
females age 16-49: 512,611 (2009 est.)
male: 55,484
female: 55,168 (2009 est.)
1.1% of GDP (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133
Transnational Issues ::Central African Republic
periodic skirmishes over water and grazing rights among related pastoral populations along the border with southern Sudan persist
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)
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)