Central African Republic( Africa )

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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. In March, 2003 President Ange-Felix PATASSE was deposed in a military coup led by General Francois BOZIZE, who established a transitional government. Elections held in 2005 affirmed General BOZIZE as president; he was reelected in 2011 in voting widely viewed as flawed. The government still does not fully control the countryside, where pockets of lawlessness persist. The militant group the Lord's Resistance Army continues to destabilize southeastern Central African Republic, and several rebel groups joined together in early December 2012 to launch a series of attacks that left them in control of numerous towns in the northern and central parts of the country. The rebels - who are unhappy with BOZIZE's government - participated in peace talks in early January 2013 which resulted in a coalition government including the rebellion's leadership. In March 2013, the coalition government dissolved, rebels seized the capital, and President BOZIZE fled the country. Rebel leader Michel DJOTODIA assumed the presidency, reappointed Nicolas TIANGAYE as Prime Minister, and established a transitional government on 31 March. On 13 April 2013, the National Transitional Council affirmed DJOTODIA as President.
Central Africa, north of Democratic Republic of the Congo
Geographic coordinates:
7 00 N, 21 00 E
total: 622,984 sq km
land: 622,984 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly smaller than Texas
Land boundaries:
total: 5,920 km
border countries: Cameroon 901 km, Chad 1,556 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 1,747 km, Republic of the Congo 487 km, South Sudan 1,055 km, Sudan 174 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: 2.89%
permanent crops: 0.13%
other: 96.98% (2011)
Irrigated land:
1.35 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
144.4 cu km (2011)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic or industrial or agricultural):
total: 0.07 cu km/yr (83%/17%/1%)
per capita: 17.42 cu m/yr (2005)
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 and Society
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%
French (official), Sangho (lingua franca and national language), tribal languages
indigenous beliefs 35%, Protestant 25%, Roman Catholic 25%, Muslim 15%
note: animistic beliefs and practices strongly influence the Christian majority
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 2014 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 40.6% (male 1,077,247/female 1,064,660)
15-24 years: 20.1% (male 534,257/female 528,822)
25-54 years: 31.8% (male 838,484/female 838,858)
55-64 years: 3.9% (male 91,696/female 115,600)
65 years and over: 3.6% (male 73,914/female 114,421) (2014 est.)
Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 76.5 %
youth dependency ratio: 69.7 %
elderly dependency ratio: 6.7 %
potential support ratio: 14.8 (2014 est.)
Median age:
total: 19.4 years
male: 19.1 years
female: 19.8 years (2014 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.13% (2014 est.)
Birth rate:
35.45 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Death rate:
14.11 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
urban population: 39.1% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 2.6% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas population:
BANGUI (capital) 740,000 (2011)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 92.86 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 100.55 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 84.93 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
Maternal mortality rate:
890 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 51.35 years
male: 50.06 years
female: 52.67 years (2014 est.)
Total fertility rate:
4.46 children born/woman (2014 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate:
19% (2006)
Health expenditures:
3.8% of GDP (2011)
Physicians density:
0.05 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
Hospital bed density:
1 beds/1,000 population (2011)
Drinking water source:
improved: urban: 89.6% of population
rural: 54.4% of population
total: 68.2% of population
unimproved: urban: 10.4% of population
rural: 45.6% of population
total: 31.8% of population (2012 est.)
Sanitation facility access:
improved: urban: 43.6% of population
rural: 7.2% of population
total: 21.5% of population
unimproved: urban: 56.4% of population
rural: 92.8% of population
total: 78.5% of population (2012 est.)
HIV or AIDS adult prevalence rate:
4.7% (2009 est.)
HIV or AIDS people living with HIV or AIDS:
130,000 (2009 est.)
HIV or AIDS deaths:
11,000 (2009 est.)
Obesity adult prevalence rate:
3.5% (2008)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
28% (2006)
Education expenditures:
1.2% of GDP (2011)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 56.6%
male: 69.6%
female: 44.2% (2011 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 7 years
male: 9 years
female: 6 years (2012)
Child labor children ages 5-14:
total number: 532,518
percentage: 47 % (2006 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
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)
several previous; latest ratified by referendum 5 December 2004, effective 27 December 2004; amended 2010; note - the transitional parliament has begun work on a new constitution which should be ready for citizens feedback in early 2015 (2010)
Legal system:
civil law system based on the French model
International law organization participation:
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Interim President Catherine SAMBA-PANZA (since 20 January 2014); elected by the National Transitional Council
head of government: Interim Prime Minister Andre NZAPAYEKE (since 25 January 2014); note - he replaced Prime Minister Nicolas TIANGAYE who resigned 10 January 2014
cabinet: Council of Ministers
elections: interim president was elected by the National Transitional Council on 20 January 2014; she will be in office until February 2015 at the new general elections
election results: in the second round Catherine SAMBA-PANZA was elected; SAMBA-PANZA 75 votes from the National Transitional Council, Desire KOLINGBA 53 votes (129 MPs out of 135 voted)
note: rebel forces seized the captial in March 2013, forcing former President BOZIZE to flee the country; Interim President Michel DJOTODIA assumed the presidency, reinstated the prime minister, established a transitional government and was subsequently affirmed as president by the National Transitional Council on 13 Apriil 2013; he resigned soon after because of racial violence in the country and was replced briefly by Interim President Alexandre-Ferdinand NGUENDET
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Transitional Council to act as the National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (105 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 23 January 2011 and 27 March 2011 (next to be held in February 2015)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA
Judicial branch:
highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of NA judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges, at least 3 of which are women)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president; Constitutional Court judge appointments - 2 by the president, 1 by the speaker of the National Assembly, 2 elected by their peers, 2 are advocates elected by their peers, and 2 are law professors elected by their peers; judges serve 7-year non-renewable terms
subordinate courts: high courts; magistrates' courts
Political parties and leaders:
Alliance for Democracy and Progress or ADP [Clement BELIBANGA]
Central African Democratic Rally or RDC [Louis-Pierre GAMBA]
Civic Forum or FC
Democratic Forum for Modernity or FODEM [Saturnin NDOMBY]
Liberal Democratic Party or PLD
Londo Association or LONDO
Movement for Democracy and Development or MDD
MaMovement for the Liberation of the Central African People or MLPC [Martin ZIGUELE ]
National Convergence or KNK [Francois BOZIZE]
National Unity Party or PUN
New Alliance for Progress or NAP [Jean-Jacques DEMAFOUTH]
Patriotic Front for Progress or FPP [Alexandre Philippe GOUMBA]
People's Union for the Republic or UPR [Pierre Sammy MAKFOY]
Social Democratic Party or PSD [Enoch LAKOUE]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Stanislas MOUSSA-KEMBE (since 24 August 2009)
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 Laurence D. WOHLERS (since September 2010)
embassy: Avenue David Dacko, Bangui
mailing address: B. P. 924, Bangui
telephone: [236] 21 61 02 00
FAX: [236] 21 61 44 94
note: the embassy temporarily suspended operations in December, 2012
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 symbol(s):
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 overview:
Subsistence agriculture, together with forestry and mining, 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 and diamonds account for most export earnings, followed by cotton. 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. Since 2009 the IMF has worked closely with the government to institute reforms that have resulted in some improvement in budget transparency, but other problems remain. The government's additional spending in the run-up to the election in 2011 worsened CAR's fiscal situation. Distribution of income is extraordinarily unequal. Grants from France and the international community can only partially meet humanitarian needs. In 2012 the World Bank approved $125 million in funding for transport infrastructure and regional trade, focused on the route between CAR's capital and the port of Douala in Cameroon. After a two year lag in donor support, the IMF's first review of CAR's extended credit facility for 2012-15 praised improvements in revenue collection but warned of weak management of spending.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$3.336 billion (2013 est.)
$3.902 billion (2012 est.)
$3.748 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$2.05 billion (2013 est.)
GDP real growth rate:
-14.5% (2013 est.)
4.1% (2012 est.)
3.3% (2011 est.)
GDP per capita (PPP):
$700 (2013 est.)
$900 (2012 est.)
$800 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
Gross national saving:
2.4% of GDP (2013 est.)
3.8% of GDP (2012 est.)
3.7% of GDP (2011 est.)
GDP composition, by end use:
household consumption: 91.5%
government consumption: 6.1%
investment in fixed capital: 8.3%
investment in inventories: 0%
exports of goods and services: 9.7%
imports of goods and services: -15.6%
(2013 est.)
GDP composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 56.6%
industry: 14.5%
services: 28.9% (2013 est.)
Agriculture products:
cotton, coffee, tobacco, cassava (manioc, tapioca), yams, millet, corn, bananas; timber
gold and diamond mining, logging, brewing, sugar refining
Industrial production growth rate:
-11% (2013 est.)
Labor force:
2.082 million (2011 est.)
Labor force by occupation:
Unemployment rate:
8% (2001 est.)
note: 23% unemployment in the capital, 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)
revenues: $186.2 million
expenditures: $270.7 million (2013 est.)
Taxes and other revenues:
9.1% of GDP (2013 est.)
Budget surplus or deficit:
Public debt:
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
7% (2013 est.)
5.8% (2012 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
4.25% (31 December 2009)
4.75% (31 December 2008)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
15% (31 December 2013 est.)
15% (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of narrow money:
$308.3 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$337.7 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of broad money:
$376.4 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$421.6 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of domestic credit:
$478.7 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$507.7 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
Current account balance:
-$133.8 million (2013 est.)
-$197.6 million (2012 est.)
$138.9 million (2013 est.)
$207.7 million (2012 est.)
Exports commodities:
diamonds, timber, cotton, coffee
Exports partners:
Belgium 31.7%, China 27.9%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 7.8%, Indonesia 5.2%, France 4.5% (2012)
$218.6 million (2013 est.)
$333.7 million (2012 est.)
Imports commodities:
food, textiles, petroleum products, machinery, electrical equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals
Imports partners:
Netherlands 20.3%, France 9.7%, Cameroon 9.1%, South Korea 9.1% (2012)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Debt external:
$634.2 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$632.7 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment at home:
Stock of direct foreign investment abroad:
Exchange rates:
Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per US dollar -
500.7 (2013 est.)
510.53 (2012 est.)
495.28 (2010)
472.19 (2009)
447.81 (2008)
Electricity production:
160 million kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity consumption:
148.8 million kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity exports:
0 kWh (2012 est.)
Electricity imports:
0 kWh (2012 est.)
Electricity installed generating capacity:
44,000 kW (2010 est.)
Electricity from fossil fuels:
43.2% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity from hydroelectric plants:
56.8% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity from other renewable sources:
0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Crude oil production:
0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
Crude oil exports:
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Crude oil imports:
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Crude oil proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products production:
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Refined petroleum products consumption:
3,175 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Refined petroleum products exports:
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Refined petroleum products imports:
2,318 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Natural gas production:
0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas consumption:
0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas exports:
0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas imports:
0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
293,900 Mt (2011 est.)
Telephones mobile cellular:
1.07 million (2012)
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) (2011)
Telephones main lines in use:
5,600 (2012)
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 users:
22,600 (2009)
Internet hosts:
20 (2012)
39 (2013)
Airports with paved runways:
total: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
Airports with unpaved runways:
total: 37
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 11
914 to 1,523 m: 19
under 914 m: 6 (2013)
total: 20,278 km (2010)
Merchant marine:
Ports and terminals:
river port(s): Bangui (Oubangui); Nola (Sangha)
Military branches:
Central African Armed Forces (Forces Armees Centrafricaines, FACA): Ground Forces (includes Military Air Service), General Directorate of Gendarmerie Inspection (DGIG), National Police (2011)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for selective military service; 2-year conscript service obligation (2012)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,149,856
females age 16-49: 1,145,897 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 655,875
females age 16-49: 661,308 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 54,843
female: 53,999 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures:
Transnational Issues
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): 10,992 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (2013)
IDPs: 551,600 (clashes between army and rebel groups since 2005; tensions between ethnic groups) (2014)
Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Central African Republic (CAR) is a source and destination country for children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking and possibly women subjected to forced prostitution; most victims appear to be CAR citizens exploited within the country, and that a smaller number are transported back and forth between the CAR and Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and South Sudan; children are forced into domestic servitude, commercial sexual exploitation, agricultural labor, mining, and street vending; armed groups operating in the CAR, including the Lord's Resistance Army, continue to recruit and use children for military activities, while village self-defense units use children as combatants, lookouts, and porters
tier rating: Tier 3 - Central African Republic does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government does not investigate or prosecute any suspected cases of human trafficking, including the use of child soldiers; the government also fails to identify, provide protection to, or refer to service providers any trafficking victims; in collaboration with an NGO, the government has convened a working group to develop a national action plan to combat human trafficking (2013)