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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. 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... See More



 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: 5,203 km
Border countries: Cameroon 797 km, Chad 1,197 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 1,577 km, Republic of the Congo 467 km, South Sudan 990 km, Sudan 175 km


 0 km (landlocked) (Rank: 213)

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:

 10 sq km (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 144.4 cu km (2003)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 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

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 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


 4,950,027 (July 2011 est.)

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

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 41% (male 1,021,144/female 1,007,819)
15-64 years: 55.3% (male 1,353,600/female 1,382,291)
65 years and over: 3.7% (male 73,977/female 111,196) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 19.2 years
Male: 18.8 years
Female: 19.6 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 2.146% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 36.46 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 15.01 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 39% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 2.5% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 BANGUI (capital) 702,000 (2009)

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 (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 850 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 99.38 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 107.34 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 91.17 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 50.07 years
Male: 48.84 years
Female: 51.35 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 4.63 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 4.3% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 0.08 physicians/1,000 population (2004)

Hospital Bed Density:

 1.2 beds/1,000 population (2006)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 92% of population
Rural: 51% of population
Total: 67% of population
Urban: 8% of population
Rural: 49% of population
Total: 33% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 43% of population
Rural: 28% of population
Total: 34% of population
Urban: 57% of population
Rural: 72% of population
Total: 66% of population (2008)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 4.7% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 130,000 (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - Deaths:

 11,000 (2009 est.)

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)

Children Under 5 - Underweight:

 21.8% (2000)

Education Expenditures:

 1.3% of GDP (2009)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 48.6%
Male: 64.8%
Female: 33.5% (2000 est.)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 7 years
Male: 8 years
Female: 5 years (2009)

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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:

 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: 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: president elected for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); elections last held on 23 January 2011 (next to be held in 2016); prime minister appointed by the president

Election results: Francois BOZIZE elected to a second term as president; percent of vote - Francois BOZIZE (KNK) 64.4%, Ange-Felix PATASSE 21.4%, Martin ZIGUELE (MLPC) 6.8%, Emile Gros Raymond NAKOMBO (RDC) 4.6%, Jean-Jacques DEMAFOUTH (NAP) 2.8%

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 23 January 2011 and 27 March 2011 (next to be held in 2016)

Election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - KNK 62, independents 26, MLPC 2, other 15

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]; New Alliance for Progress or NAP [Jean-Jacques DEMAFOUTH]; Patriotic Front for Progress or FPP [Abel GOUMBA]; People's Union for the Republic or UPR [Pierre Sammy MAKFOY]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Enoch LAKOUE]

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders:

 Monam (combating gender-base violence)

International Organization Participation:


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 Laurence WOHLERS
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 Symbols:


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

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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):

 $3.446 billion (2010 est.)
$3.337 billion (2009 est.)
$3.281 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $2.018 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 3.3% (2010 est.)
1.7% (2009 est.)
2% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $700 (2010 est.)
$700 (2009 est.)
$700 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 53.8%
Industry: 14.5%
Services: 31.7% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 1.926 million (2007)

Unemployment Rate:

 8% (2001 est.)

Note: 23% unemployment for Bangui

Population Below Poverty Line:


Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: 2.1%
Highest 10%: 33% (2003)

Distribution of Family Income - Gini Index:

 61.3 (1993)

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)

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 11.3% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $325.7 million
Expenditures: $335.2 million (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 16.1% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -0.5% of GDP (2010 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 1.5% (2010 est.)
3.5% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:

 4.25% (31 December 2009)
4.75% (31 December 2008)

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 15% (31 December 2010 est.)
15% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $241.3 million (31 December 2008)
$218.3 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $51.65 million (31 December 2008)
$47.57 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $304.4 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$288.8 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $365.1 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$343.4 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $381.4 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$357.6 million (31 December 2009 est.)

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)

Electricity - Production:

 160 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 19.8%
Hydro: 80.2%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 148.8 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - Production:

 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 2,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 2,418 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 -$168.4 million (2010 est.)
-$181.9 million (2009 est.)


 $152.5 million (2010 est.)
$123.9 million (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Diamonds, timber, cotton, coffee, tobacco

Exports - Partners:

 Belgium 25.6%, China 17.5%, Morocco 12.1%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 8.1%, France 6.1%, Indonesia 4.9% (2010)


 $312.2 million (2010 est.)
$270.9 million (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

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

Imports - Partners:

 Netherlands 27.8%, France 11.9%, Cameroon 8.3%, China 5.1% (2010)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $186 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$210.6 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $402.8 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$396 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert CFA Franc (BEAC) to Any Currency

Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per US dollar -
495.28 (2010)
472.19 (2009)
481.8 (2007)
522.59 (2006)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 12,000 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 1.02 million (2010)

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)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 1 (2001)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 1 (2001)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 20 (2010)

Internet Users:

 22,600 (2009)

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 37 (2010)

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)


 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)

Ports and Terminals:

 Bangui, Nola, Salo, Nzinga

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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 (2011)

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:

 0.9% of GDP (2009)

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Disputes - International:

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

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, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo; rebels continue to abduct and exploit enslaved Sudanese, Congolese, Central African, and Ugandan children for use as cooks, porters, concubines, and combatants

Tier rating: Tier 3 - Central African Republic does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; the government, which has limited human and physical capital, did not investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses, identify or provide protective services to trafficking victims, or take steps to raise public awareness about the dangers of human trafficking; the revised Central African penal code, enacted in January 2010, outlaws all forms of trafficking in persons, but awareness of this statute remains low (2011)

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Last Updated: December 2011

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