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  Introduction Back To Top

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 Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.03 cu km/yr (80%/16%/4%)
per capita: 7 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
144.4 cu km (2003)

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

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

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

Map references:

Geographic coordinates:
7 00 N, 21 00 E

Natural resources:
diamonds, uranium, timber, gold, oil, hydropower

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Oubangui River 335 m
highest point: Mont Ngaoui 1,420 m

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

Geography - note:
landlocked; almost the precise center of Africa

total: 622,984 sq km
land: 622,984 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Central Africa, north of Democratic Republic of the Congo

0 km (landlocked)

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Texas

Irrigated land:
20 sq km (2003)

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

Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)

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

Land use:
arable land: 3.1%
permanent crops: 0.15%
other: 96.75% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
4.23 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
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: 0.64 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
13.5% (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
260,000 (2003 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 44.22 years
male: 44.14 years
female: 44.29 years (2008 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 (2008)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 48.6%
male: 64.8%
female: 33.5% (2000 est.)

Net migration rate:
NA (2008 est.)

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

Median age:
total: 18.7 years
male: 18.4 years
female: 19 years (2008 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 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
1.4% of GDP (2006)

Population growth rate:
1.509% (2008 est.)

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

Death rate:
18.04 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 82.13 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 88.84 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 75.23 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
23,000 (2003 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 41.3% (male 922,053/female 911,601)
15-64 years: 54.6% (male 1,206,121/female 1,221,158)
65 years and over: 4.1% (male 71,597/female 111,800) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
33.13 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

indigenous beliefs 35%, Protestant 25%, Roman Catholic 25%, Muslim 15%
note: animistic beliefs and practices strongly influence the Christian majority

noun: Central African(s)
adjective: Central African

  Government Back To Top

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

National holiday:
Republic Day, 1 December (1958)

21 years of age; universal

Government type:

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Monam (combating gender-base violence)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Emmanuel TOUABOY
chancery: 1618 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 483-7800
FAX: [1] (202) 332-9893

International organization participation:

Legislative branch:
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

Legal system:
based on French law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

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

13 August 1960 (from France)

Country name (Goverment):
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

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; 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]

name: Bangui
geographic coordinates: 4 22 N, 18 35 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

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

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: 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%

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

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Cour Supreme; Constitutional Court (3 judges appointed by the president, 3 by the president of the National Assembly, and 3 by fellow judges); Court of Appeal; Criminal Courts; Inferior Courts

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
Belgium 22.7%, Indonesia 19.3%, Italy 7.7%, France 7.1%, Spain 6.9%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 6.8%, China 4.9%, Turkey 4.7% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
102.3 million kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
5.25% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
-$77 million (2007 est.)

Debt - external:
$1.153 billion (2007 est.)

Unemployment rate:
8% (23% for Bangui) (2001 est.)

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$700 (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$320.2 million (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$3.262 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$2.087 billion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
61.3 (1993)

Exchange rates:
Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XAF) per US dollar 438.77 (2008 est.), 481.8 (2007), 522.59 (2006), 527.47 (2005), 528.29 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
4% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$218.3 million (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
1.857 million (2006)

Imports - partners:
France 16.6%, Netherlands 13%, Cameroon 9.7%, US 6.3% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
0.9% (2007 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 55%
industry: 20%
services: 25% (2001 est.)

Oil - imports:
2,057 bbl/day (2005)

$146.7 million f.o.b. (2007 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note - responsible authority is the Bank of the Central African States

Economy - overview:
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.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
food, textiles, petroleum products, machinery, electrical equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals

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

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
15% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$47.58 million (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
110 million kWh (2006 est.)

$237.3 million f.o.b. (2007 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006)

Oil - consumption:
2,322 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 0.7%
highest 10%: 47.7% (1993)

Exports - commodities:
diamonds, timber, cotton, coffee, tobacco

Economic aid - recipient:
ODA, $95.29 million; note - traditional budget subsidies from France (2005 est.)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 19.8%
hydro: 80.2%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $250 million
expenditures: $273 million (2007 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
13,000 (2006)

Telephones - main lines in use:
12,000 (2006)

18,000 (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 1 (2001)

283,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
130,000 (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
1 (2001)

Telephone system:
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) (2007)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2002)

Internet hosts:
21 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

2,800 km (primarily on the Oubangui and Sangha rivers) (2007)

Ports and terminals:
Bangui, Nola, Salo, Nzinga

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2007)

total: 24,307 km (2000)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 48
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 24
under 914 m: 13 (2007)

51 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; 2-year conscript service obligation (2006)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,032,828
females age 16-49: 999,330 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 534,141
females age 16-49: 495,303 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Central African Armed Forces (Forces Armees Centrafricaines, FACA): Ground Forces, General Directorate of Gendarmerie Inspection (DGIG), Military Air Service, National Police (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 54,655
female: 54,420 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
1.1% of GDP (2006 est.)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

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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