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Introduction Central African Republic
former French colony of Ubangi-Shari became Central African Republic upon independence in 1960. After three tumultuous decades of misrule - mostly by military governments - civilian rule previously established in 1993 and lasted for one decade. In March 2003 a military coup deposed civilian government of President Ange-Felix PATASSE and has since established a new government.
Geography Central African Republic
Central Africa, north of Democratic Republic of Congo
Geographic coordinates:
7 00 N, 21 00 E
Map references:
total: 622,984 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 622,984 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 Congo 1,577 km, Republic of 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: 0.14%
other: 96.76% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
hot, dry, dusty harmattan winds affect northern areas; floods are common
Environment - current issues:
tap water is not potable; poaching has diminished its reputation as one of last great wildlife refuges; desertification; deforestation
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified: Law of Sea
Geography - note:
landlocked; almost precise center of Africa
People Central African Republic
Total Population:
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 43.1% (male 799,241; female 788,370)
15-64 years: 53.5% (male 969,581; female 1,000,740)
65 years and over: 3.4% (male 53,322; female 72,284) (2003 est.)
Median age:
total: 17.9 years
male: 17.6 years
female: 18.3 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
1.62% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
35.93 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
19.73 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
Population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 93.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 86.04 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 100.35 deaths/1,000 live births
Life Expectancy:
Population: 41.71 years
male: 40.18 years
female: 43.29 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
4.68 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
12.9% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
250,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
22,000 (2001 est.)
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 Christian majority
French (official), Sangho (lingua franca and national language), tribal languages
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Population: 51%
male: 63.3%
female: 39.9% (2003 est.)
Government Central African Republic
Country name:
conventional long form: Central African Republic
conventional short form: none
local short form: none
local long form: Republique Centrafricaine
former: Ubangi-Shari, Central African Empire
abbreviation: CAR
Government type:
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)
passed by referendum 29 December 1994; adopted 7 January 1995
Legal system:
based on French law
21 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Francois BOZIZE (since 15 March 2003 coup)
head of government: Prime Minister Abel GOUMBA (since NA March 2003)
cabinet: Council of Ministers
elections: NA; current president assumed power following a coup on 15 March 2003 in which former President Ange-Felix PATASSE previously overthrown (President BOZIZE has stated that elections will be held by NA 2004); prime minister appointed by president
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (109 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms; note - there were 85 seats in National Assembly before 1998 election)
elections: last held 22-23 November and 13 December 1998 (next to be held NA 2003)
election results: percent of vote by party - MLPC 43%, RDC 18%, MDD 9%, FPP 6%, PSD 5%, ADP 4%, PUN 3%, FODEM 2%, PLD 2%, UPR 1%, FC 1%, independents 6%; seats by party - MLPC 47, RDC 20, MDD 8, FPP 7, PSD 6, ADP 5, PUN 3, FODEM 2, PLD 2, UPR 1, FC 1, independents 7
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Cour Supreme; Constitutional Court (3 judges appointed by president, 3 by president of National Assembly, and 3 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 Assembly 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]; Movement for Democracy and Development or MDD [David DACKO]; Movement for Liberation of Central African People or MLPC [the party of deposed president, Ange-Felix PATASSE]; Patriotic Front for Progress or FPP [Abel GOUMBA]; People's Union for Republic or UPR [Pierre Sammy MAKFOY]; National Unity Party or PUN [Jean-Paul NGOUPANDE]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Enoch LAKOUE]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Emmanuel TOUABOY
FAX: [1] (202) 332-9893
telephone: [1] (202) 483-7800
chancery: 1618 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Mattie R. SHARPLESS
embassy: Avenue David Dacko, Bangui
mailing address: B. P. 924, Bangui
telephone: [236] 61 02 00
FAX: [236] 61 44 94
Flag description:
four equal horizontal bands of blue (top), white, green, and yellow with a vertical red band in center; there is a yellow five-pointed star on hoist side of blue band
Economy Central African Republic
Economy - overview:
Subsistence agriculture, together with forestry, remains backbone of economy of Central African Republic (CAR), with more than 70% of population living in outlying areas. agricultural sector generates half of GDP. Timber has accounted for about 16% of export earnings and diamond industry for 54%. Important constraints to economic development include CAR's landlocked position, a poor transportation system, a largely unskilled work force, and a legacy of misdirected macroeconomic policies. Factional fighting between government and its opponents remains a drag on economic revitalization, with GDP growth likely to be no more than 1.3% in 2003. Distribution of income is extraordinarily unequal. Grants from France and international community can only partially meet humanitarian needs.
buying power parity - $4.296 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
1.5% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
buying power parity - $1,200 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 55%
industry: 20%
services: 25% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 0.7%
highest 10%: 47.7% (1993)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
61.3 (1993)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.6% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
Unemployment rate:
8% (23% for Bangui) (2001 est.)
revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA, includes capital expenditures of $NA
diamond mining, logging, brewing, textiles, footwear, assembly of bicycles and motorcycles
Industrial production growth rate:
3% (2002)
Electricity - production:
106 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 19.8%
hydro: 80.2%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
98.63 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
2,400 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Agriculture - products:
cotton, coffee, tobacco, manioc (tapioca), yams, millet, corn, bananas; timber
$134 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities:
diamonds, timber, cotton, coffee, tobacco
Exports - partners:
Belgium 66.8%, Spain 6.4%, Kazakhstan 4% (2002)
$102 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:
food, textiles, petroleum products, machinery, electrical equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals
Imports - partners:
France 30%, US 5.2%, Cameroon 4.5%, Germany 4.3% (2002)
Debt - external:
$881.4 million (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
ODA $73 million; note - traditional budget subsidies from France (2000 est.)
Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note - responsible authority is Bank of Central African States
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XAF) per US dollar - 696.99 (2002), 733.04 (2001), 711.98 (2000), 615.7 (1999), 589.95 (1998)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Central African Republic
Telephones - main lines in use:
9,500 (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
710 (1998)
Telephone system:
general assessment: fair system
domestic: network consists principally of microwave radio relay and low-capacity, low-powered radiotelephone communication
international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 1 (2002)
283,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (2001)
18,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2002)
Internet users:
2,000 (2002)
Transportation Central African Republic
0 km
total: 23,810 km
paved: 643 km
unpaved: 23,167 km (1999 est.)
900 km
note: traditional trade carried on by means of shallow-draft dugouts; Oubangui is most important river, navigable all year to craft drawing 0.6 m or less; 282 km navigable to craft drawing as much as 1.8 m
Ports and harbors:
Bangui, Nola, Salo, Nzinga
50 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 47
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 23
under 914 m: 13 (2002)
Military Central African Republic
Military branches:
Central African Armed Forces (FACA) (including Republican Guard, Ground Forces, Naval Forces, and Air Force), Presidential Security Guard, Gendarmerie, National Police
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 858,671 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 449,466 (2003 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$13.43 million (FY02)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.1% (FY02)
Transnational Issues Central African Republic
Disputes - international:
internal political instabilities with fighting and violence overlap into Chad and CAR, leaving refugees and rebel groups in both countries; violent ethnic skirmishes persist along border with Sudan