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Countries > Central African Republic Central African Republic Flag

Languages   4 languages are spoken in Central African Republic. We have 865 products available for those languages.

Capital: Bangui
Population: 3,141,000
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Central African Republic Map


Current issues: in 1996 the Central African Republic experienced three mutinies by dissident elements of the armed forces which demanded back pay as well as political and military reforms; continuing violence in 1997 between the government and rebel military and civilian groups over pay issues, living conditions, and lack of opposition party representation in the government has destroyed many businesses in the capital, reducing tax revenues and exacerbating the government's problems in meeting expenses


Location: Central Africa, north of Democratic Republic of the Congo

Geographic coordinates: 7 00 N, 21 00 E

Map references: Africa

total: 622,980 sq km
land: 622,980 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, Sudan 1,165 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

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

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

Elevation extremes:
lowest point : Oubangui River 335 m
highest point: Mount Gaou 1,420 m

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

Land use:
arable land: 3%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 5%
forests and woodland: 75%
other: 17% (1993 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 the last great wildlife refuges; desertification; deforestation

Environment - international agreements:
party to : Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

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


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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 43% (male 788,417; female 776,721)
15-64 years : 53.2% (male 951,908; female 986,947)
65 years and over: 3.8% (male 60,395; female 78,351) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:1.8% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 36.6 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 18.62 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years : 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 103.81 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population:43.58 years
male: 45.13 years (2002 est.)
female : 42.08 years

Total fertility rate:4.77 children born/woman (2002 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%

Religions: indigenous beliefs 35%, Protestant 25%, Roman Catholic 25%, Muslim 15%, other 11%
note: animistic beliefs and practices strongly influence the Christian majority

Languages: French (official), Sangho (lingua franca and national language), Arabic, Hunsa, Swahili

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 60%
male: 68.5%
female: 52.4% (1995 est.)


Country name:
conventional long form: Central African Republic
conventional short form: none
local long form : Republique Centrafricaine
local short form: none
former: Central African Empire
abbreviation: CAR

Data code: CT

Government type: republic;

National capital: Bangui

Administrative divisions: 14 prefectures (prefectures, singular - prefecture), 2 economic prefectures* (prefectures economiques, singular - prefecture economique), and 1 commune**; Bamingui-Bangoran, Bangui**, Basse-Kotto, Gribingui*, Haute-Kotto, Haute-Sangha, Haut-Mbomou, Kemo-Gribingui, Lobaye, Mbomou, Nana-Mambere, Ombella-Mpoko, Ouaka, Ouham, Ouham-Pende, Sangha*, Vakaga

Independence: 13 August 1960 (from France)

National holiday: National Day, 1 December (1958) (proclamation of the republic)

Constitution: passed by referendum 29 December 1994; adopted 7 January 1995

Legal system: based on French law

Suffrage: 21 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Ange PATASSE (since 22 October 1993)
head of government: Prime Minister Martin ZIGUELE (since 1 April 2001)
cabinet: Council of Ministers
elections : president elected by popular vote for a six-year term; election last held 19 September 1999 (next to be held NA September 2005); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Ange-Felix PATASSE reelected president; percent of vote - Ange-Felix PATASSE 51.63%, Andre KOLINGBA 19.38%, David DACKO 11.15%

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (85 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
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, judges appointed by the president; Constitutional Court, judges appointed by the president

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 the Liberation of the Central African People or MLPC [the party of the president, Ange-Felix PATASSE]; 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]

International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, BDEAC, CCC, CEEAC, ECA, FAO, FZ, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC (observer), UDEAC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Emmanuel TOUABOY
chancery: 1618 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone : [1] (202) 483-7800, 7801
FAX: [1] (202) 332-9893

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Mattie R. SHARPLESS
embassy: Avenue David Dacko, Bangui
mailing address : B. P. 924, Bangui
telephone: [236] 61 02 00, 61 25 78, 61 02 10
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 the hoist side of the blue band


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 half of GDP. Timber has accounted for about 16% of export earnings and the diamond industry for 54%. 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. The 50% devaluation of the currencies of 14 Francophone African nations on 12 January 1994 had mixed effects on the CAR's economy. Diamond, timber, coffee, and cotton exports increased, leading an estimated rise of GDP of 7% in 1994 and nearly 5% in 1995. Military rebellions and social unrest in 1996 were accompanied by widespread destruction of property and a drop in GDP of 2%. The IMF approved an Extended Structure Adjustment Facility in 1998 and the World Bank extended further credits in 1999 and approved a $10 million loan in early 2001. As of January 2002, many civil servants were owed as much as 16 months pay during the PATASSE administration, as well as 14 months pay from the KOLINGBA administration.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $4.6 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 1.8% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,300 (2001 est.)

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

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 3.6% (2001 est.)

Labor force: NA

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

revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA

Industries: diamond mining, sawmills, breweries, textiles, footwear, assembly of bicycles and motorcycles

Industrial production growth rate: 3.9% (2001)

Electricity - capacity: 40,000 kW (1991)

Electricity - production: 104 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 96.72 million kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products: cotton, coffee, tobacco, manioc (tapioca), yams, millet, corn, bananas; timber

total value: $166 million (f.o.b., 2000)
commodities : diamonds, timber, cotton, coffee, tobacco
partners:Benelux 64%, Cote d'Ivoire, Spain, China, Egypt, France (1999)

total value: $154 million (f.o.b., 2000)
commodities: food, textiles, petroleum products, machinery, electrical equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, industrial products
partners: France 35%, Cameroon 13%, Benelux, Cote d'Ivoire, Germany, Japan (1999)

Debt - external: $881.4 million (2000 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient : $172.2 million (1995); note - traditional budget subsidies from France

Currency: 1 Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (CFAF) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: CFA francs (CFAF) per US$1 - 541.69 (January 1997), 511.55 (1996), 499.15 (1995), 555.20 (1994), 283.16 (1993), 264.69 (1992)
note: beginning 12 January 1994, the CFA franc was devalued to CFAF 100 per French franc from CFAF 50 at which it had been fixed since 1948

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 10,000 (1997)

Telephone system: 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 0, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2001)

Radios: 283,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations:1 (2001)

Televisions: 18,000 (1997)


Railways: 0 km

total: 23,810 km
paved: 429 km
unpaved: 23,381 km (2000)

Waterways: 900 km; traditional trade carried on by means of shallow-draft dugouts; Oubangui is the most important river

Ports and harbors: Bangui, Nola, Salo, Nzinga

Airports: 51 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:
total : 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m : 2 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 48
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m :9
914 to 1,523 m: 23
under 914 m: 15 (2001)


Military branches: Central African Army (includes Republican Guard), Air Force, National Gendarmerie, Police Force

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 845,182 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males: 442,220 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $29 million (FY96)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 2.2% (FY96)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: none

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