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Central African Republic

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(Automated upload of Central African Republic)
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[[de:Zentralafrikanische Republik]]
[[fr:République centrafricaine]]

Revision as of 15:58, 27 October 2004

Quick Facts
CurrencyCommunaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note - responsible authority is the Bank of the Central African States
Areatotal: 622,984 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 622,984 sq km
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.)
LanguageFrench (official), Sangho (lingua franca and national language), tribal languages
Religionindigenous beliefs 35%, Protestant 25%, Roman Catholic 25%, Muslim 15%
note: animistic beliefs and practices strongly influence the Christian majority

This article is an import from the CIA World Factbook 2002. It's a starting point for creating a real Wikitravel country article according to our country article template. Please plunge forward and edit it.

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 - a civilian government was installed in 1993.


Map of Central African Republic
Central Africa, north of Democratic Republic of the 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 the Congo 1,577 km, Republic of the 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 the 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 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
female: 45.13 years (2002 est.)
male: 42.08 years
Total fertility rate 
4.77 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 
13.84% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 
240,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths 
23,000 (1999 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 the Christian majority
French (official), Sangho (lingua franca and national language), tribal languages
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 short form: none
former: Ubangi-Shari, Central African Empire
local long form: Republique Centrafricaine
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, Gribingui*, Haute-Kotto, Haute-Sangha, Haut-Mbomou, Kemo-Gribingui, Lobaye, Mbomou, Nana-Mambere, Ombella-Mpoko, Ouaka, Ouham, Ouham-Pende, Sangha*, 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 Ange-Felix 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 (109 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms; note - there were 85 seats in the National Assembly before the 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 the president, 3 by the president of the 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 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]
Political pressure groups and leaders 
International organization participation 
Diplomatic representation in the 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 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
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.
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.)
Population below poverty line 
Household income or consumption by percentage share 
lowest 10%: 1%
highest 10%: 48% (1993) (1993)
Distribution of family income - Gini index 
61 (1993)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 
3.6% (2001 est.)
Labor force 
Unemployment rate 
8% (23% for Bangui) (2001 est.)
revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA
diamond mining, sawmills, breweries, textiles, footwear, assembly of bicycles and motorcycles
Industrial production growth rate 
3.9% (2001)
Electricity - production 
104 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source 
fossil fuel: 20%
hydro: 80%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption 
96.72 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports 
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports 
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products 
cotton, coffee, tobacco, manioc (tapioca), yams, millet, corn, bananas; timber
$166 million f.o.b. (2000)
Exports - commodities 
diamonds, timber, cotton, coffee, tobacco
Exports - partners 
Benelux 64%, Cote d'Ivoire, Spain, China, Egypt, France (1999)
$154 million f.o.b. (2000)
Imports - commodities 
food, textiles, petroleum products, machinery, electrical equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, industrial products
Imports - 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 (1995)
Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note - responsible authority is the Bank of the Central African States
Currency code 
Exchange rates 
Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XAF) per US dollar - 742.79 (January 2002), 733.04 (2001), 711.98 (2000), 615.70 (1999), 589.95 (1998), 583.67 (1997); note - from 1 January 1999, the XAF is pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 XAF per euro
Fiscal year 
calendar year


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)


0 km
total: 23,810 km
paved: 429 km
unpaved: 23,381 km (2000)
900 km
note: traditional trade carried on by means of shallow-draft dugouts; Oubangui is the 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
51 (2001)
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 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: 845,182 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service 
males age 15-49: 442,220 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure 
$29 million (FY96)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 
2.2% (FY96)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international