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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 but lasted only a decade. In March 2003, President Ange-Felix PATASSE was deposed in a military coup led by General Francois BOZIZE, who established a transitional government. Elections held in 2005 affirmed General BOZIZE as president; he was reelected in 2011 in voting widely viewed as flawed. The government still lacks full control of the countryside, where lawlessness persists. Several rebel groups joined together in early December 2012 to launch a series of attacks that left them in control of numerous towns in the northern and central parts of the country. The rebels - unhappy with BOZIZE's government - participated in peace talks in early January 2013 which resulted in a coalition government including the rebellion's leadership. In March 2013, the coalition government dissolved, rebels seized the capital, and President BOZIZE fled the country. Rebel leader Michel DJOTODIA assumed the presidency and the following month established a National Transitional Council (CNT). In January 2014, the CNT elected Catherine SAMBA-PANZA as interim president. Elections completed in March 2016 installed independent candidate Faustin-Archange TOUADERA as president; he continues to work towards peace between the government and armed groups, and is developing a disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, and repatriation (DDRR) program to reintegrate the armed groups into society.


Central Africa, north of Democratic Republic of the Congo

Natural Resources

diamonds, uranium, timber, gold, oil, hydropower

Population - distribution

majority of residents live in the western and central areas of the country, especially in and around the capital of Bangui

French (official), Sangho (lingua franca and national language), tribal languages
BANGUI (capital) 794,000 (2015)
Conventional long form
Central African Republic
Conventional short form
Local long form
Republique Centrafricaine
Local short form
presidential republic
Geographic coordinates
4 22 N, 18 35 E
Time difference
UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Subsistence agriculture, together with forestry and mining, 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 and diamonds account for most export earnings, followed by cotton. Important constraints to economic development include the CAR's landlocked geography, poor transportation system, largely unskilled work force, and 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.
External debt stocks
US$ 661,851,000
Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
Real Interest Rate
Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
Current Account Balance
US$ -24,675,584
Labor Force, Total
Employment in Agriculture
Employment in Industry
Employment in Services
Unemployment Rate
Imports of goods and services
US$ 527,084,436
Exports of goods and services
US$ 223,454,294
Total Merchandise Trade
FDI, net inflows
US$ 3,000,000
Commercial Service Exports
US$ 0
cotton, coffee, tobacco, cassava (manioc, tapioca), yams, millet, corn, bananas; timber
gold and diamond mining, logging, brewing, sugar refining
diamonds, timber, cotton, coffee
Norway 52.2%, China 14.1%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 8.3% (2015)
food, textiles, petroleum products, machinery, electrical equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals
Norway 39.3%, France 6.8%, US 4.6% (2015)
Country Risk Rating
The highest-risk political and economic situation and the most difficult business environment. Corporate default is likely.
Business Climate Rating
The highest possible risk in terms of business climate. Due to a lack of available financial information and an unpredictable legal system, doing business in this country is extremely difficult.
  • Agricultural potential, silviculture and mineral wealth (diamonds, gold and uranium)
  • Significant international financial support
  • Economy vulnerable to external shocks
  • Poor transport infrastructure and inadequate power production capacity
  • Landlocked
  • Unstable political and security situations, increasing religious tensions
  • Presence of several armed foreign rebel groups (in particular the Ugandan ADF rebels)

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