Central African Republic

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Introduction - Central African Republic:
CountryCentral African Republic
BackgroundThe 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 PATASSEs 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.
Location - Central African Republic:
LocationCentral Africa, north of Democratic Republic of the Congo
Geographic coordinates7 00 N, 21 00 E
Map referencesAfrica
Areatotal: 622,984 sq km
land: 622,984 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area comparativeslightly smaller than Texas
Land boundariestotal: 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
Coastline0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claimsnone (landlocked)
Climatetropical; hot, dry winters; mild to hot, wet summers
Terrainvast, flat to rolling, monotonous plateau; scattered hills in northeast and southwest
Elevation extremeslowest point: Oubangui River 335 m
highest point: Mont Ngaoui 1,420 m
Natural resourcesdiamonds, uranium, timber, gold, oil, hydropower
Land usearable land: 3.1%
permanent crops: 0.15%
other: 96.75% (2005)
Irrigated land20 sq km (2003)
Natural hazardshot, dry, dusty harmattan winds affect northern areas; floods are common
Environment current issuestap water is not potable; poaching has diminished the countrys reputation as one of the last great wildlife refuges; desertification; deforestation
Environment international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography notelandlocked; almost the precise center of Africa
People - Central African Republic:
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 2007 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 41.6% (male 914,566/female 903,849)
15-64 years: 54.2% (male 1,174,520/female 1,195,364)
65 years and over: 4.1% (male 71,355/female 109,384) (2007 est.)
Median agetotal: 18.5 years
male: 18.2 years
female: 18.9 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate1.505% (2007 est.)
Birth rate33.52 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate18.46 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.012 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.983 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.652 male(s)/female
total population: 0.978 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 83.97 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 90.68 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 77.05 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 43.74 years
male: 43.69 years
female: 43.79 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate4.32 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Hiv aids adult prevalence rate13.5% (2003 est.)
Hiv aids people living with hiv aids260,000 (2003 est.)
Hiv aids deaths23,000 (2003 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Central African(s)
adjective: Central African
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis (2007)
Ethnic groupsBaya 33%, Banda 27%, Mandjia 13%, Sara 10%, Mboum 7%, MBaka 4%, Yakoma 4%, other 2%
Religionsindigenous beliefs 35%, Protestant 25%, Roman Catholic 25%, Muslim 15%
note: animistic beliefs and practices strongly influence the Christian majority
LanguagesFrench (official), Sangho (lingua franca and national language), tribal languages
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 51%
male: 63.3%
female: 39.9% (2003 est.)
Government - Central African Republic:
Country nameconventional 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
Government typerepublic
Capitalname: Bangui
geographic coordinates: 4 22 N, 18 35 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions14 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
Independence13 August 1960 (from France)
National holidayRepublic Day, 1 December (1958)
Constitutionratified by popular referendum 5 December 2004; effective 27 December 2004
Legal systembased on French law
Suffrage21 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President Francois BOZIZE (since 15 March 2003 coup)
head of government: Prime Minister Elie DOTE (since 13 June 2005); note - Celestin GAOMBALET resigned 11 June 2005
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%
Legislative branchunicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (109 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 - 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 branchSupreme 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 leadersAlliance 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 [Ange-Felix PATASSE] (the party of deposed president); National Convergence or KNK; Patriotic Front for Progress or FPP [Abel GOUMBA]; Peoples 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 leadersNA
Diplomatic representation in the uschief of mission: Ambassador Emmanuel TOUABOY
chancery: 1618 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 483-7800
FAX: [1] (202) 332-9893
Diplomatic representation from the uschief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge dAffaires James PANOS
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
Flag descriptionfour 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 - Central African Republic:
Economy overviewSubsistence 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 CARs 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.
Gdp purchasing power parity $4.998 billion (2006 est.)
Gdp official exchange rate $1.55 billion (2006 est.)
Gdp real growth rate3.5% (2006 est.)
Gdp per capita ppp $1,200 (2006 est.)
Gdp composition by sectoragriculture: 55%
industry: 20%
services: 25% (2001 est.)
Labor forceNA
Unemployment rate8% (23% for Bangui) (2001 est.)
Population below poverty lineNA%
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 0.7%
highest 10%: 47.7% (1993)
Distribution of family income gini index61.3 (1993)
Inflation rate consumer prices 3.6% (2001 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA
Agriculture productscotton, coffee, tobacco, manioc (tapioca), yams, millet, corn, bananas; timber
Industriesgold and diamond mining, logging, brewing, textiles, footwear, assembly of bicycles and motorcycles
Industrial production growth rate3% (2002)
Electricity production109 million kWh (2004)
Electricity consumption101.4 million kWh (2004)
Electricity exports0 kWh (2004)
Electricity imports0 kWh (2004)
Oil production0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil consumption2,420 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil exportsNA bbl/day
Oil importsNA bbl/day
Oil proved reserves0 bbl
Natural gas production0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas consumption0 cu m (2004 est.)
Exports$131 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports commoditiesdiamonds, timber, cotton, coffee, tobacco
Exports partnersBelgium 30.8%, Spain 10.7%, Indonesia 8%, France 7.8%, China 6.9%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 6%, Turkey 5%, Italy 4.7% (2006)
Imports$203 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports commoditiesfood, textiles, petroleum products, machinery, electrical equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals
Imports partnersFrance 15.4%, Netherlands 15.1%, US 9.2%, Cameroon 8.9% (2006)
Debt external$1.06 billion (2002 est.)
Economic aid recipientODA, $59.8 million; note - traditional budget subsidies from France (2002 est.)
Currency code Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note - responsible authority is the Bank of the Central African States
Exchange ratesCommunaute Financiere Africaine francs (XAF) per US dollar - 522.59 (2006), 527.47 (2005), 528.29 (2004), 581.2 (2003), 696.99 (2002)
Communications - Central African Republic:
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Telephones main lines in use10,000 (2005)
Telephones mobile cellular100,000 (2005)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: fair system
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)
Radio broadcast stationsAM 1, FM 5, shortwave 1 (2001)
Television broadcast stations1 (2001)
Internet country code.cf
Internet hosts10 (2006)
Internet users13,000 (2006)
Transportation - Central African Republic:
Airports50 (2006)
Airports with paved runwaystotal: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2006)
Airports with unpaved runwaystotal: 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 (2006)
Roadwaystotal: 23,810 km (1999)
Waterways2,800 km (primarily on the Oubangui and Sangha rivers) (2006)
Ports and terminalsBangui, Nola, Salo, Nzinga
Military - Central African Republic:
Military branchesCentral African Armed Forces (FACA): Ground Forces, Military Air Service, General Directorate of Gendarmerie Inspection (DGIG); National Police (2006)
Military service age and obligation18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; 2-year conscript service obligation (2006)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 18-49: 853,760
females age 18-49: 835,426 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 18-49: 416,091
females age 18-49: 383,056 (2005 est.)
Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (country of origin): 19,960 (Sudan), 3,325 (Democratic Republic of the Congo); note - UNHCR resumed repatriation of Southern Sudanese refugees in 2006
IDPs: 150,000 (ongoing unrest following coup in 2003) (2006)
Military expenditures percent of gdp1.1% (2006 est.)
Disputes internationalperiodic skirmishes over water and grazing rights among related pastoral populations along the border with southern Sudan persist
This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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