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Central African Republic (Republique Centrafricaine)
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Capital City: Bangui

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Central African Republic

Background:  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.

Geography Central African Republic

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

Geographic coordinates:  7 00 N, 21 00 E

Map references:  Africa

Area:  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

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:
Mont Ngaoui 1,420 m

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

Land use:  arable land: 3% permanent crops: 0% other: 97% (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

People Central African Republic

Population:  3,642,739 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:   45.13 years (2002 est.)  male: 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.)

Nationality:  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% note: animistic beliefs and practices strongly influence the
Christian majority

Languages:  French (official), Sangho (lingua franca and national
language), tribal languages

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

Government Central African Republic

Country name:   Central African Republic conventional short form:  local
long form: Republique Centrafricaine abbreviation: CAR

Government type:  republic

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:  Republic Day, 1 December (1958)

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

Legal system:  based on French law

Suffrage:  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:  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:  NA

International organization participation:  ACCT, ACP, AfDB, BDEAC, CCC,
IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC (observer),

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 Central African Republic

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.)

Population below poverty line:  NA%

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:  NA

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

Budget:  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 - production:  104 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 20.19% hydro: 79.81%
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

Exports:  $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)

Imports:  $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

Currency:  Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note - responsible
authority is the Bank of the Central African States

Currency code:  XAF

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

Communications Central African Republic

Telephones - main lines in use:  10,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  570 (1997)

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 0, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2001)

Radios:  283,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  1 (2001)

Televisions:  18,000 (1997)

Internet country code:  .cf

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  1 (2000)

Internet users:  1,500 (2001)

Transportation Central African Republic

Railways:  0 km

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

Waterways:  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

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 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: 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 Central African Republic

Disputes - international:  none

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002




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