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Central African Republic country facts

Central African Republic Africa Bangui 5,277,959 inhabitants 622,984 sq km 8.47 inhabitants/sq km Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) population evolution



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 and lasted for one 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 does not fully control the countryside, where pockets of lawlessness persist. The militant group the Lord's Resistance Army continues to destabilize southeastern Central African Republic, and 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 - who are 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, reappointed Nicolas TIANGAYE as Prime Minister, and established a transitional government on 31 March. On 13 April 2013, the National Transitional Council affirmed DJOTODIA as President.



Central Africa, north of Democratic Republic of the Congo

Geographic coordinates

7 00 N, 21 00 E

Area (sq km)

total: 622,984 sq km
land: 622,984 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative (sq km)

slightly smaller than Texas

Land boundaries (km)

total: 5,920 km
border countries: Cameroon 901 km, Chad 1,556 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 1,747 km, Republic of the Congo 487 km, Sudan country facts" data-cl-code="SDS">South Sudan 1,055 km, Sudan 174 km

Coastline (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 (m)

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: 2.89%
permanent crops: 0.13%
other: 96.98% (2011)

Irrigated land (sq km)

1.35 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources (cu km)

144.4 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural) ()

total: 0.07 cu km/yr (83%/17%/1%)
per capita: 17.42 cu m/yr (2005)

Natural hazards

hot, dry, dusty harmattan winds affect northern areas; floods are common

Environment - current issues

tap water is not potable; poaching has diminished the country's reputation as one of the last great wildlife refuges; desertification; deforestation

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography - note

landlocked; almost the precise center of Africa

People and Society


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%

Languages (%)

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

Religions (%)

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


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, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2014 est.)   evolution and prospects (1950-2100)

Age structure (%)

0-14 years: 40.6% (male 1,077,247/female 1,064,660)
15-24 years: 20.1% (male 534,257/female 528,822)
25-54 years: 31.8% (male 838,484/female 838,858)
55-64 years: 3.9% (male 91,696/female 115,600)
65 years and over: 3.6% (male 73,914/female 114,421) (2014 est.)

Age structure in Central African Republic

Median age (years)

total: 19.4 years
male: 19.1 years
female: 19.8 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate (%)

2.13% (2014 est.)

Birth rate (births/1,000 population)

35.45 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Death rate (deaths/1,000 population)

14.11 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Net migration rate (migrant(s)/1,000 population)

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Urbanization (%)

urban population: 39.1% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 2.6% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

BANGUI (capital) 740,000 (2011)

Sex ratio (male(s)/female)

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Maternal mortality rate (deaths/100,000 live births)

890 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate (deaths/1,000 live births)

total: 92.86 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 100.55 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 84.93 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth (years)

total population: 51.35 years
male: 50.06 years
female: 52.67 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate (children born/woman)

4.46 children born/woman (2014 est.)

Health expenditures (% of GDP)

3.8% of GDP (2011)

Physicians density (physicians/1,000 population)

0.05 physicians/1,000 population (2009)

Hospital bed density (beds/1,000 population)

1 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking water source (% of population)

improved: urban: 89.6% of population
rural: 54.4% of population
total: 68.2% of population
unimproved: urban: 10.4% of population
rural: 45.6% of population
total: 31.8% of population (2012 est.)

Sanitation facility access (% of population)

improved: urban: 43.6% of population
rural: 7.2% of population
total: 21.5% of population
unimproved: urban: 56.4% of population
rural: 92.8% of population
total: 78.5% of population (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate (%)

4.7% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

130,000 (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

11,000 (2009 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2013)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate (%)

3.5% (2008)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight (%)

28% (2006)

Education expenditures (% of GDP)

1.2% of GDP (2011)

Literacy (%)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 56.6%
male: 69.6%
female: 44.2% (2011 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) (years)

total: 7 years
male: 9 years
female: 6 years (2012)


Country name

conventional 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 type



name: Bangui
geographic coordinates: 4 22 N, 18 35 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

14 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


13 August 1960 (from France)

National holiday

Republic Day, 1 December (1958)


several previous; latest ratified by referendum 5 December 2004, effective 27 December 2004; amended 2010; note - the transitional parliament has begun work on a new constitution which should be ready for citizens feedback in early 2015 (2010)

Legal system

civil law system based on the French model

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Interim President Catherine SAMBA-PANZA (since 20 January 2014); elected by the National Transitional Council
head of government: Interim Prime Minister Andre NZAPAYEKE (since 25 January 2014); note - he replaced Prime Minister Nicolas TIANGAYE who resigned 10 January 2014
cabinet: Council of Ministers
elections: interim president was elected by the National Transitional Council on 20 January 2014; she will be in office until February 2015 at the new general elections
election results: in the second round Catherine SAMBA-PANZA was elected; SAMBA-PANZA 75 votes from the National Transitional Council, Desire KOLINGBA 53 votes (129 MPs out of 135 voted)
note: rebel forces seized the captial in March 2013, forcing former President BOZIZE to flee the country; Interim President Michel DJOTODIA assumed the presidency, reinstated the prime minister, established a transitional government and was subsequently affirmed as president by the National Transitional Council on 13 Apriil 2013; he resigned soon after because of racial violence in the country and was replced briefly by Interim President Alexandre-Ferdinand NGUENDET

Legislative branch

unicameral National Transitional Council to act as the National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (105 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 23 January 2011 and 27 March 2011 (next to be held in February 2015)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of NA judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges, at least 3 of which are women)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president; Constitutional Court judge appointments - 2 by the president, 1 by the speaker of the National Assembly, 2 elected by their peers, 2 are advocates elected by their peers, and 2 are law professors elected by their peers; judges serve 7-year non-renewable terms
subordinate courts: high courts; magistrates' courts

Political parties and leaders

Alliance for Democracy and Progress or ADP [Clement BELIBANGA]
Central African Democratic Rally or RDC [Louis-Pierre GAMBA]
Civic Forum or FC
Democratic Forum for Modernity or FODEM [Saturnin NDOMBY]
Liberal Democratic Party or PLD
Londo Association or LONDO
Movement for Democracy and Development or MDD
MaMovement for the Liberation of the Central African People or MLPC [Martin ZIGUELE ]
National Convergence or KNK [Francois BOZIZE]
National Unity Party or PUN
New Alliance for Progress or NAP [Jean-Jacques DEMAFOUTH]
Patriotic Front for Progress or FPP [Alexandre Philippe GOUMBA]
People's Union for the Republic or UPR [Pierre Sammy MAKFOY]
Social Democratic Party or PSD [Enoch LAKOUE]

Political pressure groups and leaders


International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Stanislas MOUSSA-KEMBE (since 24 August 2009)
chancery: 1618 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 483-7800
FAX: [1] (202) 332-9893

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Laurence D. WOHLERS (since September 2010)
embassy: Avenue David Dacko, Bangui
mailing address: B. P. 924, Bangui
telephone: [236] 21 61 02 00
FAX: [236] 21 61 44 94
note: the embassy temporarily suspended operations in December, 2012

Flag description

four equal horizontal bands of blue (top), white, green, and yellow with a vertical red band in center; a yellow five-pointed star to the hoist side of the blue band; banner combines the Pan-African and French flag colors; red symbolizes the blood spilled in the struggle for independence, blue represents the sky and freedom, white peace and dignity, green hope and faith, and yellow tolerance; the star represents aspiration towards a vibrant future

National symbol(s)


National anthem

name: "Le Renaissance" (The Renaissance)
lyrics/music: Barthelemy BOGANDA/Herbert PEPPER
note: adopted 1960; Barthelemy BOGANDA, who wrote the anthem's lyrics, was the first prime minister of the autonomous French territory


Economy - overview

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 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. Since 2009 the IMF has worked closely with the government to institute reforms that have resulted in some improvement in budget transparency, but other problems remain. The government's additional spending in the run-up to the election in 2011 worsened CAR's fiscal situation. Distribution of income is extraordinarily unequal. Grants from France and the international community can only partially meet humanitarian needs. In 2012 the World Bank approved $125 million in funding for transport infrastructure and regional trade, focused on the route between CAR's capital and the port of Douala in Cameroon. After a two year lag in donor support, the IMF's first review of CAR's extended credit facility for 2012-15 praised improvements in revenue collection but warned of weak management of spending.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$3.336 billion (2013 est.)
$3.902 billion (2012 est.)
$3.748 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$2.05 billion (2013 est.)

GDP - real growth rate (%)

-14.5% (2013 est.)
4.1% (2012 est.)
3.3% (2011 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$700 (2013 est.)
$900 (2012 est.)
$800 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP - composition, by sector of origin (%)

agriculture: 56.6%
industry: 14.5%
services: 28.9% (2013 est.)

Labor force

2.082 million (2011 est.)

Unemployment rate (%)

8% (2001 est.)
note: 23% unemployment in the capital, Bangui

Population below poverty line (%)


Household income or consumption by percentage share (%)

lowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 33% (2003)

Distribution of family income - Gini index

61.3 (1993)


revenues: $186.2 million
expenditures: $270.7 million (2013 est.)

Taxes and other revenues (% of GDP)

9.1% of GDP (2013 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) (% of GDP)

-4.1% of GDP (2013 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) (%)

7% (2013 est.)
5.8% (2012 est.)

Central bank discount rate (%)

4.25% (31 December 2009)
4.75% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate (%)

15% (31 December 2013 est.)
15% (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$308.3 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$337.7 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of broad money

$376.4 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$421.6 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$478.7 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$507.7 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares


Agriculture - products

cotton, coffee, tobacco, cassava (manioc, tapioca), yams, millet, corn, bananas; timber


gold and diamond mining, logging, brewing, sugar refining

Industrial production growth rate (%)

-11% (2013 est.)

Current account balance

-$133.8 million (2013 est.)
-$197.6 million (2012 est.)


$138.9 million (2013 est.)
$207.7 million (2012 est.)

Exports - commodities (%)

diamonds, timber, cotton, coffee

Exports - partners (%)

Belgium 31.7%, China 27.9%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 7.8%, Indonesia 5.2%, France 4.5% (2012)


$218.6 million (2013 est.)
$333.7 million (2012 est.)

Imports - commodities (%)

food, textiles, petroleum products, machinery, electrical equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals

Imports - partners (%)

Netherlands 20.3%, France 9.7%, Cameroon 9.1%, South Korea 9.1% (2012)

External debt ($)

$634.2 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$632.7 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Exchange rates

Currency converter
Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per US dollar -
500.7 (2013 est.)
510.53 (2012 est.)
495.28 (2010)
472.19 (2009)
447.81 (2008)

Fiscal year

calendar year


Electricity - production (kWh)

160 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - consumption (kWh)

148.8 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - exports (kWh)

0 kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - imports (kWh)

0 kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity (kW)

44,000 kW (2010 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels (% of total installed capacity)

43.2% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants (% of total installed capacity)

56.8% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Crude oil - production (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - exports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - imports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves (bbl)

0 bbl (1 January 2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption (bbl/day)

3,175 bbl/day (2011 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports (bbl/day)

2,318 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Natural gas - production (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - consumption (cu m)

0 cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - exports (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - imports (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves (cu m)

0 cu m (1 January 2013 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy (Mt)

293,900 Mt (2011 est.)


Telephones - main lines in use

5,600 (2012)

Telephones - mobile cellular

1.07 million (2012)

Telephone system

general assessment: network consists principally of microwave radio relay and low-capacity, low-powered radiotelephone communication
domestic: limited telephone service with less than 1 fixed-line connection per 100 persons; spurred by the presence of multiple mobile-cellular service providers, cellular usage is increasing from a low base; most fixed-line and mobile-cellular telephone services are concentrated in Bangui
international: country code - 236; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2011)

Broadcast media

government-owned network, Radiodiffusion Television Centrafricaine, provides domestic TV broadcasting; licenses for 2 private TV stations are pending; state-owned radio network is supplemented by a small number of privately owned broadcast stations as well as a few community radio stations; transmissions of at least 2 international broadcasters are available (2007)

Internet country code


Internet hosts

20 (2012)

Internet users

22,600 (2009)



39 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 37
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 11
914 to 1,523 m: 19
under 914 m: 6 (2013)

Roadways (km)

total: 20,278 km (2010)

Waterways (km)

2,800 km (the primary navigable river is the Ubangi, which joins the River Congo; it was the traditional route for the export of products because it connected with the Congo-Ocean railway at Brazzaville; because of the warfare on both sides of the River Congo from 1997, however, routes through Cameroon became preferred by importers and exporters) (2011)

Ports and terminals

river port(s): Bangui (Oubangui); Nola (Sangha)


Military branches

Central African Armed Forces (Forces Armees Centrafricaines, FACA): Ground Forces (includes Military Air Service), General Directorate of Gendarmerie Inspection (DGIG), National Police (2011)

Military service age and obligation (years of age)

18 years of age for selective military service; 2-year conscript service obligation (2012)

Manpower available for military service

males age 16-49: 1,149,856
females age 16-49: 1,145,897 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 16-49: 655,875
females age 16-49: 661,308 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually

male: 54,843
female: 53,999 (2010 est.)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

periodic skirmishes over water and grazing rights among related pastoral populations along the border with southern Sudan persist

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 10,992 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (2013)
IDPs: 551,600 (clashes between army and rebel groups since 2005; tensions between ethnic groups) (2014)

Trafficking in persons

current situation: Central African Republic (CAR) is a source and destination country for children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking and possibly women subjected to forced prostitution; most victims appear to be CAR citizens exploited within the country, and that a smaller number are transported back and forth between the CAR and Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and South Sudan; children are forced into domestic servitude, commercial sexual exploitation, agricultural labor, mining, and street vending; armed groups operating in the CAR, including the Lord's Resistance Army, continue to recruit and use children for military activities, while village self-defense units use children as combatants, lookouts, and porters
tier rating: Tier 3 - Central African Republic does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government does not investigate or prosecute any suspected cases of human trafficking, including the use of child soldiers; the government also fails to identify, provide protection to, or refer to service providers any trafficking victims; in collaboration with an NGO, the government has convened a working group to develop a national action plan to combat human trafficking (2013)

Largest cities of Central African Republic

These are the 50 largest cities of Central African Republic ordered based on their number of inhabitants.

# City Population
1 Bangui 684,190
2 Carnot 83,761
3 Mbaïki 76,350
4 Berbérati 59,963
5 Bimbo 55,849
6 Bouar 55,031
7 Bambari 54,783
8 Nola 53,270
9 Bria 47,190
10 Bossangoa 39,607
11 Bozoum 36,548
12 Bangassou 34,720
13 Sibut 32,547
14 Paoua 31,595
15 Mobaye 24,518
16 Ippy 24,274
17 Kembé 22,348
18 Boda 20,621
19 Alindao 20,125
20 Batangafo 19,810
21 Bouca 19,383
22 Kabo 17,683
23 Dekoa 17,390
24 Rafaï 16,814
25 Grimari 16,486
26 Damara 16,056
27 Obo 14,038
28 Bocaranga 14,002
29 Ndélé 11,941
30 Birao 11,833
31 Mongoumba 11,663
32 Bossembélé 11,518
33 Kouango 9,694
34 Baboua 9,034
35 Baoro 8,937
36 Gamboula 8,028
37 Zemio 7,453
38 Gambo 6,210
39 Ouadda 5,901
40 Ouango 5,453