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macrohistory & world report

Central African Republic

Map of Central African Republic

The landlocked Central African Republic (capital Bangui) and neighboring states

World Factbook as of October 2014: "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."

Economic growth rate
2011: 4.1%
2010: 3.3%
2009: 1.7%

Agriculture products
Cotton, coffee, tobacco, manioc (tapioca), yams, millet, corn, bananas; timber

Industries
Gold and diamond mining, logging, brewing, textiles, footwear, assembly of bicycles and motorcycles

Export commodities
Diamonds, timber, cotton, coffee, tobacco

Export partners
2009: Belgium 25.6%, China 17.5%, Morocco 12.1%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 8.1%, France 6.1%, Indonesia 4.9%

Export/import ratio
2011: exports $168.7 million, imports $378.1 million

Health expenditures
2009: 4.3% of GDP

People

Living in an urban area
2010: 39%

Ethnic groups
Baya 33%, Banda 27%, Mandjia 13%, Sara 10%, Mboum 7%, M'Baka 4%, Yakoma 4%, other 2%

Export/import ratio
2011: exports $168.7 million, imports $378.1 million

Health expenditures
2009: 4.3% of GDP

People

Living in an urban area
2010: 39%

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

Literacy (age 15 and over and can read and write)
2011: males 69.6%, females 42.2%
2000: males 64.8%, females 33.5%

Geography

Central Africa, south of Chad, north of Democratic Republic of the Congo. Landlocked, tropical and slightly smaller than Texas.

Recent History

A former colony of France (Ubangi-Shari), the republic became independent in 1960. This was followed by three decades of mostly military misrule and civilian rule from 1993 to March 2003.

Dec 18, 2008: The World Factbook writes that the government "does not fully control the countryside, where pockets of lawlessness persist." It adds that "unrest in neighboring nations, Chad, Sudan, and the DRC, continues to affect stability in the Central African Republic as well." The BBC writes of bands of bandits roaming the countryside, killing people. "In the last couple of years," according to the BBC, "tens of thousands of people in the CAR's countryside have fled their homes in terror at bandit raids."

March 24, 2013: President Bozize has been afraid of maintaining a strong army, fearing that a strong military might overthrow him. Today he is overthrown by a coalition rebel forces. BBC News reports, "The rebels joined a power-sharing government [with Bozize] in January after talks brokered by regional leaders to end a rebellion they launched last year. But the deal quickly collapsed, with the rebels saying their demands, including the release of political prisoners, had not been met."

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.