Region: Central Africa
Population: 4,434,873 (July 2008 est.)
Surface area: 622,984 sq km
Currency: CFA franc (XAF)
GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $700 (2007 est.)
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. President Ange-Felix Patasse's 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. Unrest in neighboring nations, Chad, Sudan, and the DRC, continues to affect stability in the Central African Republic as well.
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 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 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. Distribution of income is extraordinarily unequal. Grants from France and the international community can only partially meet humanitarian needs.
Major Export Commodities: diamonds, timber, cotton, coffee, tobacco
Remittances: Not available
Human Development Index 2007/2008 ranking: 171 out of 177
Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners: Net ODA in 2006 was US $ 65.26 million. Major development partners include the IDA, France, the United States, and the European Community.
Total External Debt: US $1.153 billion (2007 est.)
United Nations membership date: 20 September 1960
New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of the Central African Republic to the United Nations
51 Clifton Avenue, Suite 2008
Newark, N.J. 07104
CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. www.cia.gov
World Development Indicators. World Bank www.worldbank.org
Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. www.oecd.org
Human Development Report 2007/2008.United Nations Development Programme. www.undp.org
Updated June 2008