COUNTRIES BRIEFS Newsletter ISSN 1563-4108

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The former French colony of Ubangi-Shari became the Central African Republic upon independence in 1960.

It is located in Central Africa's region, north of Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Its total area: 622,984 sq. km (land: 622,984 sq. km Waterways: 800 km; Oubangui is the most important river)

Bordering countries are: in the West: Cameroon (over 797 km); in the North: Chad (over 1,197 km); in the South: the Democratic Republic of the Congo (over 1,577 km); in the Southwest: the Republic of the Congo (over 467 km); in the East: Sudan (over 1,165 km)

Its population: 4,095,140 (2006); population growth rate: 1.4% (2006)

Independence from France: August 13, 1960
National holiday: National Day: December 1, (1958 - proclamation of the republic) Constitution: passed by referendum 29 December 1994; adopted 7 January 1995

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

Agricultural productions: cotton, coffee, tobacco, manioc (tapioca), yams, millet, corn, bananas; timber

Industrial productions: diamond mining, sawmills, breweries, textiles, footwear, assembly of bicycles and motorcycles

Central African Republic - CAR - has plenty of natural resources to use and develop to enter the circle of prosperous countries. It is, however, rated amongst the poorest nations in the world. Three decades of mismanagement (1960-1992) - most of the time under military rule - and one decade of chronic unrest and political fights (1993- 2003) led the country to bankrupcy. The last coup dated back to March 2003 when Francois Bozize toppled president Ange Patassé. And now on this March 24, 2013, Bozize fled the country taken over by rebels forces that seized the capital city, Bangui

Doubtless, the chronic instability existing since 1960 made it difficult for successive CAR's governments to implement long term economic development strategy. Consequently, the country lack modern transportation network. Scarce financial means are used for security, Law and Order enforcement.

That lack of adequate transportation network is a bottleneck for the economic development of CAR. Indeed, fuel needed for motor cars, power stations etc.; is fully imported. 12 to 14 days of river transportation are necessary to reach CAR's capital city of Bangui (over 1,200 km of navigation alongside river's bank controlled by "unfriendly" population) from harbors and storage facilities located in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo,

CAR's economy is always under threat of strangulation. If, for one reason or another, fuel shipment arrivals are delayed - or canceled altogether; due to the volatile political situation prevailing in the two Congo's - the economy grinds down.

As observer of CAR's economy, one is astonished by the fact that exports to East Africa and Arabic Gulf region is quite nil (Exports - partners: Benelux 36%, Cote d'Ivoire 4%, Spain 4%, Egypt 3%, France 50% - (2011). That is an economic bad planning as it is a well known fact that these east African and Arabian regions are demanding for agricultural products and timber and are the gateway to Southeast Asia's financial and consumers big markets. CAR policy-makers should devote time and energy in establishing a viable transportation network for energy (fuel) supply either by pipeline or by railways transport system.

Click here for a "Strategic Economic Development Scheme for African countries.


1- D&B Export Guide To CAR
by Digital Delibery In PDF
2- Houses In The Rain Forest
Ethnicity And Inequality Among Farmers And Foragers In Central Africa / by Richard Grinker
3- Inside The Dzanga-Sangha Rain Forest
Exploring The Heart of Central Africa
by Francesca Lyman
4- Dark Age
The Political Odissey od Emperor Bokassa / by Brian Titley
5- Central African Republic In Pictures
Visual Geographic Series
by Thomas O'Toole
6- African Tales
Folklore of The Central African Republic
by Rodney Wimer / Polly Strong
7- The Central African Republic
The Continent Hidden Heart
by Thomas E. O'Toole
8- Freedom And Anarchy
by Eric S. PAckman
9- More News On CAR
by Yahoo!

Click to contact Dr. Bienvenu-Magloire Quenum



US$1.118 billion (2000); 1.566 billion (2006)
GNP-growth rate: 5% (1999); 3.5 (2000); 1.8% (2001); 0.8% (2003) 3.5% (2006)
GNP-per capita: US$ 320 (1999); 310 (2000); 295 (2003) 298 (2006); 250 (2010)

Click here for the difference between GNP and Parity Purchasing Power

GNP-composition by sector

  1. agriculture: 55%

  2. industry: 20%
  3. services: 25% (2006)

Exports: US$ 195 million (f.o.b., 1999); US$ 1.750 million (fob., 2006)
Commodities: diamonds, timber, cotton, coffee, tobacco

Imports: US$ 170 million (f.o.b., 1999); US$ 1.850 (fob;, 2006)
Commodities: food, textiles, petroleum products, machinery, electrical equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, industrial products




Visas are required by all except national of France, Germany, Israel and Switzerland. Visas are issued generally within 24 hours but are expensive. Where there is no Central African Republic embassy the French embassy will often issue visas.

Visa extensions can be obtained from the immigration office in Bangui. For more contact one of the following addresses
Tourism Office - OCATOUR
Office centrafricain du tourisme
Rue Roger Guérillot
P.O.Box 645
Tel: +(236) 61.45.66
Representation in the US
1618 22nd Street NW,
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: +(1) 202 483-7800
Fax:+(1) 202 332-9893
Embassy in Belgium
416 Lambermont
B1330 Brussels
Tel : +(32) 2 242 2880 / 215 1311
Embassy in France
30, rue Perchamps
F 75016 Paris
Tel : +(33) 1 42 24 42 56
Fax : +(33) 1 42 88 98 95


Air-Gabon, Cameroon Airlines, Air-France

Three main rivers flow between the Central African Republic and surrounding countries: the Republic of Congo and The Democratic Republic of Congo; they are the Oubangui River, the Sangha and Mpoko Rivers used for bulk transportation of various commodities and fuel by ferries and tankers. Navigability is possible only during the rainy season, from May to October.

The main river-port is located at the Capital-City Bangui. It handles most of energy (fuel) and other imported goods. Its characteristics are: haulage /capacity : 350 000 metric tons; 350 m of linear berthing facility; 24, 000 m2 of storage capacity.


Diamond International Bourse
Bourse internationale de diamant de
Ministère ressources énergétiques minérales
P.O. Box: 26
Tel: +(236) 61 58 63
Fax:+(236) 61 60 76
Oil Marketing and Distribution
Petroca Société pétrolière
P.O. Box: 724
Tel: +(236) 61 79 46 / 61 75 97
Fax: +(236) 61 71 04
Agriculture Development Agency
A.C.D.A. (Agence Centrafricaine de Développement Agricole)
P.O. Box: 997
Avenue D. Dacko
Tel: +(236) 61 71 48
Fax: +(236) 61 47 16
Chamber of Commerce,
Industry and Mines

P.O. Box: 813
Tel: +(236) 61 16 68
Fax: +(236) 61 35 70
Rivers Transportation Agency
Agence centrafricaine des communications fluviales (ACCF)
P.O. Box: 822
Tel: +(236) 61 09 67
Telex 5256 RC
Transport Development Office
Projet Sectoriel de Transports (PST)
P.O. Box: 941
Tel: +(236) 61 62 94
Fax: +(236) 61 65 79
Telex 5267 RC

Facilities for tourism are limited. The Dzanga-Sangha National Park, a primeval rain forest in the southwestern region of the country, is an interesting site for eco-tourism. Hunting expeditions are available through licensed companies in the Central African Republic.(See for instance the Manovo s.a address below listed)

Most remote areas in the country are accessible only by four-wheel drive vehicles, although some roads are not passable at all during the rainy season - May through October.

There are very few hotels equipped to international standards in the Capital -City Bangui. Contact following addresses for more.

Tourism Office - OCATOUR
Office centrafricain du tourisme
Rue Roger Guérillot
P.O.Box 645
Tel: +(236) 61 45 66
Hôtel du Centre
Avenue Giscard d'Estaing
P.O.Box 1015
Tel: +(236) 61 02 79
Fax: +(236) 61 47 90
Telex: 5297 RC
Manovo s.a.
Avenue Boganda
P.O.Box 957
Tel: +(236) 61 66 77
Fax: +(236) 61 68 82
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