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Central African Republic

In the centre of Africa lies the Central African Republic. It borders Chad, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo and Cameroon. Formerly called Ubangi-Shari, the Central African Republic received its independence from the French in 1960. This country faced various political problems, with three decades of misrule that ended in 1993. Civilian rule was established in 1993 and ended in 2003 when General Bolize led a military coup. While the government has adequate control in the capital city, called Bangui, it does not fully control the countryside just yet. This country is filled with virgin rainforests and a variety of wildlife. In fact, some of the highest densities of lowland gorillas and forest

elephants in Africa are found in the Central African Republic. In the early 1900s, the city of Bangui was a village on the shores of River Ubangi. Over the years, it expanded into a larger town filled with modern buildings. Bangui is known for its emphasis on arts and crafts. The vibrant Central Market, known for its malachite necklaces, the Boganda Museum and the Arts of Crafts School are some of this city's attractions. This region of Africa houses some attractive forests, national parks and wildlife as well as waterfalls. It is well drained by two river systems, including the Ubangi River. As with other African cultures, traditional music and dancing plays an important role in this society. The culture of the Central African Republic has some resemblances to the cultures of the neighbouring countries. 
CATEGORIES: Demographics - Quick Facts - Economy - Communications - Health Issues
Country Flag: Central African Republic Flag

Four equal horizontal bands of blue (top), white, green, and yellow with a vertical red band in center; a yellow five-pointed star on the hoist side of the blue band

Nationality: Central African

Capital: Bangui

Population: 4,303,356 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 41.9%
  • 15-64 years: 53.9%
  • 65 years and over: 4.2% (2006 est.)  

Population growth rate: 1.53% (2006 est.)

Literacy rate:

  • ages 15 and above can read and write.
  • 51% of the population is literate (male: 63.3%, female: 39.9%) (2003 est.)

Major 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

Quick Facts
  • total:622,984 sq km
  • land:622,984 sq km
  • water: 0 sq km

Area comparative to Canadian province: slightly smaller than Alberta

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

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


The backbone of the economy of the Central African Republic (CAR) is largely subsistence agriculture, along with forestry, with the agricultural sector generating half of the GDP. Over 70% of this country’s population lives in remote areas. Timber accounts to approximately 16% of export earnings and the diamond industry accounts for 40% of these earnings. The economic development of this country is limited due to its landlocked position, a poor transportation system, an unskilled work force and some misdirected macroeconomic policies. The political disagreements between the government and its opponents continue to affect the economic growth of this republic. The distribution of income is extremely unequal in the Central African Republic.

Major industries:

  • textiles
  • gold and diamond mining
  • logging
  • brewing
  • footwear
  • assembly of bicycles and motorcycles

Agricultural products:

  • cotton
  • coffee
  • tobacco
  • manioc (tapioca)
  • yams
  • millet
  • corn
  • bananas
  • timber

Oil production: 0 bbl/day (2003)

Railways: N/A

Road map: 23,810 km

Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc


Telephone lines in use: 10,000 (2004)

Cellular lines in use: 60,000 (2004)

Television Stations: 1 (2001)

Radio Stations: AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 1 (2002)

Internet users: 9,000 (2005)

Health Issues

HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 13.5% (2003 est.)

People living with HIV/AIDS: 260,000 (2003 est.)

More Information

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