Economy in Central African Republic

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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 half of GDP. Timber has accounted for about 16% of export earnings and the diamond industry for nearly 54%. 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. The 50% devaluation of the currencies of 14 Francophone African nations on 12 January 1994 had mixed effects on the CAR's economy. Diamond timber coffee and cotton exports increased leading an estimated rise of GDP of 7% in 1994 and nearly 5% in 1995. Military rebellions and social unrest in 1996 were accompanied by widespread destruction of property and a drop in GDP of 1%. Ongoing violence between the government and rebel military groups over pay issues living conditions and political representation has destroyed many businesses in the capital reduced tax revenues for the government and delayed negotiations for an IMF financial aid agreement.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$3.3 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: NA%

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$1 000 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:

agriculture: 50%

industry: 14%

services: 36% (1994 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 4% (1996 est.)

Labor force: NA

Unemployment rate: 6% (1993)


revenues: $638 million

expenditures: $1.9 billion including capital expenditures of $888 million (1994 est.)

Industries: diamond mining sawmills breweries textiles footwear assembly of bicycles and motorcycles

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity—capacity: 43 000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 100 million kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 31 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: cotton coffee tobacco manioc (tapioca) yams millet corn bananas; timber


total value: $171 million (f.o.b. 1995)

commodities: diamonds timber cotton coffee tobacco

partners: France 16% Belgium-Luxembourg 40.1% Italy Japan US Spain Iran Democratic Republic of the Congo Republic of the Congo


total value: $174 million (f.o.b. 1995)

commodities: food textiles petroleum products machinery electrical equipment motor vehicles chemicals pharmaceuticals consumer goods industrial products

partners: France 37% other EU countries Japan 24% Algeria Cameroon Namibia

Debt—external: $890 million (1994 est.)

Economic aid:

recipient: ODA $NA; traditional budget subsidies from France

Currency: 1 Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (CFAF) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: CFA francs (CFAF) per US$1—608.36 (January 1998) 583.67 (1997) 511.55 (1996) 499.15 (1995) 555.20 (1994) 283.16 (1993)

note: beginning 12 January 1994 the CFA franc was devalued to CFAF 100 per French franc from CFAF 50 at which it had been fixed since 1948

Fiscal year: calendar year

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