Central African Republic Country Profile – Economy

Last update on: 19 November 2020



From Cia Factbook (Page last updated on October 06, 2020)

Economy – overview:

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 estimated GDP, although statistics are unreliable in the conflict-prone country. Timber and diamonds account for most export earnings, followed by cotton. Important constraints to economic development include the CAR’s landlocked geography, poor transportation system, largely unskilled work force, and legacy of misdirected macroeconomic policies. Factional fighting between the government and its opponents remains a drag on economic revitalization. Distribution of income is highly unequal and grants from the international community can only partially meet humanitarian needs. CAR shares a common currency with the Central African Monetary Union. The currency is pegged to the Euro.

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 2011 election worsened CAR’s fiscal situation. In 2012, the World Bank approved $125 million in funding for transport infrastructure and regional trade, focused on the route between CAR’s capital and the port of Douala in Cameroon. In July 2016, the IMF approved a three-year extended credit facility valued at $116 million; in mid-2017, the IMF completed a review of CAR’s fiscal performance and broadly approved of the government’s management, although issues with revenue collection, weak government capacity, and transparency remain. The World Bank in late 2016 approved a $20 million grant to restore basic fiscal management, improve transparency, and assist with economic recovery.

Participation in the Kimberley Process, a commitment to remove conflict diamonds from the global supply chain, led to a partially lifted the ban on diamond exports from CAR in 2015, but persistent insecurity is likely to constrain real GDP growth.

GDP (official exchange rate): $1.937 billion (2017 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP):

$700 (2017 est.)

$700 (2016 est.)

$600 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Population below poverty line: 62% NA (2008 est.)

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

Industries: gold and diamond mining, logging, brewing, sugar refining

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ct.html


Other sources about Central African Republic Economy

From World Bank

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 estimated GDP, although statistics are unreliable in the conflict-prone country. Timber and diamonds account for most export earnings, followed by cotton. Important constraints to economic development include the CAR’s landlocked geography, poor transportation system, largely unskilled work force, and legacy of misdirected macroeconomic policies. Factional fighting between the government and its opponents remains a drag on economic revitalization. Distribution of income is highly unequal and grants from the international community can only partially meet humanitarian needs. CAR shares a common currency with the Central African Monetary Union. The currency is pegged to the Euro.

Years of insecurity have exerted a heavy toll on the country. Per capita income ranges between $550-700 annual, although the World Bank states that the last household income survey was done in 2008.[i] Livestock availability is less than 50% of the pre-crisis levels, and infrastructure damaged the fishing industry to 40% of its previous capacity. The formerly lucrative cotton and coffee sectors are now essentially non-existent. Disrupted markets led to soaring food prices, resulting in purchasing power decreasing about one third in 2015. Unemployment is high and the population in the north is particularly marginalized. 

The wildlife in CAR is also in danger. According to one observer:

  • Commercial poaching and wildlife trafficking, committed by heavily armed groups moving across borders as well as local actors, has greatly impacted the area. Significant pressures from transboundary pastoralism and local mining were documented…(yet) The vast magnificent savanna, forests, wooded savannas, and deep rivers habitats remain largely intact with potential for recovery of wildlife populations if urgent and robust conservation security measures are taken in this strategic area…

[i] The World Bank. (2019). The World Bank in the Central African Republic. Based on data set released 2019-11-25 and accessed 2020-09-23 at https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/centralafricanrepublic/overview Terms of use https://www.worldbank.org/en/about/legal/terms-and-conditions.



These products are the results of academic research and intended for general information and awareness only. They include the best information publicly available at the time of publication. Routine efforts are made to update the materials; however, readers are encouraged to check the specific mission sites at https://minusca.unmissions.org/en or https://peacekeeping.un.org/en/mission/minusca.

Index

Executive Summary / Current Political and Security Dynamics / Recent Situation Updates

Central African Republic Country Profile

Government/Politics / Geography / Military&Security / Economy / Social / Information / Infrastructure

United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA)

Senior Leaders of the Mission / Mandate / Strength / Deployment of Forces / Casualties / Mission’s Poltical Activities / ​​​​​​​Security Council Reporting and mandate cycles / Background / Timeline

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