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Central African Republic


    • Overview:
      Subsistence agriculture, together with forestry, remains the backbone of the CAR economy, with more than 70% of the population living in outlying areas. The agricultural sector generates about half of GDP. Timber has accounted for about 26% of export earnings and the diamond industry for 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. A major plus is the large forest reserves, which the government is moving to protect from overexploitation. The 50% devaluation of the currencies of 14 Francophone African nations on 12 January 1994 had mixed effects on CAR's economy. While diamond, timber, coffee, and cotton exports increased - leading GDP to increase by 5.5% - inflation rose to 40%, fueled by the rising prices of imports on which the economy depends. CAR's poor resource base and primitive infrastructure will keep it dependent on multilateral donors and France for the foreseeable future.

    • National product:
      GDP - purchasing power parity - $2.2 billion (1994 est.)

    • National product real growth rate:
      5.5% (1994 est.)

    • National product per capita:
      $700 (1994 est.)

    • Inflation rate (consumer prices):
      40% (1994 est.)

    • Unemployment rate:
      30% (1988 est.) in Bangui

    • Budget:

        revenues:
        $175 million

        expenditures:
        $312 million, including capital expenditures of $122 million (1991 est.)

    • Exports:
      $123.5 million (f.o.b., 1992)

        commodities:
        diamonds, timber, cotton, coffee, tobacco

        partners:
        France, Belgium, Italy, Japan, US

    • Imports:
      $165.1 million (f.o.b., 1992)

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

        partners:
        France, other EC countries, Japan, Algeria

    • External debt:
      $859 million (1991)

    • Industrial production:
      growth rate 4% (1990 est.); accounts for 14% of GDP

    • Electricity:

        capacity:
        40,000 kW

        production:
        100 million kWh

        consumption per capita:
        29 kWh (1993)

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

    • Agriculture:
      self-sufficient in food production except for grain; commercial crops - cotton, coffee, tobacco, timber; food crops - manioc, yams, millet, corn, bananas

    • Economic aid:

        recipient:
        US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-90), $52 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-90), $1.6 billion; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $6 million; Communist countries (1970-89), $38 million

    • Currency:
      1 CFA franc (CFAF) = 100 centimes

    • Exchange rates:
      Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (CFAF) per US$1 - 529.43 (January 1995), 555.20 (1994), 283.16 (1993), 264.69 (1992), 282.11 (1991), 272.26 (1990)

        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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