Central African Republic

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 9, 2011
Flag of Central African Republic
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Location of Central African Republic
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Map of Central African Republic
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Introduction

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The former French colony of Ubangi-Shari became the Central African Republic upon independence in 1960. After three tumultuous decades of misrule - mostly by military governments - civilian rule was established in 1993 and lasted for one decade. President Ange-Felix PATASSE's civilian government was plagued by unrest, and in March 2003 he was deposed in a military coup led by General Francois BOZIZE, who established a transitional government. Though the government has the tacit support of civil society groups and the main parties, a wide field of candidates contested the municipal, legislative, and presidential elections held in March and May of 2005 in which General BOZIZE was affirmed as president. The government still does not fully control the countryside, where pockets of lawlessness persist. Unrest in the neighboring nations of Chad, Sudan, and the DRC continues to affect stability in the Central African Republic as well.
 
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Geography

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Central Africa, north of Democratic Republic of the Congo
 
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7 00 N, 21 00 E
 
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total: 622,984 sq km
country comparison to the world: 45
land: 622,984 sq km
water: 0 sq km
 
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slightly smaller than Texas
 
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total: 5,203 km
border countries: Cameroon 797 km, Chad 1,197 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 1,577 km, Republic of the Congo 467 km, South Sudan 990 km, Sudan 175 km
 
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0 km (landlocked)
 
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none (landlocked)
 
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tropical; hot, dry winters; mild to hot, wet summers
 
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vast, flat to rolling, monotonous plateau; scattered hills in northeast and southwest
 
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lowest point: Oubangui River 335 m
highest point: Mont Ngaoui 1,420 m
 
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diamonds, uranium, timber, gold, oil, hydropower
 
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arable land: 3.1%
permanent crops: 0.15%
other: 96.75% (2005)
 
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10 sq km (2008)
 
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144.4 cu km (2003)
 
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total: 0.03 cu km/yr (80%/16%/4%)
per capita: 7 cu m/yr (2000)
 
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hot, dry, dusty harmattan winds affect northern areas; floods are common
 
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tap water is not potable; poaching has diminished the country's reputation as one of the last great wildlife refuges; desertification; deforestation
 
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
 
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landlocked; almost the precise center of Africa
 
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People and Society

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noun: Central African(s)
adjective: Central African
 
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Baya 33%, Banda 27%, Mandjia 13%, Sara 10%, Mboum 7%, M'Baka 4%, Yakoma 4%, other 2%
 
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French (official), Sangho (lingua franca and national language), tribal languages
 
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indigenous beliefs 35%, Protestant 25%, Roman Catholic 25%, Muslim 15%
note: animistic beliefs and practices strongly influence the Christian majority
 
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4,950,027 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected
 
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0-14 years: 41% (male 1,021,144/female 1,007,819)
15-64 years: 55.3% (male 1,353,600/female 1,382,291)
65 years and over: 3.7% (male 73,977/female 111,196) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 19.2 years
male: 18.8 years
female: 19.6 years (2011 est.)
 
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2.146% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40
 
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36.46 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24
 
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15.01 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
 
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0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
 
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urban population: 39% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 2.5% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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BANGUI (capital) 702,000 (2009)
 
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at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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850 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 8
 
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total: 99.38 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 7
male: 107.34 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 91.17 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 50.07 years
country comparison to the world: 214
male: 48.84 years
female: 51.35 years (2011 est.)
 
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4.63 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31
 
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4.3% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 152
 
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0.08 physicians/1,000 population (2004)
country comparison to the world: 168
 
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1.2 beds/1,000 population (2006)
country comparison to the world: 136
 
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improved:
urban: 92% of population
rural: 51% of population
total: 67% of population
unimproved:
urban: 8% of population
rural: 49% of population
total: 33% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 43% of population
rural: 28% of population
total: 34% of population
unimproved:
urban: 57% of population
rural: 72% of population
total: 66% of population (2008)
 
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4.7% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
 
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130,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
 
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11,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
 
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degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2009)
 
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21.8% (2000)
country comparison to the world: 27
 
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1.3% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 160
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 48.6%
male: 64.8%
female: 33.5% (2000 est.)
 
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total: 7 years
male: 8 years
female: 5 years (2009)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: Central African Republic
conventional short form: none
local long form: Republique Centrafricaine
local short form: none
former: Ubangi-Shari, Central African Empire
abbreviation: CAR
 
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republic
 
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name: Bangui
geographic coordinates: 4 22 N, 18 35 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
 
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14 prefectures (prefectures, singular - prefecture), 2 economic prefectures* (prefectures economiques, singular - prefecture economique), and 1 commune**; Bamingui-Bangoran, Bangui**, Basse-Kotto, Haute-Kotto, Haut-Mbomou, Kemo, Lobaye, Mambere-Kadei, Mbomou, Nana-Grebizi*, Nana-Mambere, Ombella-Mpoko, Ouaka, Ouham, Ouham-Pende, Sangha-Mbaere*, Vakaga
 
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13 August 1960 (from France)
 
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Republic Day, 1 December (1958)
 
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ratified by popular referendum 5 December 2004; effective 27 December 2004
 
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civil law system based on the French model
 
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has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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chief of state: President Francois BOZIZE (since 15 March 2003 coup)
head of government: Prime Minister Faustin-Archange TOUADERA (since 22 January 2008)
cabinet: Council of Ministers
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: president elected for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); elections last held on 23 January 2011 (next to be held in 2016); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Francois BOZIZE elected to a second term as president; percent of vote - Francois BOZIZE (KNK) 64.4%, Ange-Felix PATASSE 21.4%, Martin ZIGUELE (MLPC) 6.8%, Emile Gros Raymond NAKOMBO (RDC) 4.6%, Jean-Jacques DEMAFOUTH (NAP) 2.8%
 
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unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (105 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 23 January 2011 and 27 March 2011 (next to be held in 2016)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - KNK 62, independents 26, MLPC 2, other 15
 
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Supreme Court or Cour Supreme; Constitutional Court (three judges appointed by the president, three by the president of the National Assembly, and three by fellow judges); Court of Appeal; Criminal Courts; Inferior Courts
 
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Alliance for Democracy and Progress or ADP [Jacques MBOLIEDAS]; Central African Democratic Rally or RDC [Andre KOLINGBA]; Civic Forum or FC [Gen. Timothee MALENDOMA]; Democratic Forum for Modernity or FODEM [Charles MASSI]; Liberal Democratic Party or PLD [Nestor KOMBO-NAGUEMON]; Londo Association or LONDO; Movement for Democracy and Development or MDD [David DACKO]; Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People or MLPC [Ange-Felix PATASSE] (the party of deposed president); National Convergence or KNK; National Unity Party or PUN [Jean-Paul NGOUPANDE]; New Alliance for Progress or NAP [Jean-Jacques DEMAFOUTH]; Patriotic Front for Progress or FPP [Abel GOUMBA]; People's Union for the Republic or UPR [Pierre Sammy MAKFOY]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Enoch LAKOUE]
 
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Monam (combating gender-base violence)
 
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ACP, AfDB, AU, BDEAC, CEMAC, FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (subscriber), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Stanislas MOUSSA-KEMBE
chancery: 1618 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 483-7800
FAX: [1] (202) 332-9893
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Laurence WOHLERS
embassy: Avenue David Dacko, Bangui
mailing address: B. P. 924, Bangui
telephone: [236] 61 02 00
FAX: [236] 61 44 94
note: the embassy is currently operating with a minimal staff
 
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four equal horizontal bands of blue (top), white, green, and yellow with a vertical red band in center; a yellow five-pointed star to the hoist side of the blue band; banner combines the Pan-African and French flag colors; red symbolizes the blood spilled in the struggle for independence, blue represents the sky and freedom, white peace and dignity, green hope and faith, and yellow tolerance; the star represents aspiration towards a vibrant future
 
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elephant
 
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name: "Le Renaissance" (The Renaissance)
lyrics/music: Barthelemy BOGANDA/Herbert PEPPER
note: adopted 1960; Barthelemy BOGANDA, who wrote the anthem's lyrics, was the first prime minister of the autonomous French territory
 
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Economy

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Subsistence agriculture, together with forestry, 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 GDP. Timber has accounted for about 16% of export earnings and the diamond industry, for 40%. 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. Factional fighting between the government and its opponents remains a drag on economic revitalization. Distribution of income is extraordinarily unequal. Grants from France and the international community can only partially meet humanitarian needs.
 
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$3.446 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171
$3.337 billion (2009 est.)
$3.281 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$2.018 billion (2010 est.)
 
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3.3% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114
1.7% (2009 est.)
2% (2008 est.)
 
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$700 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 222
$700 (2009 est.)
$700 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 53.8%
industry: 14.5%
services: 31.7% (2010 est.)
 
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1.926 million (2007)
country comparison to the world: 121
 
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8% (2001 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90
note: 23% unemployment for Bangui
 
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NA%
 
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lowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 33% (2003)
 
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61.3 (1993)
country comparison to the world: 7
 
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11.3% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 181
 
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revenues: $325.7 million
expenditures: $335.2 million (2010 est.)
 
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16.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 182
 
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-0.5% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 52
 
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1.5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 45
3.5% (2009 est.)
 
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4.25% (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 78
4.75% (31 December 2008)
 
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15% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 54
15% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$304.4 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 169
$288.8 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$365.1 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 180
$343.4 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$381.4 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171
$357.6 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$NA
 
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timber, cotton, coffee, tobacco, manioc (tapioca), yams, millet, corn, bananas; timber
 
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gold and diamond mining, logging, brewing, textiles, footwear, assembly of bicycles and motorcycles
 
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3% (2002)
country comparison to the world: 116
 
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160 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185
 
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148.8 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 190
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 141
 
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2,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185
 
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163
 
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2,418 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 177
 
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0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 177
 
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0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125
 
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-$168.4 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 83
-$181.9 million (2009 est.)
 
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$152.5 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 184
$123.9 million (2009 est.)
 
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diamonds, timber, cotton, coffee, tobacco
 
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Belgium 25.6%, China 17.5%, Morocco 12.1%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 8.1%, France 6.1%, Indonesia 4.9% (2010)
 
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$312.2 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 194
$270.9 million (2009 est.)
 
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food, textiles, petroleum products, machinery, electrical equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals
 
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Netherlands 27.8%, France 11.9%, Cameroon 8.3%, China 5.1% (2010)
 
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$186 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
$210.6 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$402.8 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 168
$396 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per US dollar -
495.28 (2010)
472.19 (2009)
481.8 (2007)
522.59 (2006)
 
 
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Communications

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12,000 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 201
 
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1.02 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 151
 
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general assessment: network consists principally of microwave radio relay and low-capacity, low-powered radiotelephone communication
domestic: limited telephone service with less than 1 fixed-line connection per 100 persons; spurred by the presence of multiple mobile-cellular service providers, cellular usage is increasing from a low base; most fixed-line and mobile-cellular telephone services are concentrated in Bangui
international: country code - 236; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2008)
 
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government-owned network, Radiodiffusion Television Centrafricaine, provides domestic TV broadcasting; licenses for 2 private TV stations are pending; state-owned radio network is supplemented by a small number of privately-owned broadcast stations as well as a few community radio stations; transmissions of at least 2 international broadcasters are available (2007)
 
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.cf
 
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20 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 218
 
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22,600 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 192
 
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Transportation

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37 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 106
 
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total: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2010)
 
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total: 35
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 12
914 to 1,523 m: 16
under 914 m: 6 (2010)
 
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total: 24,307 km (2000)
country comparison to the world: 105
 
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2,800 km (the primary navigable river is the Ubangi, which joins the River Congo; it was the traditional route for the export of products because it connected with the Congo-Ocean railway at Brazzaville; because of the warfare on both sides of the River Congo from 1997, however, routes through Cameroon became preferred by importers and exporters) (2010)
country comparison to the world: 34
 
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Bangui, Nola, Salo, Nzinga
 
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Military

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Central African Armed Forces (Forces Armees Centrafricaines, FACA): Ground Forces (includes Military Air Service), General Directorate of Gendarmerie Inspection (DGIG), National Police (2011)
 
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18 years of age for selective military service; 2-year conscript service obligation (2010)
 
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males age 16-49: 1,149,856
females age 16-49: 1,145,897 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 655,875
females age 16-49: 661,308 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 54,843
female: 53,999 (2010 est.)
 
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0.9% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 141
 
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Transnational Issues

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periodic skirmishes over water and grazing rights among related pastoral populations along the border with southern Sudan persist
 
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refugees (country of origin): 7,900 (Sudan); 3,700 (Democratic Republic of the Congo); note - UNHCR resumed repatriation of Southern Sudanese refugees in 2006
IDPs: 197,000 (ongoing unrest following coup in 2003) (2007)
 
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current situation: Central African Republic is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation; the majority of victims are children trafficked within the country for sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, street vending, and forced agricultural, mine, market and restaurant labor; to a lesser extent, children are trafficked from the Central African Republic to Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo; rebels continue to abduct and exploit enslaved Sudanese, Congolese, Central African, and Ugandan children for use as cooks, porters, concubines, and combatants
tier rating: Tier 3 - Central African Republic does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; the government, which has limited human and physical capital, did not investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses, identify or provide protective services to trafficking victims, or take steps to raise public awareness about the dangers of human trafficking; the revised Central African penal code, enacted in January 2010, outlaws all forms of trafficking in persons, but awareness of this statute remains low (2011)
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