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Central African Republic
Introduction | Geography | People | Government | Economy | Communication | Transportation | Military

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Economy

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 2%. Ongoing violence between the government and rebel military groups over pay issues, living conditions, and political representation has destroyed many businesses in the capital and reduced tax revenues for the government. The IMF approved an Extended Structure Adjustment Facility in 1998. The government has set targets of annual 5% growth and 2.5% inflation for 2000-2001.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $5.8 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 5% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,700 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 53%
industry: 21%
services: 26% (1997 est.)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.6% (1999 est.)

Labor force: NA

Unemployment rate: 6% (1993)

Budget:
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 - production: 105 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 19.05%
hydro: 80.95%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 98 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)

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

Exports: $195 million (f.o.b., 1999)

Exports - commodities: diamonds, timber, cotton, coffee, tobacco

Exports - partners: Benelux 36%, Cote d'Ivoire 5%, Spain 4%, Egypt 3%, France (1997)

Imports: $170 million (f.o.b., 1999)

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

Imports - partners: France 30%, Cote d'Ivoire 18%, Cameroon 11%, Germany 4%, Japan (1997)

Debt - external: $790 million (1999 est.)

Economic aid - recipient: $172.2 million (1995); note - traditional budget subsidies from France

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

Exchange rates: Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (CFAF) per US$1 - 647.25 (January 2000), 615.70 (1999), 589.95 (1998), 583.67 (1997), 511.55 (1996), 499.15 (1995)
note: since 1 January 1999, the CFAF is pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 CFA francs per euro

Fiscal year: calendar year



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