Central African Republic Economy Facts

Economical overview

Despite large assets of diamonds, forests, gold and uranium, the Central African Republic is one of the world’s poorest countries. The country’s closed position, without its own coast, also impedes economic development, as well as poor infrastructure and recurring drought. In addition, corruption is widespread in both business and government.

However, the most serious obstacle to economic development has been political instability since independence in 1960 with coups, civil war and periods of dictatorship.

  • Countryaah.com: Major imports by Central African Republic, covering a full list of top products imported by the country and trade value for each product category.

On the World Bank’s ranking list of business opportunities in the countries of the world, the Central African Republic in 2015 ended up in place 187 of 189.

The basis of the economy consists of agriculture, forestry, fishing and livestock management on a small scale. Under normal circumstances, more than half the population feed on these industries, and more than half the gross domestic product (GDP) comes from the agricultural sector. Cotton, coffee. Cocoa and rubber are the most important export crops, but the profits are small. Agricultural exports are sensitive to price fluctuations in the world’s commodity markets.

The industrial sector is small and undeveloped. The existing factories are mainly engaged in the manufacture of textiles and the processing of agricultural products.

  • Abbreviationfinder.org: Check this abbreviation website to find three letter ISO codes for all countries in the world, including CAF which represents the country of Central African Republic. Check findjobdescriptions to learn more about Central African Republic.

The burden of debt eases

The Central African Republic has long had a deficit in the state budget as a result of low tax revenues, large payroll debt to government employees and other debts. At the end of the first decade of the 2000s, it began to look brighter and in 2010 marked marked improvements in government finances. This was partly due to improved government control and an increased collection of income taxes and VAT. Another important reason was that the country had received increased aid a few years ago and that several aid donors began to write down the value of the country’s debts or to neglect them completely. As a result, foreign debt decreased dramatically. A few years into the 2000s, the total foreign debt was one billion dollars – in 2009 it was down to $ 222 million.

However, the civil war that erupted in 2012 destroyed the small progress achieved. Agricultural production dropped drastically when farmers were forced to flee their lands and lose their livelihood. Livestock was seized by gangsters. Companies were looted and infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc.) destroyed.

Growth deep

There are no sure fresh figures for the country’s GDP. But it is estimated that growth fell by up to 40 percent in 2014. Prior to the fighting, it had been at about 4 percent annually.

The conflict also hit hard on the legitimate diamond trade. Under normal conditions, diamonds are the country’s most important export product, and diamond export tax is one of the state’s most important sources of income, but during the conflict, militia groups took control of much of the diamond extraction, leading to an international export ban on diamonds from the Central African Republic (see Natural Resources and Energy). Thus, the state loses important income. Instead, quantities of diamonds are smuggled out of the country.

The drastically reduced economic activity has reduced the tax base to almost zero. Even under more normal conditions, it is difficult to collect taxes as most of the country is beyond the government’s control. The state is hanging out with aid and loans from abroad.

This does not mean that Central Africans avoid tax. Instead, it is militia groups that, with violence or threats of violence, tax business movements, farmers, livestock keepers and even local authorities. In particular, the diamond and gold extraction gives the militias significant income.


GDP per person

US $ 510 (2018)

Total GDP

US $ 2,380 million (2018)

GDP growth

4.3 percent (2018)

Agriculture’s share of GDP

33.9 percent (2017)

Manufacturing industry’s share of GDP

15.7 percent (2017)

The service sector’s share of GDP

28.2 percent (2017)


3.0 percent (2019)

Government debt’s share of GDP

49.9 percent (2018)

External debt

US $ 731 million (2017)


Central African Franc

Merchandise exports

US $ 146 million (1994)


US $ 131 million (1994)

Current account

– US $ 25 million (1994)

Commodity trade’s share of GDP

25 percent (2018)

Main export goods

diamonds, timber, cotton, coffee

Largest trading partner

China, Belgium, Congo-Brazzaville, South Korea, Netherlands



UN effort is extended

The UN Security Council extends the mandate of Binuca, the United Nations Office for Peace Creation in the Central African Republic, to December 31, 2011. The Peace Office (formerly called Bonuca) has been in the country since 2000.


New violence in the north

The CPJP rebel group attacks and occupies the city of Birao in the northeastern part of the country.

UN force is withdrawn

The UN withdraws Minurcat from Chad and the Central African Republic.


New election date

A new date for the presidential and parliamentary elections is set for January 2011.


The choices are postponed

Parliament extends Bozizé’s mandate until elections can be held.


Bozizé announces elections

President Bozizé announces that elections will be held on April 25. The opposition protests and claims that the elections will be manipulated.

Central African Republic Economy Facts

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