Central African Republic: Economy#

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 GDP. 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 extraordinarily unequal. Grants from France and the international community can only partially meet humanitarian needs.

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. After a two-year lag in donor support, the IMF's first review of CAR's extended credit facility for 2012-15 praised improvements in revenue collection but warned of weak management of spending.

Kimberley Process participants partially lifted the ban on diamond exports from the country in 2015, but persistent insecurity will prevent GDP from recovering to its pre-2013 level.

Economic Facts#

GDP (purchasing power parity)$3.206 billion (2016 est.)
$3.048 billion (2015 est.)
$2.908 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$1.782 billion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate5.2% (2016 est.)
4.8% (2015 est.)
1% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$700 (2016 est.)
$600 (2015 est.)
$600 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving6.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
4.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
4.6% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 108.3%
government consumption: 9.1%
investment in fixed capital: 10.4%
investment in inventories: 0%
exports of goods and services: 12.7%
imports of goods and services: -40.5% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of originagriculture: 58%
industry: 11.7%
services: 30.3% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productscotton, coffee, tobacco, cassava (manioc, tapioca), yams, millet, corn, bananas; timber
Industriesgold and diamond mining, logging, brewing, sugar refining
Industrial production growth rate3.5% (2016 est.)
Labor force2.421 million (2016 est.)
Unemployment rate8% (2001 est.)
note: 23% unemployment in the capital, Bangui
Population below poverty lineNA%
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 33% (2003)
Distribution of family income - Gini index61.3 (1993)
Budgetrevenues: $207.1 million
expenditures: $284.7 million (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues11.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-4.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices)3.3% (2016 est.)
4.5% (2015 est.)
Central bank discount rate4.25% (31 December 2009)
4.75% (31 December 2008)
Commercial bank prime lending rate15.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
15.5% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$392.7 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$340.9 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$500.7 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$426.7 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$521.4 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$444.4 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
Current account balance-$178 million (2016 est.)
-$144 million (2015 est.)
Exports$77 million (2016 est.)
$70.5 million (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiesdiamonds, timber, cotton, coffee
Exports - partnersNorway 52.2%, China 14.1%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 8.3% (2015)
Imports$375.3 million (2016 est.)
$360.4 million (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesfood, textiles, petroleum products, machinery, electrical equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals
Imports - partnersNorway 39.6%, France 6.8%, US 4.6% (2015)
Debt - external$686.9 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$661.9 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesCooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per US dollar -
605.7 (2016 est.)
591.45 (2015 est.)
591.45 (2014 est.)
494.42 (2013 est.)
510.53 (2012 est.)