Central African Republic

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Ködörösêse tî Bêafrîka (Sango)
République Centrafricaine (French)
Central African Republic
Flag of the Central African Republic
Coat of arms of the Central African Republic
flag coat of arms
Motto : Unité, Dignité, Travail
( French for "unity, dignity, work" )
Official language Sango and French
Capital Bangui
State and form of government presidential republic
Head of state President
Faustin Archange Touadéra
Head of government Prime Minister
Firmin Ngrébada
area 622,984 km²
population 4,667,000 (as of 2018)
Population density 7 inhabitants per km²
Population development   + 2.12% (2016)
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (Nominal)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
  • $ 1.928 billion ( 168. )
  • $ 3.395 billion ( 170. )
  • 387 USD ( 189. )
  • 677 USD ( 192. )
Human Development Index   0.381 ( 188th ) (2018)
currency 1 CFA franc BEAC
€ 1 = 655.957 XAF

100 XAF = 0.152449 EUR
(fixed exchange rate)

independence of France on August 13, 1960
National anthem La Renaissance
National holiday December 1st (1958, Republic Day)
Time zone UTC +1
License Plate RCA
ISO 3166 CF , CAF, 140
Internet TLD .cf
Telephone code +236
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The Central African Republic ( sango Ködörösêse tî Bêafrîka , French République Centrafricaine ) is a landlocked country in Central Africa . It borders ( clockwise from the north) with Chad , Sudan , South Sudan , the Democratic Republic of the Congo , the Republic of the Congo and Cameroon . The capital is Bangui .

The Central African Republic is a very underdeveloped and unstable country. In 2016, the country was the poorest in the world in terms of real GDP per capita. In 2016, it was ranked 188th out of 189 countries in the Human Development Index . The country's population is considered to be the most unhealthy living and the lowest life expectancy in the world.


The country lies mainly on the plateau of the north equatorial threshold , which has an average height of 600 meters above sea level. In the north of the country there are 216,000 km² in the Chad Basin . The Bongo massif on the border with Sudan rises to a height of 1330 m, in the Yade massif along the border with Cameroon lies the Ngaoui , at 1420 m the highest mountain in the country.


The climate largely corresponds to that of the alternately humid tropics and in the south the ever-humid tropics . That means there is a wet season and a dry season. In the north, on the border with the dry savannah , the rainy season is around four months long, while in the south it extends over eight to ten months. In the north it is extremely hot, especially in the dry season, sometimes up to 40 ° C. At night, however, it sometimes cools down to below 10 ° C. In the capital, however, the seasonal temperature differences are small due to the proximity to the tropical rain forest .


Virtually all of the precipitation in the country drains either via the Shari into the Chad Basin or via the Sangha and Ubangi into the Congo . Only in the far west of the Central African Republic are small areas of the catchment area of ​​the border river Lom , which drains over the Sanaga into the Gulf of Guinea . The border to South Sudan is, apart from small blurring, almost congruent with the catchment area borders of the Ubangi and the Nile . The main watershed point of Africa is also located here (approx. 9 ° 8 ′ 23.3 ″  N , 23 ° 28 ′ 5.9 ″  E )

Flora and fauna

The dense tropical rainforest in the south is one of the last places of refuge for lowland gorillas and forest elephants . This is also where the Dzanga Sangha Sanctuary is located , where both species are protected. Most of the country consists of tree savannah ( wet savannah ) and light forest, which gradually merges into the dry savannah with fewer trees in the north . The animal population includes elephants, monkeys, antelopes, buffalo, rare birds as well as monitor lizards and hippos in the waters.


With 4.9 children per woman (as of 2015), the Central African Republic has a high birth rate . One of the reasons for this is that only 7% of married women have access to modern contraceptives . 43% of the population are under 15 years old, only 4% of the population over 65. The life expectancy of women between 2010 and 2015 was 51, that of men 47.8 years. This made life expectancy in the Central African Republic the lowest in the world.

While the rainforest areas and the dry savannah are almost deserted, which also leads to a low population density of 8.8 inhabitants per km² , most of the population settles along the main waterways in the country.

Population development

Population development in millions of inhabitants
Age pyramid in 1000 inhabitants
year population
1950 1,327,000
1960 1,504,000
1970 1,829,000
1980 2,280,000
1990 2,940,000
2000 3,755,000
2010 4,449,000
2017 4,659,000

Source: UN

Ethnic groups

The original population group , the pygmies , has few members today and only lives in the southwestern rainforests. The Bantu peoples of the Ngala group, who live in the southern river landscapes , also form a minority: Of these, the Yakoma are the largest people with 4% of the population, there are also the Mbaka with 4%, Lissongo , Bamda and Banziri .

In addition, there are Sahelo-Sudanese peoples in the north - mostly savanna inhabitants, of which the Baya make up the largest ethnic group in the country with 33% of the population, along with the Banda with 27%. Furthermore, among the nations sahelosudanischen Mandschia with 13%, the Sara with 10%, the Mboum with 7% and the Ngbandi more strongly represented.

There are also Nilots - especially Runga - and Azande peoples in the east . Several thousand Europeans, mostly French, live in the cities. In 2017, 1.9% of the population was born abroad.


The official languages ​​are Sango (since 1991) and French (since independence). In addition, numerous other indigenous languages ​​are spoken, especially Ubangi languages , which also includes Sango. Sango also has the status of a national language. A total of 72 different languages ​​and idioms are spoken.


According to the 2003 census, only around 9.6% of the population are officially followers of the indigenous faiths . Christians make up about 50% of the population; about half of them are Protestant and half Catholic and are particularly well represented on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Sunni Islam is of 10.1% of the population practiced (with increasing tendency) and is particularly common in the north, east and northwest.

Many missionary groups have been operating in the country since the colonial era, mainly Lutherans and Catholics , but also Baptists , Grace Brethren and Jehovah's Witnesses . While these missionaries are predominantly from France, the United States , Italy, and Spain , many missionaries are also from Nigeria , the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and other sub-Saharan African countries. Many western missionaries left the country in 2002/2003 due to fighting between rebels and government forces.


Despite compulsory schooling, the illiteracy rate is still almost 75%. Schooling is free, but still only accessible to a small minority. Bangui University has existed since 1969 . In 2008 the international Euclid University was added.


Mothers and children between the ages of 0 and 5 years wait in front of a health center in Bangui for their polio vaccination (2008).

Healthcare is no match for sleeping sickness , malaria , leprosy , AIDS and other diseases . A large proportion of the population is infected with HIV. Depending on the source, a prevalence of 6.3% to 13.5% is assumed. There is hardly any social provision.

Only 54% of births can receive medical care. The infant mortality rate is 102 per 1,000 births, maternal mortality at 9.8 per 1,000 births.

When Global Hunger Index 2017, the Central African Republic finished last. According to the report by the International Food Policy Research Institute , the food situation in the country is "extremely alarming". In 2015, 58.6% of the population were malnourished.

The global COVID-19 pandemic first occurred in the Central African Republic in March 2020.

See also: COVID-19 pandemic in the Central African Republic


After the slave trade operated from Sudan , Bantu and Azande later settled here . The latter founded the kingdoms of Rafai and Bang Assou .

The area of ​​today's Central African Republic largely coincides with the former Ubangi-Shari , part of French Equatorial Africa . On April 25, 1946, the Constituent National Assembly of France passed the Loi Lamine Guèye , according to which from June 1, 1946, all residents of the overseas territories, including Algeria, had the same citizenship status as the French in France or the overseas territories. This made women's suffrage law. In the elections to the French National Assembly as well as for all local elections in all of Africa except Senegal, a two-class suffrage was in effect until 1956. In 1956, still under French administration, the loi-cadre Defferre and thus universal suffrage was introduced.

The country achieved its full independence from French colonial rule in the " African Year " 1960. Barthélemy Boganda was appointed Prime Minister before independence at the end of 1958, but had an accident in a plane crash in 1959. David Dacko was elected President in 1960. Several sources cite 1986 for the confirmation of active and passive women's suffrage after independence, a different source cites 1960.

The self-proclaimed Emperor Jean-Bédel Bokassa (1970s)

In 1966 Jean-Bédel Bokassa deposed Dacko in a coup and transformed the country into a monarchy from 1976 to 1979, the Central African Empire , which he ruled despotic as emperor. 1979 Bokassa was deposed by Général André Kolingba , who ruled as president until 1993. In 1991 political parties were re-allowed. In free elections in 1993 Kolingba lost to Ange-Félix Patassé , who became new president on September 19, 1993. Since then there have been various attempts to return to democracy, but until 1997 there were also military revolts, coups and attempts at overthrow, in which the former colonial power France was partly involved.

Patassé was re-elected on October 22, 1999 after temporary overturns and overthrown on March 15, 2003 by François Bozizé . Bozizé won the 2005 presidential election in the second ballot on May 24, 2005 with 64.6% of the registered votes. Since mid-2006, the north of the country has suffered from fighting between government forces and rebels. According to the humanitarian organizations in the country, millions of people were affected by the violent clashes. More than 212,000 people had fled their villages. 78,000 refugees had left the country. The armed conflicts in Chad and Darfur (→ Darfur conflict ) began to spread to the Central African Republic. The government was supported in the fight against rebels by the former French colonial power.

From December 2012, there were heavy fighting between the government and the Islamic-dominated rebel coalition of the Séléka , the USA withdrew its ambassador for fear of attacks, and France refused to intervene without a UN mandate. On March 24, 2013, the Séléka took the presidential palace in the capital Bangui and took power, President François Bozizé fled abroad. The rebel leader Michel Djotodia was elected president and dissolved the Séléka, but there was increasing violence between fighters of the former rebels and Bozizé's supporters as well as against civilians. After the approval of the United Nations Security Council on December 5, 2013, the French military operation was expanded, and President Djotodia and Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye resigned on January 10, 2014. Catherine Samba-Panza was appointed interim president, a new constitution came into force, and elections were held again in 2016.

On December 14, 2015, the Séléka proclaimed the Republic of Dar El Kuti in the north of the country . At first they just want autonomy, but strive for complete independence in the future.


The Central African Republic is a presidential republic with a multi-party system . According to the 2015 constitution, there is a bicameral system for legislation, consisting of the National Assembly of the Central African Republic with 140 members, who are directly elected by the people for five years, and the Senate. The president is also directly elected by the people for five years, he appoints and dismisses prime ministers and cabinet members.

According to the constitution in force before 2015, the president was directly elected for a six-year term. He had extensive powers, was able to dissolve parliament , had extensive emergency powers and was commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

After the 2016 elections, most seats in parliament went to independents, with no party winning more than 10% of the 131 seats. The five largest parties in parliament are:

Other important parties in the past were:

In the 2019 Democracy Index, the Central African Republic was in 164th place out of 167 countries examined. The media are subject to state censorship .

Administrative division

The state is divided into 14 prefectures , two economic prefectures (Préfectures économiques) and one autonomous city (Commune autonome) :

Prefectures of the Central African Republic
Surname status Capital
Bamingui-Bangoran prefecture Ndélé
Basse-Kotto prefecture Mobaye
Haute-Kotto prefecture Bria
Haut-Mbomou prefecture Obo
Kémo prefecture Sibut
Lobaye prefecture Mbaiki
Mambéré-Kadéï prefecture Berbérati
Mbomou prefecture Bangassou
Nana-Mambéré prefecture Bouar
Ombella Mpoko prefecture Bimbo
Ouaka prefecture Bambari
Ouham prefecture Bossangoa
Ouham-Pendé prefecture Bozoum
Vakaga prefecture Birao
Nana-Grébizi Economic Prefecture Kaga-Bandoro
Sangha Mbaéré Economic Prefecture Nola
Bangui autonomous city


The Central African Armed Forces (FACA) were divided in 2008 into the army (about 2,000 men), Air Force ( Force Aérienne Centrafricaine , 150 men) and police (about 1,000 men). For young men, there is a two-year conscription , but only a small part of a year is drafted.

Russian special forces from the Wagner group were present in spring 2018; a connection with raw materials was established (manganese from Sudan).

Human rights

In general, government efforts to uphold human rights are rated as very low. Armed groups kill, beat and rape civilians and loot and burn villages in the north of the country. The local population is blackmailed, threatened and mistreated by the armed groups. 12-year-old children are also reported to be members of these armed groups.

In the 2020 press freedom list published by Reporters Without Borders , the Central African Republic was ranked 132nd out of 180 countries. The freedom of the press and freedom of expression are viewed as critical. Journalists are intimidated, threatened and arrested. The conditions of detention are very harsh.

Numerous civilians were injured or murdered by fighters during armed conflicts in 2009. Members of the security forces who committed human rights abuses were not punished. The generally critical security situation made it extremely difficult for human rights groups and humanitarian aid organizations to determine the exact number of those injured and killed. The Amnesty Report 2010 by Amnesty International indicates that the belief in witchcraft is widespread. People suspected of witchcraft are therefore often tortured, otherwise subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and in some cases even killed.

According to the UNICEF children's aid organization , around 47% of children between the ages of five and 14 had to do child labor between 1999 and 2007 . Because of the immunodeficiency disease AIDS, there are an estimated 100,000 AIDS orphans in the country, most of whom have to pay for their own living. Because of the great poverty, many families are also dependent on the income of their children. The Central African Republic is both a source and a destination for child trafficking . UNICEF runs a project to reintegrate former child soldiers back into society.

The penal code criminalizes homosexual behavior. "Publicly showing love" between people of the same sex is punishable by a prison sentence of six months to two years or a fine of between 150,000 and 600,000 CFA francs (230 to 900 euros). However, there is no evidence of such police prosecutions.

In the Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International , the Central African Republic was ranked 156 out of 180 countries in 2017.


Economic structure

The inland location, inadequate transport infrastructure and a lack of qualified workers made the country's economic development difficult even during the colonial era. With independence, there was also corruption and political instability.

60% of the population still live in the country, so agriculture is the most important industry. Although only three percent of the national territory is used for agriculture, the agricultural sector contributes to more than half of the gross domestic product (GDP). Subsistence farming is widespread. About cultivated yams , cassava , millet and maize for their own consumption and cotton , coffee and tobacco for export . Wood and diamonds are the most important export goods, which together make up two thirds of exports. The Central African Republic is dependent on food imports.

The country's industry is poorly developed and accounts for around 15% of GDP. In addition to the processing of wood and diamonds, simple consumer goods and everyday objects such as textiles , shoes and bicycles are manufactured. Energy sources, machines, vehicles and chemical products have to be imported, as a result of which the country has a high trade deficit , which is not adequately compensated for by international aid. Tourism is insignificant, around 12,000 tourists visited the country in 2005, which earned the equivalent of around four million US dollars. There are significant uranium deposits, 90% of which are owned by Uramin , a subsidiary of the French nuclear technology group Areva .

The unemployment rate is given as 6.9%, but almost all employment is informal and underemployment is widespread.

Key figures

All GDP values ​​are given in US dollars ( purchasing power parity ).

year 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
(purchasing power parity)
0.93 billion 1.39 billion 1.83 billion 2.35 billion 2.69 billion 2.69 billion 3.22 billion 3.45 billion 3.59 billion 3.68 billion 3.84 billion 4.05 billion 4.29 billion 2.76 billion 2.84 billion 3.01 billion 3.19 billion 3.37 billion
GDP per capita
(purchasing power parity)
406 537 628 718 738 752 797 841 858 863 883 913 949 599 604 627 652 677
GDP growth
−3.0% 3.7% −2.1% 4.3% −1.7% 2.5% 4.8% 4.6% 2.1% 1.9% 3.0% 3.3% 4.1% −36.7% 1.0% 4.8% 4.5% 4.0%
(in percent)
13.3% 10.5% −0.2% 19.2% 3.2% 2.9% 6.7% 0.9% 9.3% 3.5% 1.5% 1.2% 5.9% 6.6% 11.6% 4.5% 4.6% 3.8%
Public debt
(as a percentage of GDP)
... ... ... ... 93% 109% 49% 49% 37% 21% 21% 22% 24% 39% 69% 64% 56% 53%

State budget

The state budget in 2016 comprised expenditure of the equivalent of US $ 285 million ; this was offset by revenues of the equivalent of US $ 207 million. This results in a budget deficit of 4.4% of GDP .

The national debt was 42.8% of GDP in 2016.

In 2009, the share of government expenditure (in% of GDP) was in the following areas:


Trucks in Bangui (2007)

The transport infrastructure is inadequate in both size and condition. There is a road network with a length of approx. 24,000 km, of which only about three percent are paved, so that a considerable part of it is inaccessible during the rainy season (July – October). A section of Trans-African Highway 8 runs through the country.

Rail transport has not existed since 1962. The only route was only a few kilometers. It served to bypass rapids in the Ubangi and was thus integrated into the shipping traffic. There are proposals to connect the country to the railway network of Cameroon and Sudan . Before independence, a route to Chad was planned.

In the rainy season, shipping is possible over a length of 2800 kilometers on the Ubangi and Sangha rivers and on the Congo . Inland ports are located in Bangui and Salo .

The only international airport is Bangui M'Poko International Airport , with 37 smaller airports in operation.



Music is an important part of Central African life and, in addition to celebrations and church services, accompanies many ceremonies and gatherings for birth, wedding and death. Many churches have several choirs that perform pieces and "animate" the congregation. Village church group meetings of many kinds (e.g. prayer groups) begin and end with singing and drum accompaniment. One person is the lead singer and gives the next line of text for the whole group or community in a powerful voice or introduces the next part in a medley. The singing usually takes place outside and is often accompanied by small dance steps and choreographies. There are many occasions when the drumming person stands in the middle and is circled by the singers dancing. This can have the character of a performance as well as serve internal group purposes. In mixed groups it is more the men who determine the beat and rhythm by drumming, but in all-women groups there is always someone who has also mastered this art. After the official burial has taken place, the celebrations in the event of death continue for several days and nights - one can hardly avoid them, as the drumming can be heard from afar.

The instruments are mostly built in-house. Wood and animal hide are used for the traditional large tamtams. Amplified guitars require power and spare parts, which are often difficult to find, but are still very popular. To make a western drum set yourself, objects are recycled and misused, e.g. B. petrol barrels, x-rays, etc. Ä. Material. In this way, stylish instruments can be used despite great poverty.

The Central African pygmies are known for their drum games and their ritual dances. In the meantime, however, many traditions from the forests of the Central African Republic are no longer present.

The music of the Aka-Pygmies is characterized by polyphonic singing, which is rhythmically accompanied by the Hindewhu single-tone flutes , bow harps or clapping hands. The instruments are mostly made of wood. The one-sided harp of the Aka pygmies can also be played with the mouth. In general, the music of the pygmies in the Central African Republic is comparable to twelve-tone music : the initially supposedly independent chants come together again after every twelfth tone.

See also

Broadcast reports

Web links

Wiktionary: Central African Republic  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Central African Republic  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikimedia Atlas: Central African Republic  - geographical and historical maps

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Coordinates: 7 °  N , 21 °  E