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Central African Republic Economy Profile 2018

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Economy - overviewSubsistence 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 estimated GDP, although reliable statistics are difficult to determine in the conflict-prone country. 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 and grants from the international community can only partially meet humanitarian needs. CAR shares a common currency with the Central African Monetary Union, which is pegged to the Euro.

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. In July 2016, the IMF approved a three-year extended credit facility valued at $116 million; in mid-2017, the IMF completed a review of CAR’s fiscal performance and broadly approved of the government’s management, although issues with revenue collection, weak government capacity, and transparency remain. The World Bank in late 2016 approved a $20 million grant to restore basic fiscal management, improve transparency, and assist with economic recovery.

Participation in the Kimberley Process, a commitment to remove conflict diamonds from the global supply chain, led to a partially lifted the ban on diamond exports from CAR in 2015, but persistent insecurity is likely to constrain real GDP growth.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$3.395 billion (2017 est.)
$3.241 billion (2016 est.)
$3.101 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$1.992 billion (2016 est.)
GDP - real growth rate4.7% (2017 est.)
4.5% (2016 est.)
4.8% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$700 (2017 est.)
$700 (2016 est.)
$600 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
Gross national saving5.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
4.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
4.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 96.3%
government consumption: 7.8%
investment in fixed capital: 13.6%
investment in inventories: 0%
exports of goods and services: 11.8%
imports of goods and services: -29.5% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 42.9%
industry: 15.9%
services: 41.2% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty lineNA%
Labor force2.242 million (2017 est.)
Unemployment rate8% (2001 est.)
note: 23% unemployment in the capital, Bangui
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 33% (2003)
Distribution of family income - Gini index61.3 (1993)
Budgetrevenues: $230.6 million
expenditures: $271.1 million (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues11.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-2% of GDP (2017 est.)
Public debt42.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
48.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)3.8% (2017 est.)
4.6% (2016 est.)
Central bank discount rate4.25% (31 December 2009)
4.75% (31 December 2008)
Commercial bank prime lending rate15.5% (31 December 2017 est.)
15.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money$415.5 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$342.9 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money$534.1 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$432.4 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$566.2 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$458.5 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
Agriculture - productscotton, coffee, tobacco, cassava (manioc, tapioca), yams, millet, corn, bananas; timber
Industriesgold and diamond mining, logging, brewing, sugar refining
Industrial production growth rate3.9% (2017 est.)
Current Account Balance-$194 million (2017 est.)
-$161 million (2016 est.)
Exports$118.5 million (2017 est.)
$101.5 million (2016 est.)
Exports - commoditiesdiamonds, timber, cotton, coffee
Exports - partnersBelarus 33.5%, Germany 15.3%, France 14.2%, Chad 12.6%, Cameroon 9.7%, China 8.1% (2016)
Imports$380.5 million (2017 est.)
$340.8 million (2016 est.)
Imports - commoditiesfood, textiles, petroleum products, machinery, electrical equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals
Imports - partnersEgypt 29.8%, France 18.6%, China 6.8%, Belgium 5.7%, Cameroon 5.4% (2016)
Debt - external$767.1 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$691.5 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange ratesCooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per US dollar -
605.3 (2017 est.)
593.01 (2016 est.)
593.01 (2015 est.)
591.45 (2014 est.)
494.42 (2013 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on January 20, 2018

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