The Central African Republic Travel Information

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Facts About the Central African Republic

Background: The former colony of France was Ubangi-Shari. It became the Central African Republic upon independence in 1960. After three tumultuous decades of misrule - mostly by military governments - a civilian government was installed in 1993.
Government type: republic
Capital: Bangui
Currency: 1 Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (CFAF) = 100 centimes

Geography of the Central African Republic

Location: Central Africa, north of Democratic Republic of the Congo
Geographic coordinates: 7 00 N, 21 00 E
Area:
total: 622,984 sq km
land: 622,984 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Land boundaries:
total: 5,203 km
border countries: Cameroon 797 km, Chad 1,197 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 1,577 km, Republic of the Congo 467 km, Sudan 1,165 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Climate: tropical; hot, dry winters; mild to hot, wet summers
Terrain: vast, flat to rolling, monotonous plateau; scattered hills in northeast and southwest
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Oubangui River 335 m
highest point: Mont Ngaoui 1,420 m
Natural resources: diamonds, uranium, timber, gold, oil, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 3%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 5%
forests and woodland: 75%
other: 17% (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: hot, dry, dusty harmattan winds affect northern areas; floods are common
Environment - current issues: tap water is not potable; poaching has diminished its reputation as one of the last great wildlife refuges; desertification; deforestation.
Environment - international agreements:
party to:  Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note: landlocked; almost the precise center of Africa

People of the Central African Republic

There are more than 80 ethnic groups in the C.A.R., each with its own language. About 50% are Baya-Mandjia and Banda--40% largely located in the northern and central parts of the country), and 7% are M'Baka (southwestern corner of the CAR. Sangho, the language of a small group along the Oubangui River, is the national language spoken by the majority of Central Africans. Only a small part of the population has more than an elemental knowledge of French, the official language.

More than 55% of the population of the C.A.R. lives in rural areas. The chief agricultural areas are around the Bossangoa and Bambari. Bangui, Berberati, Bangassou, and Bossangoa are the most densely populated urban centers.

Population: 3,799,897 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  43.23% 
15-64 years:  53% 
65 years and over:  3.77%
Population growth rate: 1.85% 
Birth rate: 37.05 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 18.53deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population
Infant mortality rate: 105.25 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  43.8 years
male:  42.17 years
female:  45.48 years
Total fertility rate: 4.86 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Central African(s)
adjective: Central African
Ethnic groups: Baya 34%, Banda 27%, Sara 10%, Mandjia 21%, Mboum 4%, M'Baka 4%, Europeans 6,500 (including 1,500 French)
Religions: indigenous beliefs 24%, Protestant 25%, Roman Catholic 25%, Muslim 15%, other 11%
note: animistic beliefs and practices strongly influence the Christian majority
Languages: French (official), Sangho (lingua franca and national language), Arabic, Hunsa, Swahili
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 60%
male: 68.5%
female: 52.4% (1995 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > The Central African Republic Map Economy History