countryaah, the Central African Republic is a prominent agricultural
country. The country's economic development is hampered by
its geographical location far from the sea, poorly developed
or substandard transport routes and fluctuating world market
prices for some of the dominant export products.
Furthermore, economic policy has often failed, and climate
factors such as drought have hit agriculture.
The country has for many years been in deficit in the
exchange of goods and services with the outside world. This
has led to great dependence on loans and assistance; the
largest contributor is France.
Agriculture and forestry
Agriculture is the dominant industry (with 75 percent of
the country's working population). Agriculture is mainly
conducted in the tropical rainforest region in the southwest
and on the savanna in the central and northwest parts of the
country. The most important forage crops are coffee and
cotton, but the replacement crops, mainly millet and
cassava, dominate. The production of peanuts is also
significant. However, the population is growing faster than
food production, and 20 percent must be imported. The
government has tried to stimulate the production of, among
other things, rice.
The Central African Republic has large forest resources,
mainly in the form of tropical rainforests in the western
parts of the country. However, a poorly developed transport
network prevents felling on a larger scale. Only 10 percent
of the forest area is accessible by the river road.
Minerals and energy
Of the Central African Republic's precious natural
resources, diamonds are of the greatest importance.
Extraction takes place mainly in the western part of the
country. Since the end of the 1960s, the official production
figures have shown a large reduction. This is largely due to
extensive diamond smuggling, mainly Congo. According to
official calculations, the value of the smuggling amounts to
double the official production. Gold is also extracted, but
the size of the production varies considerably. Uranium
reserves have been found near Bakouma.
The Central African Republic is heavily dependent on oil
imports, which account for 70 percent of commercial energy
supplies. Water energy accounts for 22 percent; two power
plants at M'Balifallen account for about 80 percent of
production. Oil shortages occur periodically, which
interferes with industrial production.
The Central African Republic has a very poorly developed
industry. The majority is concentrated in the Bangui area.
The textile and leather industry dominates, but there is
also some food industry.
The country is highly dependent on a few export products:
diamonds, timber, cotton and coffee. The most important
import goods are food, oil, textiles, machinery and
vehicles. The largest trading partners are France, USA,
India and China.