According to 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.