Fast Facts

Population:
4,238,000
Capital:
Bangui; 698,000
Area:
622,984 square kilometers (240,535 square miles)
Language:
French, Sangho, Arabic, tribal languages
Religion:
Indigenous beliefs, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Muslim
Currency:
CFA franc
Life Expectancy:
43
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $1,200
Literacy Percent:
51
Flag: Central African Republic
Map: Central African Republic

Deep in the heart of the continent, the Central African Republic was part of French Equatorial Africa before independence in 1960. Most of the country is savanna plateau, with rain forests in the south. The economy, moribund by 1979 when self-proclaimed Emperor Bokassa's 14-year reign of terror ended, remains in poor condition. It is one of the world's least developed countries, with most of the population engaged in subsistence farming. Timber and uncut diamonds are sources of export revenue. Political instability continued with a coup and rebellions in 2003.

ECONOMY

  • Industry: Diamond mining, logging, brewing, textiles
  • Agriculture: Cotton, coffee, tobacco, manioc (tapioca); timber
  • Exports: Diamonds, timber, cotton, coffee, tobacco

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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