Background: Formerly a French colony of Ubangi-Shari, it became the Central African Republic after gaining independence in 1960. After three decades of erratic military change in power, a civilian government came to power in 1993. See areacodesexplorer.com to know more about Central African Republic History.
Location: Central Africa, north of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Geographic coordinates: 7° 00′ N. latitude, 21° 00’E
Reference map: Africa.
Area: total: 622,984 km2; land surface area: 622,984 km2; water surface area: 0 km2
Comparative area: slightly smaller than the state of Texas.
Land borders: total: 5,203 km; with neighboring states: with Cameroon 797 km, with Chad 1,197 km, with the Democratic Republic of the Congo 1,577 km, with the Republic of the Congo 467 km, with Sudan 1,165 km.
Coastline: 0 km (no access to the sea).
Maritime claims: none (no access to the sea).
Climate: tropical; hot, dry winters; mild or damp summer.
Terrain: extensive flat or hilly plateau; hills in the northeast and southwest.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Ubangi River 335 m; highest point: Mount Ngaoui 1,420 m.
Natural resources: diamonds, uranium, timber, gold, oil, hydropower.
Land use: arable land: 3%; cultivated land: 0%; pastures: 5%; forests and plantations: 75%; others: 17% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: no data.
Natural Hazards: Hot, dry, dusty harmattan winds affect northern regions; frequent floods.
Current environmental issues: tap water is not suitable for drinking; poaching tarnishes the country’s glory as one of the last wildlife sanctuaries; desertification; deforestation.
International Environmental Treaties: Member: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 1994; signed but not ratified: Law of the Sea.
Note to the section “Geography”: no access to the sea; almost in the middle of Africa.
Population: 3,576,884; note: estimates for this country take into account rising AIDS deaths; due to the spread of AIDS, life expectancy, population size and population growth may actually be lower, and child mortality and overall mortality rates correspondingly higher; there may also be changes in age structure and sex ratios (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 43.23% (male 778,885; female 767,414); 15 to 64 years: 53% (men 929,717; women 965,947); over 65: 3.77% (male 59,364; female 75,557) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 1.85% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 37.05 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 18.53 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: 0 people /1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male/female; under 15: 1.01 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 0.96 male/female; over 65: 0.79 male/female; for the general population: 0.98 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 105.25 deaths/1000 births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 43.8 years; men: 42.17 years; women: 45.48 years (2001 est.).
Total fertility rate: 4.86 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of the adult population infected with HIV: 13.84% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 240,000 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 23,000 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Central African; adjective: Central African.
Ethnic groups: Baya 34%, Gang 27%, Sir 10%, Manjia 21%, Mboum 4%, M’baka 4%, Europeans 6,500 (including 1,500 French).
Believers: adherents of local beliefs 24%, Protestants 25%, Catholics 25%, Muslims 15%, other 11%; note: animistic beliefs and cults have a strong influence on the Christian majority as well.
Language(s): French (official), Sanga (a mixture of French and vernacular), Arabic, Hong-sa, Swahili.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 60%; men: 68.5%; women: 52.4% (1995 est.).
conventional long form: Central African Republic;
Common short form: no; local long form: Republique Centrafricaine; local short form: no; former: Central African Empire; abbreviation: CAR.
State structure: Republic
Administrative divisions: 14 prefectures, 2 economic prefectures*, 1 urban community**: Bamingi-Bangoran, Bangui**, Waka, Wakaga, Upper Kotto, Upper Mbomu, Upper Sangha, Wham, Gribingi*, Kemo-Gribingi, Lobae, Mbomou, Nana-Mambere, Lower Kotto, Ombella-Mpoko, Ouham-Pende, Sangha*.
Independence: from August 13, 1960 (from France).
National holiday: Republic Day, December 1 (1958).
Constitution: referendum held 29 December 1994; adopted January 7, 1995.
Legal system: based on French law.
Suffrage: from the age of 21, universal.
chief of state: President Ange-Felix PATASSE (since 22 October 1993);
head of government: Prime Minister Martin ZIGUELE (since 1 April 2001)
government: Council of Ministers; elections: the president is elected by popular vote for a six-year term; elections last held September 1999 (next to be held in 2005); the prime minister is appointed by the president; election results: Enge-Felix PATASSE re-elected president; Percentage of votes cast: Enge-Félix PATASSE 51.63%, Andre KOLINGBA 19.38%, David DACKO 11.15%.
Legislature: unicameral National Assembly (109 seats; members are elected by popular vote for five years; note – prior to the 1998 elections there were 85 seats in the National Assembly); elections: last November 22-23 and December 13, 1998 (next to be held in 2003); election results: distribution of votes between parties: MLPC 43%, RDC 18%, MDD 9%, FPP 6%, PSD 5%, ADP 4%, PUN 3%, FODEM 2%, PLD 2%, UPR 1%, FC 1 %, independent 6%; distribution of seats among parties: MLPC 47, RDC 20, MDD 8, FPP 7, PSD 6, ADP 5, PUN 3, FODEM 2, PLD 2, UPR 1, FC 1, independents 7; note: The National Assembly consults with the Economic and Regional Council; when they sit together they are called Congress.
Judiciary: Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the president; Constitutional Court, judges are appointed by the president.
Political parties and leaders: Union for Democracy and Progress (ADP) (Francois PEHOUA); Central African Democratic Rally (RDC) (André KOLINGBA); Civic Forum (FC) (General Timothy MA-LENDOMA [Timothee MALENDOMA]); Democratic Forum (FODEM) (Charles MASSI); Liberal Democratic Party (PLD) (Nestor KOMBO-NAGUEMON [Nestor KOM-BO-NAGUEMON]); Movement for Democracy and Development (MDD) (David DASCO); Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People (MLPC) (Enge-Felix PATASSE); Front Patriotic for Progress (FPP) (Abel GOUMBA); People’s Union for the Republic (UPR) (leader – no data); National Union Party (PUN) (Jean-Paul NGOUPANDE); Social Democratic Party (PSD) (Enoch LAKOUE).
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: “ACCT, ACP, AfDB, BDEAC, CCC, CEEAC, CEMAS, ECA, FAO, FZ, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC (observer), OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
. USA: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Emmanuel TOUABOY Office: 1618 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008 Telephone:  (202) 483-7800 Fax:  (202) 332-9893
US Diplomatic Mission: Head of Mission: Ambassador Robert C. PERRY Embassy: Avenue David Dacko, Bangui Mailing address: W. R. 924, Bangui P Phone:  61 02 00. ) fax:  61 44 94. m
Description of the flag: four equal horizontal stripes of blue (top), white, green, yellow with a vertical red stripe in the center; on the left side of the blue stripe is a yellow five-pointed star.