Geographic and Governmental Profile of Central African Republic

Background
The former French colony of Ubangi-Shari became the Central African Republic upon independence in 1960. After three tumultuous decades of misrule - mostly by military governments - civilian rule was established in 1993 and lasted for one decade. President Ange-Felix PATASSE's civilian government was plagued by unrest, and in March 2003 he was deposed in a military coup led by General Francois BOZIZE, who established a transitional government. Though the government has the tacit support of civil society groups and the main parties, a wide field of candidates contested the municipal, legislative, and presidential elections held in March and May of 2005 in which General BOZIZE was affirmed as president. BOZIZE was reelected in the 2011 elections, which were widely viewed as having gross inaccuracies and discrepancies. The government still does not fully control the countryside, where pockets of lawlessness persist. Militant group Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) continues to affect stability in the Central African Republic as well.
Location
Central Africa, north of Democratic Republic of the Congo
Geographic coordinates
7 00 N, 21 00 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Africa
Area
total:
622,984 sq km
rank:
45
land:
622,984 sq km
water:
0 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than Texas
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, South Sudan 990 km, Sudan 175 km
Coastline
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims
none (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:
3.1%
permanent crops:
0.15%
other:
96.75% (2005)
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Irrigated land
10 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
144.4 cu km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
0.03 cu km/yr (80%/16%/4%)
per capita:
7 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
hot, dry, dusty harmattan winds affect northern areas; floods are common
Environment - current issues
tap water is not potable; poaching has diminished the country's reputation as one of the last great wildlife refuges; desertification; deforestation
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified:
Law of the Sea
Geography - note
landlocked; almost the precise center of Africa
Country name
conventional long form:
Central African Republic
conventional short form:
none
local long form:
Republique Centrafricaine
local short form:
none
former:
Ubangi-Shari, Central African Empire
abbreviation:
CAR
Government type
republic
Capital
name:
Bangui
geographic coordinates:
4 22 N, 18 35 E
time difference:
UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
14 prefectures (prefectures, singular - prefecture), 2 economic prefectures* (prefectures economiques, singular - prefecture economique), and 1 commune**; Bamingui-Bangoran, Bangui**, Basse-Kotto, Haute-Kotto, Haut-Mbomou, Kemo, Lobaye, Mambere-Kadei, Mbomou, Nana-Grebizi*, Nana-Mambere, Ombella-Mpoko, Ouaka, Ouham, Ouham-Pende, Sangha-Mbaere*, Vakaga
Independence
13 August 1960 (from France)
National holiday
Republic Day, 1 December (1958)
Constitution
ratified by popular referendum 5 December 2004; effective 27 December 2004
Legal system
civil law system based on the French model
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Francois BOZIZE (since 15 March 2003 coup)
head of government:
Prime Minister Faustin-Archange TOUADERA (since 22 January 2008)
cabinet:
Council of Ministers
elections:
president elected for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); elections last held on 23 January 2011 (next to be held in 2016); prime minister appointed by the president
election results:
Francois BOZIZE elected to a second term as president; percent of vote - Francois BOZIZE (KNK) 64.4%, Ange-Felix PATASSE 21.4%, Martin ZIGUELE (MLPC) 6.8%, Emile Gros Raymond NAKOMBO (RDC) 4.6%, Jean-Jacques DEMAFOUTH (NAP) 2.8%
Legislative branch
unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (105 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections:
last held on 23 January 2011 and 27 March 2011 (next to be held in 2016)
election results:
percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - KNK 62, independents 26, MLPC 2, other 15
Judicial branch
Supreme Court or Cour Supreme; Constitutional Court (three judges appointed by the president, three by the president of the National Assembly, and three by fellow judges); Court of Appeal; Criminal Courts; Inferior Courts
Political parties and leaders
Alliance for Democracy and Progress or ADP [Jacques MBOLIEDAS]; Central African Democratic Rally or RDC [Andre KOLINGBA]; Civic Forum or FC [Gen. Timothee MALENDOMA]; Democratic Forum for Modernity or FODEM [Charles MASSI]; Liberal Democratic Party or PLD [Nestor KOMBO-NAGUEMON]; Londo Association or LONDO; Movement for Democracy and Development or MDD [David DACKO]; Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People or MLPC [Martin ZIGUELE ]; National Convergence or KNK; National Unity Party or PUN [Jean-Paul NGOUPANDE]; New Alliance for Progress or NAP [Jean-Jacques DEMAFOUTH]; Patriotic Front for Progress or FPP [Abel GOUMBA]; People's Union for the Republic or UPR [Pierre Sammy MAKFOY]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Enoch LAKOUE]
Political pressure groups and leaders
Monam (combating gender-base violence)
International organization participation
ACP, AfDB, AU, BDEAC, CEMAC, FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (subscriber), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Stanislas MOUSSA-KEMBE
chancery:
1618 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone:
[1] (202) 483-7800
FAX:
[1] (202) 332-9893
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Laurence WOHLERS
embassy:
Avenue David Dacko, Bangui
mailing address:
B. P. 924, Bangui
telephone:
[236] 61 02 00
FAX:
[236] 61 44 94
the embassy is currently operating with a minimal staff
Flag description
four equal horizontal bands of blue (top), white, green, and yellow with a vertical red band in center; a yellow five-pointed star to the hoist side of the blue band; banner combines the Pan-African and French flag colors; red symbolizes the blood spilled in the struggle for independence, blue represents the sky and freedom, white peace and dignity, green hope and faith, and yellow tolerance; the star represents aspiration towards a vibrant future
National symbol(s)
elephant
National anthem
name:
"Le Renaissance" (The Renaissance)
lyrics/music:
Barthelemy BOGANDA/Herbert PEPPER
adopted 1960; Barthelemy BOGANDA, who wrote the anthem's lyrics, was the first prime minister of the autonomous French territory
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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