Country Overview

The Central African Republic (CAR), a landlocked country in Central Africa, with a population of 4.7 million, is embarking on a long path to recovery. Its history has been marked by political instability and in 2013, a major security and humanitarian crisis erupted, unraveling the country’s social fabric and displacing over 25% of its population. Recent presidential and legislative elections have brought three years of political transition and turmoil to an end.

Political Context

For the first time in its history, the Central African Republic has a democratically-elected President and Parliament. On March 2, 2016, the Central African Republic's Constitutional Court declared Faustin Archange Touadera the new president-elect. The one time prime minister, who served under the ousted President François Bozizé, garnered 63% of the votes cast in the February 14 runoff election, beating rival Anicet Georges Dologuele who received 37% of the votes. This election concluded the mandate of Catherine Samba-Panza, who has led the transitional government since January 20, 2014 with a mission to organize presidential elections in which she would not run for office. The second round of legislative elections also took place in February and Abdoul Karim Meckassoua, a prominent politician from the country’s Muslim minority, was elected as head of the National Assembly. 

The Central African Republic has suffered a great deal of political instability in recent decades. The president of a decade, François Bozizé, who had come to power through a coup in 2003, was overthrown in March 2013, and was succeeded by a Muslim rebel leader Michel Djotodia.  Djotodia was forced to step aside less than a year later which prompted reprisal attacks by Christian fighters, resulting in numerous civilian deaths. Sectarian tensions between Muslims and Christians have continued since but the signing of a ceasefire agreement between armed groups in July 2014, and the organization of the Bangui Forum in May 2015, marked the end of violent conflict.  The French Sangaris force and the UN have played a major role in seeking to restore peace in the CAR.

Social Context

The sectarian violence that erupted in March 2013 in the Central African Republic has uprooted nearly 1.2 million people. After 3 years, 384,000 people are still displaced within the country and more than 467,000 people are still refugees in Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo. More than half of the country's population, the equivalent of about 2.3 million people, are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, while more than 76% of the population continues to live in extreme poverty.  At the national level, only 55% of health facilities are functional; only 25% of health facilities have an energy source, while only 2% have a potable water source.

Economic Overview

Although CAR is progressively emerging from crisis, economic recovery has been very modest. After the collapse of 2013, when real GDP fell by 36%, the economy picked up only 1% in 2014, and 4.8% in 2015.

 In 2015, tax revenue was still only half the level of 2012, as commercial activity recovered very slowly, so that revenue on both indirect taxes and taxes on international trades are still only half the amount collected in 2012. The contributions of export duties on diamond, timber and gold in the revenues are low.  CAR has not experienced external arrears to bilateral and multilateral creditors. Payment of external and domestic debt by the new authorities will be critical to avoid any disruption in the flow of funds from the international community, and adversely affecting the local private sector.

Medium Term Outlook

The successful presidential election is an important step toward national reconstruction. Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are expected to progressively return to their lands as security improves. Coupled with a lifting of the ban on diamond exports and activation of all forest concessions, a revival of the agricultural and mining sectors could boost real GDP growth to an estimated 5.7% in 2016. Economic growth will also be driven by a rise in import and export activities, assuming continued UN peace-keeping efforts for security and escort of merchandise along the corridor.


Last Updated: Oct 10, 2016

World Bank Group Engagement in the Central African Republic

On July 30, 2015 Executive Directors endorsed the Country Engagement Note (CEN) for FY16-17 for the Central African Republic. The CEN provided the strategic framework for the program delivered at end FY15 - a $10 million additional financing to the Emergency Public Services Response project and a $12 million additional financing to the Health Sector Support project, as well as the $20 million country-wide labor-intensive public works “Londo” project approved in July 30, 2015. A Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) will be prepared during FY17, to allow for the preparation and delivery of the Country Partnership Framework (CPF) mid FY18.

In preparation for post-crisis re-engagement, the Bank has prepared a series of thematic and sectoral policy notes. These, and the findings of a Fragility Assessment, have informed the preparation of a US$ 250 million Turn-Around program. The program includes 11 projects, which combine stabilization efforts alongside development. A public financial management (PFM) and strategic sectors development policy operations (DPO) and associated TA, and the Statistics for Decision Making project will help consolidate State capacity and improve resource allocation. Support to the reintegration of former combatants (DDRR) and displaced populations will help reduce tensions among communities and promote long-term stability and reconciliation. Improved service delivery in the water, energy, social sectors and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) will help rebuild trust between citizens and the State. Support to the agricultural, mining and forestry sectors, and reopening access to major production basins, meanwhile, will improve economic inclusion and recovery.

In addition, the WB is co-leading, alongside the UN and the EU, a Recovery and Peacebuilding Assessment (RPBA) — to define the country’s priorities over the short and medium term— and the preparation of an International Donor Conference for CAR.

Last Updated: Oct 10, 2016

The LONDO project (or ‘Stand-Up’ in Sango, the official language in CAR)

The LONDO project  provides temporary employment to vulnerable people throughout the country. The first two phases of the pilot have been successfully completed. A total of 8,500 vulnerable people in 17 districts have been recruited so far and completed the works. The total number of beneficiaries will rise to 17,000 by the end of Phase 3.

Emergency Public Services Response project

The objective of the Emergency Public Services Response Project is to re-establish an operational government payroll and related financial management systems. The first component, payment of current salaries was to provide support to the government to pay civil service salaries in civilian sectors (excluding the security forces and police). So far, the project has benefited over 17,000 civil servants and the time lapse between planned pay day and actual pay day has decreased from 30 hours to 13. The targeted objective is 10 hours. The percentage of staff from the customs directorate who have resumed work has increased from 10% to 86% in 2015 alone. The percentage of teachers and health workers who have resumed work in the districts where security has improved has increased from 0% to 89%.

Emergency Power Response Project

The Emergency Power Response Project is working to partially restore a reliable electricity supply to customers in Bangui, including essential service providers such as the national water company and hospitals. In particular, the project is rehabilitating the Boali 1 and 2 hydropower facilities, thereby increasing reliable power supply. Load shedding has been eliminated for hospitals and water facilities in Bangui; 150 km of distribution lines have been constructed or rehabilitated, and annual electricity losses have been reduced by 9%.

Health System Support Project

The Health System Support Project aims to increase utilization and improve the quality of maternal and child health services in targeted rural areas. To date, it has provided support to over 1.1 million people, half of which are female, and treated 3.500 women victims of violence. More than 1 million were given access to a basic health, nutrition or reproductive health package.

The Emergency Urban Infrastructure Rehabilitation and Maintenance Project

The Emergency Urban Infrastructure Rehabilitation and Maintenance Project (closed in September 2016) helped increase access to infrastructure and urban services for the population of the most deprived districts of Bangui. Close to 85,000 people have benefited from improved drainage, and over 37,000 from access to improved water sources.


Last Updated: Oct 10, 2016

In a climate of instability where significant security risks remain present, the World Bank Group is working closely with the United Nations peacekeeping mission, MINUSCA (UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR, the African Union, the European Union, France, and the U.S, Collaboration has been demonstrated through the undertaking of a Fragility Assessment, led by the WB, jointly with the United Nations, the Department for International Development (DFID) and Agence Française de Développement (AFD), in consultation with CAR Authorities. Preparation of new projects is closely aligned with other development partners.

Last Updated: Oct 10, 2016


Central African Republic: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments