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Overview

  • The Central African Republic, a landlocked country with a population of close to 4.9 million, embarked on a long recovery process, following a major security crisis in 2013 that unraveled its social fabric and displaced over 25% of its population.

    Political Context

    Elections in 2016 brought an end to three years of political transition and turmoil.

    Since 2016, the Central African Republic has been governed by President Faustin-Archange Touadéra and Prime Minister Simplice Sarandji. The next presidential elections are scheduled to be held between December 2020 and March 2021.

    On February 6, 2019, the Government of the Central African Republic signed an African Union-mediated peace agreement with 14 armed groups. This agreement has been endorsed by the international community. The African Union and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) serve as guarantors of the agreement, while the UN peacekeeping force (MINUSCA) plays a critical support role in the background. 

    Economic Overview

    • Economic growth in the Central African Republic slowed to 3.7% in 2018, as renewed insecurity inhibited economic activity by disrupting agricultural, forestry and mining production, and delaying investment projects. However, since 2015, economic growth in the country has outpaced the CEMAC average and is projected to reach 4.8% in 2019.
    • The Central African Republic would benefit from maintaining its fiscal discipline, because it remains at high risk of debt distress. The government’s efforts continue to yield positive outcomes, with a debt-to-GDP ratio that declined to 49%. Debt indicators are expected to steadily improve over the medium term. The overall deficit is estimated to rise to 2.7% of GDP in 2019, up from 1.6% in 2017. At 9% of GDP in 2018, the Central African Republic still has one of the lowest domestic revenue-to-GDP ratios in Sub-Saharan Africa. Public spending increased to 16.3% of GDP in 2018, in tandem with a rise in expenditure on goods and services.  Grants remain high at 7.8% of GDP in 2018 and are projected to reach 11% in 2019, thanks to support from the development partners for the peace agreement.
    • If the security situation does not deteriorate, the medium-term outlook for the country is positive. The expected steady improvement in security, the gradual re-establishment of public services in the provinces, the uptick in public and private investments, and reform implementation are projected to push growth to 4.8% in 2019.

    Social Context and Development Challenges

    • Poverty remains high and projections suggest that roughly 71% of the population was living below the international poverty line ($1.90 per day, in terms of PPP) in 2018.
    • Approximately 643,000 people remain internally displaced while 575,000 Central African refugees sought shelter in neighboring countries. It is expected that in 2019, 2.9 million Central Africans—more than half of the country’s population—will need humanitarian assistance, with 1.6 million people in acute need. In order to meet humanitarian needs, on January 7, 2019 the Government of the Central African Republic and the Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA) officially launched the $430.7 million Humanitarian Response Plan for the year.
    • The Central African Republic remains one of the poorest countries in the world and is grappling with numerous human capital challenges. It ranks near the very bottom of the UN Human Development Index (188 out of 189 countries in December 2018), which could present devastating consequences for its future generation. While the most recent estimates show that more than 71% of the population is poor, there have been improvements in the provision of key public services in the country’s southwestern region.
    • Maternal mortality is among the world’s highest (882 per 100,000 live births), while the extremely high under-five child mortality rate (179 per 1,000) highlights the severity of the health situation. 
    • The Central African Republic has some of the lowest education and gender equality indicators in the world. The poor quality of primary education, the lack of secondary school education for girls, and violence against women and girls, with 11,000 reported incidents each year (2016), 74% of which involve children, remain pressing challenges for the country.
    • Average life expectancy is 53 years. High levels of malnutrition exist, with 41% of the population suffering from chronic malnutrition (stunting). The fertility rate is high at 6.2 children per woman.

    Last Updated: Nov 25, 2019

  • During the crisis, the World Bank allocated $100 million to emergency operations through a grant from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest.

    The World Bank also co-led a recovery and peacebuilding assessment and played a key role at the international donor conference for the Central African Republic in November 2016, which resulted in $2.2 billion in pledges ($2 billion for reconstruction and $200 million for humanitarian assistance).

    The activities of the World Bank in Central African Republic over the next five years will be guided by the partnership framework currently being finalized and will focus primarily on human capital development.

    This new partnership framework is aligned with the government’s three priorities: 

    • Support peace, reconciliation, and security in order to create an environment in which development can take place;
    • Re-establish the social link between the State and the people, by addressing all grievances and ensuring the equitable provision of public services;
    • Promote economic growth and job creation.

    The World Bank is currently financing a $250 million economic recovery program to support short-term stabilization efforts and long-term development activities. This program includes:

    • A financial reform project to strengthen State capacity and improve resource allocation;
    • Support for the reintegration of former combatants and for displaced populations;
    • Financing to improve water and energy service delivery, social services, and ICT. In addition, support for the agricultural, mining, and forestry sectors and for access to the major production basins should create much-needed jobs.

    Last Updated: Nov 25, 2019

  • Governance

    The Emergency Public Services Response Project, which is re-establishing the government payroll and operational financial management systems, has achieved the following:

    • More than 17,000 civil servants have benefited.
    • The time between scheduled and actual pay days was reduced from 30 hours to 13 hours (target of 10 hours).
    •  In 2015, the percentage of customs personnel who resumed work increased from 10% to 86%, while the percentage for teachers and health workers who resumed work in districts with improved security increased from 0% to 89%.

    Security, re-establishment of the administration and infrastructure

    A huge cash-for-work program, Londo is a peacebuilding project that uses labor-intensive public works as a means to promote social cohesion and economic activity.

    • In 54 of the 74 districts across the country, over 34,500 vulnerable individuals (36% of whom were women) secured temporary employment on a site;
    • More than 2,048 km of rural roads were rehabilitated, creating access to markets and essential services. 

    Under the Service Delivery and Support to Communities Affected by Displacement Project (PACAD):

    • 15,800 vulnerable households in the insecure areas of Bambari, Bangassou, Kaga-Bandoro and Paoua are receiving cash transfers.

    With its labor-intensive public works, the Local Connectivity Emergency Project has:

    • Provided temporary jobs to 10,037 beneficiaries, 27% of whom are women, to construct 32,000 meters of ditches and maintain 333 km of roads;
    • Built 116 drains, rehabilitated 12 bridges, and constructed 12 rain barriers;
    • Established 14 maintenance units along the road;
    • Rehabilitated and re-equipped 2 local offices of the Ministry of Public Works and Road Maintenance;
    • Maintained 333 km of rural roads;
    • Constructed the Bamingui bridge (45 m span), which was completed in May 2019.

    Under the Rural Connectivity Project:

    • Roughly 500 km of rural roads are being rehabilitated through a combination of labor-intensive public works (LIPW) and a mechanized approach;
    • Approximately 575 persons were hired for these works, 28% of whom are women;
    • Maintenance works have already been carried out on 60 km of rural roads in Ouham and the Ouham Pende basin since the start of works on January 7, 2019.

    Strengthening human capital

    The Health System Support Project, which aims to increase the use of improved maternal and child health services in the targeted rural areas, has:

    • Supported over 6.2 million people (56% of whom were women);
    • Provided free health care to over one million people;
    • Reintegrated more than 260 health professionals to work in project-supported health centers;
    • Provided mini solar panels to over 250 health centers;
    • Provided new beds and medical supplies to more than 180 health centers. 

    The Emergency Urban Infrastructure Rehabilitation and Maintenance Project  (closed in September 2016) increased access to infrastructure and urban services for the most deprived districts of Bangui. Close to 85,000 people have greater access to the wastewater drainage system and more than 37,000 people have increased access to water.

    Last Updated: Nov 25, 2019

  • In a climate of instability where significant security risks remain, the World Bank Group is working closely with the United Nations peacekeeping mission (MINUSCA), the African Union, the EU, France, and the United States.

    Collaboration has entailed assessments with the UN, the United Kingdom’s DFID, and Agence française de développement, in consultation with the Central African Republic.  The World Bank ensures that its new projects are coordinated with the other development partners.

    Last Updated: Nov 25, 2019

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LENDING

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

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments


PHOTO GALLERY

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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
Banque Mondiale
Rue des Missions
Bangui, Central African Republic
+236 21 61 61 68
For general information and inquiries
Franck Bitemo
External Affairs Officer
Kinshasa, DRC
+243 972 20 2165
fbitemo@worldbank.org
For project-related issues and complaints
caralert@worldbank.org