flag Central African Republic Central African Republic: Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

The precarious political and security situation that characterises Central African Republic (CAR) since 2013 negatively impacts economic growth. Since 2020, the adverse economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and then the war in Ukraine further deepened the many challenges faced by the country. After contracting by -1% in 2021, GDP growth nearly stagnated in 2022 (0.4%) according to the IMF’s revised figures. The increase in production and import costs and the decline in domestic demand caused by the slowdown in public spending negatively impacted activity (IMF). Economic growth, forecasted at 2.5% in 2023 and 3.8% in 2024, will depend on financing conditions and the continuation of reforms (IMF).

In 2022, the economic recovery, that began after a COVID-19 crisis coupled with the deterioration of the security situation, was disrupted by fuel shortages and soaring food prices following the war in Ukraine. Since 2021, the postponement of budgetary support from donors has put pressure on the budget situation. Fiscal reforms nonetheless allowed public finances to slightly improve. The budget deficit that rose to -6% GDP in 2021 decreased to -5.6% GDP in 2022, and it is expected to further reduce to 3% GDP in 2023 (IMF). Budget execution in 2022 was severely disrupted by the economic downturn and the collapse of public revenues, particularly from the taxation of fuel (IMF). However, prudent implementation of current expenditures and under-execution of the investment budget helped contain the increase in the public deficit (IMF). The CAR is highly dependent on an external aid that enables the country to limit its budget deficit. More than half of public spending is covered by external multi- or bilateral financing, much of it in the form of grants (Coface). The public debt to GDP ratio increased from 47.6% GDP in 2021 to 52.1% GDP in 2022, and is expected to follow a downward trend and reach 47.6% GDP in 2023 and 45.2% GDP in 2024 (IMF). It is below the 70% ceiling imposed by the CEMAC, but more than three quarters of public debt is external, exposing CAR to a high risk of debt distress. Inflation increased from 4.3% in 2021 to 6.5% in 2022, and record double-digit inflation (the highest in the CEMAC) was recorded in 2022 (IMF). It is expected to remain high at 6.3% in 2023 before decreasing to 2.7% in 2024 (IMF). The government priorities remain supporting economic recovery and poverty reduction and pursuing the program of structural reforms supported by the IMF (Extended Credit Facility of about 115.1 million USD) approved in December 2019 but suspended due to its poor implementation and the intensification of the domestic conflict. The 2023 budget aims at stabilizing public finances, while continuing efforts to mobilize domestic revenues through new measures. The IMF declared to be ready to support authorities in their reform of the fuel price structure. CAR remains in a very fragile situation, with an unstable security environment, limited administrative capacity, tight financial conditions, poor governance and lack of social cohesion.

According to the World Bank, more than 70% of CAR's population lives below the poverty line and there is considerable inequality. According to the 2021 Human Development Index published by the UNDP, the Central African Republic was ranked 188th (out of 191 countries). Unemployment is high, despite misleading official statistics (6.5% of the population in 2021 according to the World Bank). The security crisis that the nation has recorded in the past years deepened social inequalities as well as the deficit in basic social infrastructures. The country has more than 630,800 internally displaced persons, and 632,000 Central African refugees have found shelter in neighbouring countries (World Bank). The United Nations peace mission (Minusca) has suffered losses in its ranks and does not seem to have sufficient resources. The food crisis that was already affecting the country has worsened after the war in Ukraine.

Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 2.462.763.003.213.42
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 491539573600627
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 51.850.149.648.144.9
Inflation Rate (%) n/a6.
Current Account (billions USD) -0.31-0.24-0.23-0.22-0.18
Current Account (in % of GDP) -12.7-8.8-7.8-6.9-5.4

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database - October 2021.

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
CFA Franc BEAC (XAF) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GBP 800.68749.15741.42732.38737.93

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


Main Sectors of Industry

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 68.5 6.7 24.8
Value Added (in % of GDP) 29.3 19.0 40.6
Value Added (Annual % Change) -2.4 -3.9 0.6

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


The Active Population in Figures

Labour Force 1,874,4531,910,9331,922,667

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

Total activity rate 73.10%72.80%72.48%
Men activity rate 80.51%79.98%79.42%
Women activity rate 65.84%65.76%65.68%

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database


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Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.


Indicator of Political Freedom


The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Not Free
Political Freedom:

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House


Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:

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Sources of General Economic Information

Main Online Newspapers and Portals
Allafrica, Central African Republic news
ICICEMAC, Central African Republic news (only in French)
Einnews, Central African Republic news
BBC profile
Useful Resources
Ministry of Mines and Geology
List of ministries available on the Government Portal (sites under construction)
Bank of Central African States

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Latest Update: December 2023

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