flag Central African Republic Central African Republic: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Traditionally, the Central African Republic (CAR) is highly favorable to international trade. International trade represented 52% of the country's GDP in 2020 (World Bank). However, the country's protectionist policies limited its openness and customs duties are relatively high. In addition, certain agricultural products benefit from higher tariff protections. Despite easy access to its internal market, the CAR does not grant preferential tariffs to other countries. CAR is a member of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC). The country mainly exports gold (25.19% of total exports), vehicles (24.81%), wood (18.23%), diamonds (16.43%) and machinery (9.29%). CAR's main imports comprise vehicles (18.22% of total imports), mineral fuels (12.97%), electrical equipment (10.04%), medicines (9.66%) and machinery (6.87%) (International Trade Centre, 2020)

CAR's main customers are the United Arab Emirates (24.3% of total imports), Sweden (15.2%), France (10.2%), Switzerland (8%), Uganda (7%) and China (6.9%). Its main suppliers are Cameroon (26.2% of total imports), China (17.1%), France (14%), Belgium (7.1%), Italy (5.1%) and the United States (3.6%) (International Trade Centre, 2020). Security issues have a major impact on trade, as illustrated by the three-month closure of the Bangui-Douala corridor early 2021.

CAR's trade balance is structurally in deficit, a trend which should continue in the years to come. In 2020, CAR exported USD 125 million in goods and imported USD 602 million. In 2018, exports of services reached USD 52 million, while imports amounted to USD 394 million (WTO). In 2019, imports of goods and services increased by 8% compared to 2018, while exports decreased by 2% (World Bank). In 2020, due to the COVID-19 crisis, global trade volumes decreased sharply. Demand for CAR's diamonds fell while wood exports were affected by supply chain disruptions. Imports also decreased due to lower oil prices and reduced household demand. In 2022, exports are expected to be boosted by surging prices and increased demand for wood; while imports will be driven by higher oil prices (Coface).

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 382368606603602
Exports of Goods (million USD) 93140164147125
Imports of Services (million USD) n/a039400
Exports of Services (million USD) n/a05200
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 516228n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -82315-2n/a
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 5157665250
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 3640473634
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 1517191616

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank - Latest available data.

Return to top


To go further, check out our service Import controls and Export controls

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows


Main Services

0.1 bn USD of services exported in 2018
0.4 bn USD of services imported in 2018

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

Return to top


List of tariffs and local taxes that apply to your product on our service Customs duties


Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
International Economic Cooperation
Member of African Union (AU)

Member of Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD)

Member of Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) (in French)

Useful Resources
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
Go to this page to access the contact of the National Service of Industrial Property in the Central African Republic.

Return to top

Any Comment About This Content? Report It to Us.


© Export Entreprises SA, All Rights Reserved.
Latest Update: May 2022

Return to top