Central African Republic Country Facts

By | June 1, 2024
Central African Republic
Capital city Bangui
Surface 622.984 km²
Population 4.900.000
Road network length 643 km
Length of highway network 0 km
First highway N/A
Motorway name N/A
Traffic drives To the right
License plate code RCA

The Central African Republic, abbreviated “CAR” (French: République centrafricaine) is a country in central Africa. The country has 4.9 million inhabitants and is 15 times the size of the Netherlands. The capital is Bangui.

Geography

the Central African Republic is a state in the interior of Africa. The country clockwise borders Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, and Cameroon. The country measures a maximum of 1,400 kilometers from west to east and almost 600 kilometers from north to south.

The country largely consists of flat to sloping plateaus at approximately 500 meters above sea level. The landscape is largely savanna, with tropical rainforests in the south. The southern border of the country is formed by the Oubangui River, a tributary of the Congo. The northwest has somewhat higher hills and low mountains, the 1410 meter high Mont Ngaoui is the highest point of the Central African Republic.

The country has a tropical climate with a rainy season and a dry season. The maximum temperature in the capital Bangui is between 30 and 34 °C all year round. There is approximately 1500 mm of precipitation per year, with little precipitation from December to February and quite a lot of precipitation in the other months, with a peak in the period from July to October.

Demographics

The Central African Republic is relatively sparsely populated, it had only 1.2 million inhabitants in 1960 and 4.6 million in 2016.  The country is only slightly urbanized, the capital Bangui is by far the largest city and has more than 600,000 inhabitants. Bimbo and Berbérati are the only other places with more than 50,000 inhabitants.

It is a diverse country with more than 80 ethnic groups, all of which have their own language. The two official languages ​​of the country are French and Sango. In addition, creole languages ​​have been developed that count as lingua franca. French is mainly used for written language, but only about a quarter of the population speaks it. Almost the entire population masters Sango.

Economy

The Central African Republic is one of the least developed countries in the world. The economy is largely informal, the vast majority of the population works in agriculture for their own food supply. There is hardly any industry and there is mining on a small scale, diamonds are the country’s main export product. The economy is limited by the lack of infrastructure and the shortage of fuel.

History

The area that is now the Central African Republic was home to several indigenous tribes for centuries. In the 16th and 17th centuries, slave trade began to take place in the area. At the end of the 19th century, the area was under the rule of the Sudanese sultan. European colonization did not begin until late, in the late 1800s, when the race for Africa began. These were mainly the French, Germans and Belgians. In 1903, the French colony of Ubangi-Shari was established. From 1920, the area was governed from Brazzaville, as part of French Equatorial Africa. In the 1920s and 1930s, a network of roads was developed for growing cotton. In 1960, the country gained independence from France and was renamed the Central African Republic.

The rest of the 20th century was marked by coups and periods of military rule. Conflicts led to the Bush War of 2003-2007. After this, peace was achieved, but in 2012 conflict broke out again. The Central African Republic therefore remains an unstable country.

Road Network

The road network in the Central African Republic is extremely underdeveloped. The road network is approximately 24,000 kilometers long, but only 730 kilometers are paved. Even in the capital Bangui, almost all roads are unpaved. Transport is therefore difficult. There are also no bridges over the Congo River, so road transport to the DRC always has to be via ferry services, if there are any. Less than 2,000 passenger cars and approximately 1,600 trucks are registered in the Central African Republic. Traffic problems are therefore virtually non-existent – there is simply virtually no car traffic. In particular, the roads to the north and east are in poor condition. There are extensive areas where there are no roads at all. Due to the isolated location of the Central African Republic,

Route Nationales in the Central African Republic
N1 • N2 • N3 • N4 • N5 • N6 • N8 • N9 • N10 • N11

History

Route nationale

asphalted (status 2014)

The Central African Republic became independent from France in 1960. The country was one of the least developed areas from the colonial era of France, infrastructure was virtually non-existent. Since the country is not on the sea, it depends on foreign ports for imports and exports. The primary ports in the 1960s were Pointe-Noire in Congo and Douala in Cameroon. Because of the hardly developed road network, export originally went via a time-consuming and expensive route over the rivers Ubangi, Congo and a railway. This route required a lot of throughput and was inefficient.

In the late 1960s, efforts were made to develop a Trans-Equator Route, running from N’Djamena in Chad to Pointe-Noire in the Republic of Congo, through western Central African Republic. As part of this, the first longer route, today’s N6 from Bangui to Mbaïki, was asphalted between 1969 and 1972. A further extension through the dense rainforests of the Republic of Congo soon proved impractical, after which an attempt was made to develop a southern route to Douala, also via the N6, but this also proved unfeasible.

The road budget was less than $5 million a year in the early 1970s. In 1971 the road fund was established, which was mainly financed through fuel excise duties. In the mid-1970s, only half of the taxes on road users in the road network was invested in projects and maintenance. By 1976, the country had about 300 kilometers of paved road, a length that would hardly increase in the next 30 years. In the 1970s, there was hardly any capable personnel to carry out traffic projects, almost all traffic projects in the country were designed and executed by foreign companies.

Later in the 1970s, the focus shifted more towards developing the northern route to Cameroon, via the N1 and N3. At the end of the 1970s, approximately 150 kilometers of the N1 were asphalted from Bangui to Bossembélé. The connecting N3 was also planned to be asphalted soon, but conflict, instability and lack of money meant that this was greatly delayed. In 2010, practically the entire N3 from Bossembélé to the border with Cameroon was a bad dirt road. The N3 was largely asphalted in the period 2011-2013, which finally gave the country its decent export route. The N1-N3 accounted for about three quarters of all paved kilometers in the country in 2014.

Road numbering

The road network is numbered with Route Nationale numbers (RN), in a more or less radial system from Bangui. In addition, there is a Route Regional system (RR). Only a small part is paved.

  • RN1 Bangui – Bossangoa – border with Chad (northbound)
  • RN2 Bangui – Sibut – Bambari – Bangassou – grens met Sudan (oostwaarts)
  • RN3 RN1 – Bouar – Baboua – border with Cameroon (westbound)
  • RN4 Damara (RN2) – Batangafo – Kabo – border with Chad (northbound)
  • RN5 English (RN2) – Bria – Other
  • RN6 Bangui – Mbaïki – Berbérati – Gamboula – border with Cameroon (westbound)
  • RN8 Sibut (RN2) – Dékoa – Ndéle – Birao – border with Sudan (eastwards)
  • RN10 Berbérati – Nola – border with Cameroon (westbound)
  • RN11 Baoro (RN3) – Carnot (RN6)

Signage

Signage is virtually non-existent in the Central African Republic.

 

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