CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
CAPITAL : Bangui
FLAG: The national flag consists of four horizontal stripes (blue, white, green, and yellow) divided at the center by a vertical red stripe. In the upper left corner is a yellow five-pointed star.
ANTHEM: La Renaissance (Rebirth).
MONETARY UNIT: The Communauté Financière Africaine franc (CFA Fr), which was originally pegged to the French franc, has been pegged to the euro since January 1999 with a rate of 655.957 CFA francs to 1 euro. The CFA franc is issued in coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 500 CFA francs, and notes of 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 CFA francs. CFA Fr1 = $0.00167 (or $1 = CFA Fr597.577) as of May 2003.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard.
HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Anniversary of President Boganda's Death, 29 March; Labor Day, 1 May; National Day of Prayer, 30 June; Independence Day, 13 August; Assumption, 15 August; All Saints' Day, 1 November; Proclamation of the Republic, 28 November; National Day, 1 December; and Christmas, 25 December. Movable religious holidays include Easter Monday, Ascension, Pentecost Monday.
TIME: 1 PM = noon GMT.
Many languages and dialects are spoken, including Arabic, Hunsa, and Swahili, but Sangho, the language of a group living on the Ubangi River, is spoken by a majority and is the national language. French is the official language of government and is taught in the schools.
The republic is divided into 16 prefectures, 69 subprefectures, and the autonomous commune of Bangui. In 1988, local elections created 176 municipal councils, each of which were headed by a mayor appointed by the president.
The army, numbering about 1,400 personnel in 2002, had three main battle tanks. The 150-man air force had no combat aircraft or helicopters. The paramilitary gendarmerie numbered around 1,000. The nation spent $29 million on defense in 1996, or 2.2% of gross domestic product.
Fishing is carried on extensively along the rivers, but most of the catch is sold or bartered on the DROC side of the Ubangi. In 1950, the government began a fish-farming program, and by the end of 1968 there were almost 12,000 ponds. The 2000 fish catch was about 15,000 tons.
Current information is unavailable.
The Central African Republic has no territories or colonies.
Dun and Bradstreet's Export Guide to Central African Republic. Parsippany, N.J.: Dun and Bradstreet, 1999.
Kalck, Pierre. Central African Republic. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Clio Press, 1993.
——. Historical Dictionary of the Central African Republic. 2nd ed. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1992.
O'Toole, Thomas. The Central African Republic: the Continent's Hidden Heart. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1986.