Until the late 1980s, almost all foreign investment in the Central African Republic was by the French government and private French firms. For many years, the territory had been worked by French concessionaires who obtained privileges in the area by decree. But with the decline of concessions, interest in private investment diminished. Foreign investment was further discouraged by the nationalization without compensation of private textile, oil distribution, and river transport interests in 1974.
In the early and mid-1980s, in an attempt to revitalize the nation's sagging economy, the Kolingba government reaffirmed its interest in foreign investment, stressing joint partnerships between private business and government. A 1982 investment code provided liberal incentives, including priority in the allocation of foreign exchange for the import of equipment and raw materials.
As of the late 1990s, the Central African Republic continued to be heavily dependent on foreign assistance. The World Bank, European Union, UN Development Program, and the African Development Fund all provided grants; one-fourth of all development assistance continued to come from France, followed by Japan, Germany, and the United States.
Armed insurrections in May 2001, October 2002, and March 2003, ending in the government's forceful overthrow by coup on 15 March 2003, have taken the Central African Republic off the map in terms of foreign investments.