Central African Republic - Infrastructure, power, and communications



Infrastructure in the CAR is underdeveloped, poorly maintained, and inadequate. The CAR has no railroads, and only 450 kilometers (280 miles) of the 25,000 kilometers (15,535 miles) roads are paved. Dirt roads are poorly maintained and deteriorate in the rainy season. No organized public transport is available because the country's poor infrastructure drives up the cost, thereby discouraging commerce and investment.

The CAR suffers economically from its inadequate links to port facilities. Some of Bangui's commercial cargo has traveled down the Ubangi River to Brazzaville and by rail to Point Noire. Civil unrest in the Congos has forced the CAR to divert its commercial traffic towards the Cameroonian port of Douala. The CAR has over 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles) of waterways; over 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) are navigable.

The country has abundant hydroelectric resources that provide reliable and inexpensive power to the capital city. About 80 percent of the CAR's electricity is provided by hydroelectricity, most of which is generated north of Bangui, with fossil fuels providing the rest. Besides these hydroelectric generators, Bangui has oil-powered generators to supplement power during peak periods and to use as backup. The state-owned enterprise, Enerca, supplies the electricity. The potential exists to harness more water resources and export energy to neighboring countries.

The CAR's telephone service is limited to a small percentage of Bangui's population but operates efficiently. The state phone company, SOCATEL, has invested little capital in improving or expanding the system and customers regularly wait up to 6 months to have new phone lines installed. A SOCATEL subsidiary began providing Internet services in 1996, but subscribers remain low. During the late 1990s, several mobile phone companies began operations, but their infrastructure was initially confined to Bangui. When SOCATEL is privatized and other companies are allowed to compete, investments are expected to increase coverage.

Communications
Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Central African Republic 2 83 5 N/A 0 0.1 N/A 0.00 1
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Dem. Rep. of Congo 3 375 135 N/A 0 N/A N/A 0.00 1
Chad 0 242 1 0.0 0 0.0 N/A 0.00 1
a Data are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999and are per 1,000 people.
b Data are from the Internet Software Consortium ( http://www.isc.org ) and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE : World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

The CAR has only 1 international airport (near Bangui) and a few dirt airstrips. Several international airlines offer weekly flights between the capital and Paris, and to several regional capitals.

Also read article about Central African Republic from Wikipedia

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