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Country Reports

Central African Republic Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Although less intense, the continuation of attacks and intra-militia fighting since the African Union-brokered peace deal between the government and 14 armed groups in February 2019 signals the fragility of the agreement. Joint militia-army patrols have yet to take off on a large scale. Armed groups still control 80% of the country and are unlikely to cede territory without receiving benefits, posing continued risks of death, injury, and kidnap to NGO, UN, and mining personnel countrywide. Russia's military, economic, and political influence is likely to grow, particularly since the appointment of CAR's pro-Russian prime minister Firmin Ngrebada. The presence of Russian military trainers and Russian armed protection for President Faustin Touadéra reduce assassination risks, but government troops are unlikely to develop the capacity to defend the country in the one-year outlook. Russian companies are likely to be awarded available mining contracts. Recovering income from the extractive sectors will only partly finance the country’s investment in the three-to-five-year outlook due to its limited fiscal capacity and an extremely narrow tax base. As a result, the government will need to maintain good relations with the donor community. It is likely to remain heavily dependent on external aid to build capacity and boost much-needed infrastructure during the next decade. Russian and Chinese interest in Africa is likely to make those countries become important future sources of financial and political support. Worsening terms of trade threaten CAR's growth outlook given its narrow export base, predominantly timber and diamonds. The country’s main long-term challenge will be to keep fiscal expenditure in check while prioritising capital development and improving the business climate. CAR is likely to remain one of the least-developed countries worldwide.
Last update: August 2, 2019

Operational Outlook

CAR is landlocked and composed of dense equatorial forests in the south and savannah in the north, and is subject to humid, tropical weather in the centre. President Touadéra has pledged to fight corruption and attract investment, but bureaucratic inertia remains a serious problem across the public sector and business environment, with frequent strikes mostly in demand of salary arrears. Despite the February 2019 peace agreement, insecurity is likely to persist as the main impediment to investment. Corruption and weak infrastructure increase the cost of starting a business.

Last update: June 6, 2019

Terrorism

Very high

Sectarian killings in northwest CAR and the murder of a Catholic nun in the southwest in May 2019, reminiscent of jihadist attacks on religious symbols in West Africa, indicate the possible co-option of some militias by jihadist groups. In May 2018, 16 people died following an attack on a church in the capital, Bangui. CAR's 14 militia groups control 80% of the country, with many standing to lose that control under the February 2019 peace agreement. Anti-Balaka and ex-Séléka militias are fractured and fighting is both sectarian and ethnic.

Last update: June 21, 2019

Crime

Crime levels, including violent robbery, are high in the Central African Republic. Furthermore, porous and largely unpoliced borders with neighbouring countries (particularly Cameroon, Chad, and Sudan, which are also plagued by insecurity) mean armed groups and criminal gangs are able to operate easily across international frontiers. Car-jackings are frequent along the main roads in the CAR, which threaten the transportation of people and goods working in the UN and humanitarian sector. The main supply road between Bangui and Garoua-Boulaϊ is frequently targeted by armed militia groups.

Last update: June 5, 2019

War Risks

Civil war risks decreased slightly after a peace accord was signed between the government and 14 armed groups in February 2019. Three militia leaders were subsequently appointed government military advisers for the key hotspot zones of the centre-north, the northwest, and the central area around Bambari. Nevertheless, resurgent fighting in western and central areas in April and May 2019 indicates the fragility of the accord, and UN peacekeepers will be hard pushed to contain an escalation of conflict. Russia is training CAR's armed forces, but they are unlikely to be effective in at least the six-month outlook. Interstate war is unlikely.

Last update: June 7, 2019

Social Stability

Very high

Anger over MINUSCA components' perceived bias towards certain militia groups is likely to drive public protests against the UN in the capital, Bangui, as well as cities like Kaga-Bandoro and Bambari. Protests against vigilante groups are likely to halt commercial activity in parts of Bangui, while discord over the February 2019 peace agreement will continue to fuel unrest between rival militias. Anti-government protests and strikes over unpaid salaries are highly likely in urban areas.

Last update: June 8, 2019

Health Risk

Extreme

Vaccines Required to Enter the Country

Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for all travelers upon entry to the country. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease; it should be taken ten days in advance to be fully effective.

Vaccines Recommended for All Travelers

Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).

Vaccines Recommended for Most Travelers

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.

Malaria: There is currently no malaria vaccine. However, various antimalarial prophylactics are available by prescription and can reduce risk of infection by up to 90 percent. Different medications are prescribed depending on the risk level and the strains of the virus present in the destination. Antimalarial tablets need to be taken throughout the trip to be effective and may need to be taken for as long as four weeks following the trip.

Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).

Vaccines Recommended for Some Travelers

Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.

Meningococcal meningitis: There are several types of meningococcal vaccines. None offer full immunity and some require periodic booster shots. Consult your doctor to determine which is best for you depending on medical history and travel plans.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high

The rainy season (which lasts 6 months) causes widespread floods, material damage, and deaths.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Very high

Much of the country's road infrastructure is obsolete, insufficient, partially degraded, or even nonexistent.

The three main paved roads starting in Bangui are in poor condition. One leads to Mbaïki (100 km [60 mi]), another to Sibut (200 km [120 mi]), and a large part of the route toward Bouar and Cameroon. During the rainy season (May to October), the roads often become impassable.

The danger of road travel has increased due to the lack of adherence to road regulations, the poor condition of many of the vehicles, and the lack of health facilities. The absence of street lighting and traffic lights makes traveling at night inadvisable. Road accidents resulting in fatalities may provoke riots.

Outside of major cities, travel by road should be only take place during the day in a sports utility vehicle (4x4), with a driver, preferably in convoy. Individuals should also travel with extra water, food, and fuel. It is advisable to ensure that your vehicle is equipped with replacement parts (spare tires, cables, etc.) as well as telecommunications devises. Individuals should carry identification papers at all times (passport and visa). During travel in the capital, it is advisable to communicate the details of one's travel arrangements to a trusted confidant.     

Intercity travel via road can prove dangerous. Official and unofficial roadblocks are frequent. Furthermore it is recommended to remain vigilant when traveling in isolated regions; cases of armed theft, carjacking, and the presence of bandits have been reported across the country.    

The airlines MINAIR, Via Air, and Lapara offer flights to the cities in the center of the country, as long as the region is secure. There are daily flights operated by several international airlines from Douala (Cameroon). Air France operates a weekly, direct flight.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Infrastructure

Due to the degradation of the energy network in the previous conflict, there are frequent power and water cuts in the country.

Mobile telephone signals cover the Bangui area as well as a significant part of the interior of the country.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

The climate in the north of the country is Sahelian (tropical and semi-arid). The climate in the south is tropical, hot, and humid. The rainy season begins in May and ends in October.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +236
Bangui Central Police Station: 21 61 13 00

There are no emergency services in the CAR.

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019