Central African Republic Economic Outlook

  • The economic upturn that began in 2014 continued in 2015, but was then interrupted by the resurgence of the security and political crisis, resulting in economic growth of 4.1% of real GDP compared with an initial forecast of 5.5%.
  • The political transition was completed when presidential and legislative elections were held, with former Prime Minister Faustin-Archange Touadéra being elected president in the second round of voting.
  • The huge movement of people that followed the March 2013 crisis has exacerbated the challenges linked to urban planning and development of the territory.

The upturn in economic activity that began in 2014 was confirmed during the first nine months of 2015, but its dynamism was interrupted by the resurgence of cross-community violence at the end of September. The worsening security environment held back growth of real gross domestic product (GDP) to an estimated 4.1% in 2015, compared with an initial target of 5.5%. Even so, the economy grew faster than in 2014, when growth of 1.0% was recorded. Most sectors accelerated in 2014, even though the export sector continued to suffer from the country’s suspension from the Kimberley Process. This measure effectively means that there is a ban on the export of diamonds, although the restrictions were partly lifted in July 2015. In spite of this difficult climate, there was a significant improvement in the management of public finances thanks in particular to the substantial efforts undertaken by the transition authorities and the support of the technical and financial partners (TFP). Most of the quantitative targets of the budget were achieved, with a progressive return to the normal procedure for public expenditure and greater transparency in the management of public resources.

Presidential and legislative elections were important events in 2015, with Faustin-Archange Touadéra being elected president. Touadéra previously served as prime minister during François Bozizé’s presidency. The vote was organised in an unpredictable security environment and uncertain political climate, but brought an end to the transition process that began three years earlier. These elections followed the Bangui Forum in June 2015, which was concluded by the signing of the Republican Pact for Peace, National Reconciliation and Reconstruction of the Central African Republic (CAR) and by the adoption of a new constitution in November 2015. Overall conditions in the social and humanitarian areas were relatively stable for part of 2015, but deteriorated amid fresh outbreaks of cross-community violence, which claimed many victims and swelled the number of people displaced both inside and outside the country.

The state of affairs in the country’s urban areas was greatly affected by the political and security crisis, which particularly damaged prospects for the development of towns and cities. A study is underway to redesign urban development and planning in Bangui, with the aim of bringing structure to its breakneck urbanisation and establishing a healthy housing environment.