Economy of the Central African Republic

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The Central African Republic is classified as one of the world's least developed countries[2], with an estimated annual per capita income of $310 (2000). Sparsely populated and landlocked, the nation is overwhelmingly agrarian, with the vast bulk of the population engaged in subsistence farming and 55% of the country's GDP arising from agriculture. Subsistence agriculture, together with forestry, remains the backbone of the economy of the Central African Republic (CAR), with more than 70% of the population living in outlying areas. The agricultural sector generates half of GDP. Principal foodcrops include cassava, peanuts, sorghum, millet, maize, sesame, and plantains. Principal cash crops for export include cotton, coffee, and tobacco. Timber has accounted for about 16% of export earnings and the diamond industry for nearly 54%.

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Infrastructure

Much of the country's limited electrical supply is provided by hydroelectric plants based in Boali. Fuel supplies must be barged in via the Oubangui River or trucked overland through Cameroon, resulting in frequent shortages of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. The C.A.R.'s transportation and communication network is limited. The country has only 429 kilometers of paved road, limited international, and no domestic air service, and does not possess a railroad. River traffic on the Oubangui River is impossible from April to July, and conflict in the region has sometimes prevented shipments from moving between Kinshasa and Bangui. The telephone system functions, albeit imperfectly. Four radio stations currently operate in the C.A.R., as well as one television station. Numerous newspapers and pamphlets are published on a regular basis, and one company has begun providing Internet service.[citation needed]

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