Central African Republic Energy and Environment Facts

Natural resources and energy

The Central African Republic has large commodity resources, mainly diamonds but also gold and other metals.

Especially in the southwest and central parts of the country there are plenty of diamonds. Since the assets are spread over two major river systems, it is difficult to extract them industrially. A large part of the extraction is instead made by 80,000 to 100,000 diamond watchers who provide their families with what they find and can sell to buyers.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Central African Republic with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.

The 2012 conflict (see Modern History) has resulted in areas with diamond deposits being taken over or haunted by various militia groups that come across diamonds through their own extraction of deposits or through clean robberies.

Thus, Central Africa’s diamonds have become “conflict diamonds” and are subject to export bans in accordance with the so-called Kimberley process. It is a United Nations-sponsored collaboration between governments and companies to prevent diamond purchases from funding war and human rights violations. The militias bypass the ban through smuggling.

Gold is also extracted, but the size of the production has varied greatly depending on the ups and downs in the world market price. A significant long-term increase in production was expected with the Canadian company Axmin’s new investment in the gold mine Passendro. But the civil war caused the company to postpone plans indefinitely.

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The uranium is available in large quantities, but the deposits are largely unexploited. French company Areva has built a plant for uranium extraction in Bankouma outside Bangassou in the south. However, in 2011, Areva ceased operations due to reduced nuclear fuel demand following the reactor failure at Fukushima, Japan.

There are also reserves of iron ore, tin, lignite and limestone, but the lack of infrastructure and political uncertainty means that no mining companies have wanted to invest in mining.

Indications indicate that there may be oil deposits in the northern part of the country. But any exploitation is well into the future.

Electric shortages and threats to wildlife

The country’s energy supply is based on hydroelectric power stations and power plants fired with imported oil. Firewood is the largest energy source in the countryside.

Electricity is mainly produced using hydropower. Production is insufficient and power outages are a recurring problem. There have been plans to build new hydropower plants to increase electricity generation, but funding has been lacking. Only three percent of the residents have access to electricity in their homes and they live in the cities. In the countryside there is basically no electricity. Some households use diesel generators to generate electricity.

Emissions from fossil fuels, deforestation, land degradation and threats to the country’s wildlife include the environmental problems. The expected climate change is expected to intensify the problems that the country is already struggling with: drought in certain periods intermittent with rainfall and floods.

According to the UN, 44 animal species in the country are threatened. The elephant trunk shrinks under pressure from poachers who are looking for ivory. According to several environmental organizations, the poaching of elephants in the country has increased. According to one study, the number of forest elephants, which is smaller than those living on the savannah, has decreased by 62 percent since the years after the turn of the millennium.


Carbon dioxide emissions in total

301,000 tonnes (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant

0.1 ton (2014)

The share of energy from renewable sources

76.6 percent (2015)



Smuggling traffic gives birth to rebel groups

A group of UN experts urges Minusca to place greater emphasis on monitoring mining areas and the illicit trade in diamonds (and gold), which, they believe, will help finance both Séléka and anti-Balaka militias. Since 2013, diamonds from the Central African Republic have been banned for export, in accordance with the so-called Kimberley Process, but despite this, diamonds worth $ 24 million have been smuggled out of the country since the end of 2013, according to UN experts.


New battles in Bangui

Hard fighting erupts at the beginning of the month between anti-Balaka militias and Muslim rebels in Bangui. According to the government, both light and heavy weapons have been distributed to the population with the aim of causing concern with the goal that the government should be forced to resign. The violence should also have been directed at the UN force Minusca. On October 11, Minusca is said to have intervened against anti-Balaka rebels approaching the president’s residence.


Misca becomes Minusca

In the middle of the month, the AU-led force Misca is transformed into a UN force, Minusca. It then consists of 500 AU soldiers and will be reinforced with approximately 1200 soldiers from Bangladesh and Pakistan. Minusca’s mandate is primarily to protect the population and support the political process in order to make the state operational again.

Ministers are excluded from rebel movements

At the end of the month, a Séléka faction says that they have excluded the representatives of the group who are members of the government. Other groups also criticize the new government and exclude members who have received ministerial posts.

New government ready

Prime Minister Kamoun appoints a new government with 29 members. It includes three Séléka members and three from anti-Balaka. At the same time, reports of new fighting between different militia groups in the Bodar region.

The IMF suspends support following allegations of missing aid funds

At the same time, allegations that money received by the government from donors have disappeared and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) decide to cancel their work in Bangui. Samba-Panza is further accused of trying to favor relatives and friends instead of thinking about the country’s best.

Muslim is appointed new prime minister

President Samba-Panza appoints Muslim Mahamat Kamoun as new prime minister. Thus, the country gets its first Muslim head of government since independence in 1960. Kamoun promises to end the fighting and form a government where the country’s rival interests are represented.


Cooperation between the LRA and former Séléka rebels?

Ugandan troops kill 15 former Séléka rebels in fighting in the eastern part of the country. The Ugandan force is in the country to fight the Ugandan LRA guerrilla with the support of US special forces. Following the fighting, a spokesman for the Ugandan military says it now sees the Séléka groups as its enemy as the rebel movement forces the civilian population to assist the LRA with food and medicine and helps the LRA trade in ivory and minerals.

The government presents a peace plan

At the beginning of the month, the government presents a plan on how to achieve peace. According to Interim President Samba-Panza, anyone who commits serious crimes should be punished, dialogue with the armed groups should continue and more should be done to prevent young people, especially unemployed young men, from being recruited by violence groups. Samba-Panza later sends a request to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to begin investigating the serious abuses committed in the country since 2012 (see also February 2014).


Ancient Sélékarebeller strengthens the grip in the north

In the northern part of the country, groups formed by former Sélékarebeller appear to be strengthening their grip. These are said to have created parallel organizations for the national army and the police force, among other things in order to gain better control over their personnel. The government is accusing them of trying to push a division of the country.

The UN and the US face sanctions

The UN decides to impose sanctions on former President Bozizé and two leaders of anti-Balaka militias. This means that their assets will be frozen and they will be subject to travel bans. Shortly thereafter, the United States also faces sanctions against these three people as well as against Djotodia and a former rebel leader in Séléka.

Aid organization stops relief efforts

Doctors Without Borders announces that most of their efforts in the country are canceled due to the uncertain situation.


The EU force will protect the airport

At the same time, the EU is sending a force, the Eufor-RCA, to secure the stability of the capital Bangui and its airport. The first 150 soldiers from the EU (France and Estonia) arrive and take over responsibility for the airport. In total, the force will comprise 750 men.

Minusca will be replaced by Misca

The UN Security Council decides to send a peacekeeping force of 12,000 men to the Central African Republic. The UN force called Minusca will replace Misca in September.

Chad leaves Misca

Chad decides to withdraw his troops from Misca on charges of assisting rebels.


Anti-balaka militia kills AU soldier

A Congolese Misca soldier is killed by anti-Balaka militia. After that, the AU says that anti-Balaka will be regarded as terrorists and that they will in the future be treated as such. Since the wave of violence began, 21 Misca soldiers have been killed in the Central African Republic.

Anti-balaka militias have taken control in the west

At the same time, anti-Balaka militias are said to have taken control of most of the cities in the western part of the country.

The UN investigates human rights violations

The UN Security Council decides to investigate who was behind the violence in December 2013 so that they can be tried and convicted of the human rights violations committed at that time. According to the UN, there are now only 1,000 Muslims left in the capital of the more than 100,000 who previously lived there.

Struggles and lack of money hamper relief efforts

The battles make it difficult for aid organizations to bring in food for the affected, and the situation threatens to worsen before the rainy season. The first rainfall comes as early as March, which is earlier than usual. At the same time, the UN has only received a small portion ($ 112 million) of the money needed for the relief effort ($ 551 million).


Aqim threatens revenge attacks

At the end of the month, the Islamist group al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim) threatens revenge attacks against France for its intervention in the Central African Republic.

France reinforces military force

France announces that another 400 soldiers will be sent to the Central African Republic. As a result, the French troops in the country will amount to around 2,000 men.

Continued acts of violence against civilians

Tens of thousands of Muslims are now fleeing mainly from the western and central parts of the country. Amnesty International blames anti-Balaka militias for ethnic cleansing of Muslims and calls on peacekeepers to deploy more troops in the cities where Muslims are threatened. Former Séleka rebels and other armed Muslims, according to Amnesty, are committing new abuses against Christians and other civilians.

ICC investigates war crimes

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is launching a preliminary investigation into the abuses committed in the Central African Republic, including suspected murders, rapes and sexual slavery.


The UN gives the EU the go-ahead to send peacekeepers to CAR

January 28

The UN Security Council mandates the EU to send a peace force to the Central African Republic.

Samba-Panza takes up as new interim president

On January 23, the new president will take office. A few days later, she appointed André Nzapayéké, who was previously secretary general of the African Development Bank, as new prime minister. This is followed by new reports of violence, which now appear to be directed mainly at the Muslim population of the capital. Extensive looting of Muslim neighborhoods is also ongoing. Many civilian Muslims also leave the city.

Catherine Samba-Panza is elected interim president

The Transitional Council also votes to appoint Bangui Mayor Catherine Samba-Panza as new interim president after she defeated a second round of elections in Desiré Kolingba, the daughter of one of the country’s former presidents. Samba-Panza is a successful businesswoman, Christian but considered politically neutral. She was born in Chad, studied law in France and moved to the Central African Republic when she was 18 years old. The new president calls on the armed groups to lay down their weapons. The selection of Samba-Panza is welcomed in many parts of the Central African Union. At the same time, new reports of violence continue.

The EU sends military force

EU foreign ministers agree to send a military force of about 500 men to the Central African Republic.

Djotodia leaves

In connection with a regional summit in Chad, Djotodia is being pressured to resign because he has failed to stop the violence. He announces that he is leaving the post of interim president . The role of head of state is assumed by Alexandre Ferdinand Nguendet, leader of the National Transitional Council CNT. Djotodia goes into exile in Benin. The hopes that Djotodia’s departure will lead to calm are not met. Violence continues and African countries are evacuating their citizens.

At least 1000 have been killed over a month

Violence in the country is now estimated to have claimed about a thousand casualties just since the beginning of December.

Central African Republic Energy and Environment Facts

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