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U.S. Relations With Central African Republic


Bureau of African Affairs
Fact Sheet
January 30, 2014

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More information about Central African Republic is available on the Central African Republic Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.

U.S.-CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC RELATIONS

The United States established diplomatic relations with the Central African Republic (C.A.R.) in 1960, following its independence from France. The C.A.R. is one of the world’s least developed nations, and has experienced several periods of political instability since independence. The Central African Republic is located in a volatile and poor region and has a long history of development, governance, and human rights problems. The U.S. Embassy in C.A.R. was briefly closed as a result of 1996-97 military mutinies. It reopened in 1998 with limited staff, but U.S. Agency for International Development and Peace Corps missions previously operating there did not return. The Embassy again temporarily suspended operations in November 2002 in response to security concerns raised by the October 2002 launch of a 2003 military coup. The Embassy reopened in 2005. Restrictions on U.S. aid that were imposed after the 2003 military coup were lifted in 2005. Due to insecurity and the eventual overthrow of the C.A.R. Government, the U.S. Embassy in Bangui has been closed since December 2012. The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to the C.A.R.

In the spring of 2013, under the auspices of the Economic Community of Central African states (ECCAS) regional leaders developed a political roadmap for C.A.R. which established an 18-month transitional government, led by the Prime Minister. Since that time however, the security, human rights, and humanitarian situation continued to worsen. In response, regional leaders convinced the transitional government to resign on January 10. The National Transition Council then selected a new president who is forming a new government. The goal is to re-establish state functions and hold credible elections no later than February 2015. The African Union-authorized security force, MISCA, and a contingent of French troops, SANGARIS, have been in C.A.R. since mid-2013 helping to establish security.

In October 2011, President Barack Obama announced that the United States would deploy a small number of U.S. forces to act as advisors to the national militaries in the region that are pursuing the LRA, including the Ugandan People's Defense Force and the Central African Armed Forces. Forces were deployed to C.A.R. in December 2011.

Historically, the United States and the Central African Republic have enjoyed generally good relations, although concerns over the pace of political and economic liberalization and human rights have affected the degree of support provided by the U.S. to the country. The United States and the Central African Republic share a vision of a more stable C.A.R. that enjoys greater economic growth, contributes to regional stability, and is a reliable partner on issues of mutual importance. The United States also supports the C.A.R.'s efforts to develop institutions that will improve transparency, strengthen the rule of law, and promote unity among Central Africans.

U.S. Assistance to Central African Republic

The C.A.R. ranks 179 out of 187 on the United Nations Human Development Index. Significant portions of the country's territory remain uncontrolled and ungoverned, with the presence of multiple armed actors creating insecurity in much of the north and northeast. The Lord’s Resistance Army continues to terrorize civilians in the southeastern part of the country. The United States is pleased to work together through the United Nations and other international bodies and to support the C.A.R. as it combats the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The United States has also provided assistance to strengthen MISCA and humanitarian aid to address the dire humanitarian situation in CAR.

Bilateral Economic Relations

The United States and the C.A.R. have a small amount of bilateral trade. In 2004, the United States removed the C.A.R. from the list of countries eligible for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. C.A.R. is currently ineligible for benefits under AGOA.

Central African Republic's Membership in International Organizations

The Central African Republic is an active member in several Central African organizations. A major foreign policy objective of the C.A.R. Government is standardization of tax, customs, and security arrangements among Central African countries. The Central African Republic and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. The C.A.R. generally joins other African and developing countries in consensus positions on major policy issues.

Bilateral Representation

There is no U.S. Ambassador to Central African Republic and the embassy is temporarily closed. David Brown is the Senior Advisor for the Central African Republic, working at the U.S. State Department in Washington and maintaining daily contact with local employees at the U.S. Embassy in Bangui, the C.A.R. transitional government, and Central African civil society.

Central African Republic maintains an embassy in the United States at 2704 Ontario Road, NW, Washington, DC, 20009 (tel: 202-483-7800/01).

More information about Central African Republic is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

Department of State Central African Republic Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Central African Republic Page
U.S. Embassy: Central African Republic
USAID Mission Country Page
History of U.S. Relations With Central African Republic
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Library of Congress Country Studies
Travel and Business Information



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