The 5 biggest exports by value from Central African Republic are gold, trucks, diamonds, rough wood and sawn wood. Combined, those leading exports represent four-fifths (80.4%) of Central African Republic’s total shipments during 2020.
Central African Republic’s Major Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data shows that 90.1% of products exported from Central African Republic were bought by importers in: United Arab Emirates (24.3% of the global total), Sweden (15.2%), France (10.2%), Switzerland (8%), Uganda (7%), China (6.9%), Cameroon (4%), Benin (3.6%), Chad (2.9%), Vietnam (2.7%), Burkina Faso (also 2.7%) and Congo (2.6%).
From a continental perspective, 39% of Central African Republic exports by value were delivered to European countries while 35.6% were sold to Asian importers. Central African Republic shipped another 25.3% worth of goods to fellow African nations.
Smaller percentages went to North America’s United States (0.1%) and Latin America (0.01%) including the Caribbean.
Given Central African Republic’s population of 4.83 million people, its total $41.04 million in 2020 exports translates to roughly $10 for every resident in the African country.
Central African Republic’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups categorizes the highest dollar value in Central African global shipments during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Central African Republic.
- Gems, precious metals: US$17.1 million (41.6% of total exports)
- Vehicles: $10.2 million (24.8%)
- Wood: $7.5 million (18.2%)
- Machinery including computers: $3.8 million (9.3%)
- Railways, streetcars: $660,000 (1.6%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $293,000 (0.7%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting , signs, prefab buildings: $251,000 (0.6%)
- Cotton: $251,000 (0.6%)
- Milling products, malt, starches: $219,000 (0.5%)
- Glass: $183,000 (0.4%)
Central African Republic’s top 10 exports accounted for 98.5% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs and prefabricated buildings represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 12,450% from 2019 to 2020.
In second place for improving export sales was machinery including computers via a 1,360% gain.
Central African Republic’s shipments of railways and streetcars posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 1,247%.
The leading decliner among Central African Republic’s top 10 export categories was wood thanks to its -50.8% drop year over year.
From the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Central African Republic’s most valuable exported product in 2020 was gold (25.2% of its global total). In second place was trucks (20.9%) trailed by unset diamonds (16.4%), rough wood (11.1%), sawn wood (6.8%), heavy machinery including bulldozers and excavators (5.9%), specially designed containers (1.6%) then tractors (1,1%).
The following types of Central African product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Gems, precious metals: US$17 million (Up by 4.2% since 2019)
- Wood: $6.1 million (Down by -53.9%)
- Cotton: $210,000 (Reversing a -$143,000 deficit)
- Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $14,000 (Up by 1,300%)
- Railways, streetcars: $6,000 (Reversing a -$2.3 million deficit)
Central African Republic generated positive net exports in the international trade of gold and diamonds. In turn, these cashflows indicate Central African Republic’s strong competitive advantages under the gems and precious metals category.
Overall, Central African Republic incurred a -$503.9 million trade deficit for 2020 increasing by 13.8% from the -$442.6 million in red ink during 2019.
Below are exports from Central African Republic that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Central African Republic’s goods trail Central African importer spending on foreign products.
- Vehicles: -US$89.1 million (Up by 398.2% since 2019)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$70.7 million (Down by -12.4%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$54.4 million (Up by 6%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$52.7 million (Down by -29.6%)
- Machinery including computers: -$33.6 million (Up by 0.9%)
- Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: -$17.3 million (Up by 40.9%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: -$14.7 million (Up by 13.6%)
- Miscellaneous food preparations: -$14.5 million (Down by -22.1%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$12.9 million (Up by 52.6%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$12.9 million (Up by 35.6%)
Central African Republic has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the vehicles category including cars and trucks.
Central African Export Companies
Not one Central African corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia does list international trade-related companies from Central African Republic. Selected examples are shown below.
- Banque Internationale pour la Centrafrique (commercial bank)
- Enerca (electrical infrastructure)
- Groupe Kamach (timber, mines, real estate)
- Socatel (telecommunications)
In macroeconomic terms, Central African Republic’s total exported goods represent 0.9% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2020 ($4.8 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 0.9% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2020 compares to 1.6% for 2020. Those percentages suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Central African Republic’s total economic performance, albeit based on a relatively short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Central African Republic’s average unemployment rate was 4.3% for 2020, down from 4% in 2019 according to Trading Economics.
Central African Republic’s capital city is Bangui.
See also Uganda’s Top 10 Exports, Somalia’s Top 10 Exports and Burundi’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Africa: Central African Republic. Accessed on October 28, 2021
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on October 28, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on October 28, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on October 28, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on October 28, 2021
Wikipedia, Central African Republic. Accessed on October 28, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Central African Republic. Accessed on October 28, 2021
Wikipedia, Flag of Central African Republic. Accessed on October 28, 2021
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Bangui, Central African Republic. Accessed on October 28, 2021