The Central African Republic is nestled in the interior of the African continent along with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad, Cameroon, Sudan, South Sudan, the Republic of the Congo. It has a land area of about 620,000 square kilometers with most of its territory consisting of Sudano-Guinean savannas. The country also comprises a Sahelo-Sudanian zone and an equatorial forest zone. The Central African Republic is home to around 4.7 million inhabitants.
The major contributor to the Central African Republic economy is subsistence agriculture along with forestry which accounts for more than half of its GDP. The diamond industry makes for 40% of export earnings while timber accounts for nearly 16%. The country’s poor transportation infrastructure, unskilled labor, mismanaged macroeconomic regulations, and interior location has limited economic development. Furthermore, the Central African Republic’s economy is consistently pulled down by rebellious conflicts between the government and its opponents.
The Central African Republic shares the same currency with other Central African States members, Cameroon, Chad, the Republic of the Congo, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea. These states use the Central African CFA franc. The currency is issued by the Bank of the Central African States (Banque des Etats de l’Afrique Centrale) in Yaounde, Cameron. The first set of banknotes was issued in 1974 bearing a standard design on the reverse for all of its member nations. Meanwhile, the obverse differs for each country. For Central African Republic banknotes, the obverse features President Jean-Bedel Bokassa who declared himself president for life in 1972, following the overthrow of David Dacko on January 1, 1966.
On December 4, 1976, the country’s name was changed to the Central African Empire when Bokassa declared himself Emperor Bokassa I. On September 21, 1979, the Central African Empire was reverted to the Central African Republic after French troops brought back David Dacko to power. The bank issued banknotes with Bokassa’s portrait removed from the obverse design.