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Central African Republic

Formerly known as ubangi-shari, the Central African Republic (CAR) won its independence from France in 1960, setting off three decades of tumult and military rule. A period of unstable civil government between 1993 and 2003 ended with a military coup and the installation of a transitional government. Barely three percent of the land area is arable, but the economy of the CAR is chiefly dependent on subsistence agriculture and forestry. The agricultural sector accounts for some 55 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and the timber industry provides 16 percent of export earnings. Other natural resources include diamonds, uranium, timber, gold, oil, and hydropower, with diamonds furnishing 40 percent of export earnings.

Less than a third of the population lives in urban areas, and industry ...

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