The Central African Republic in times of COVID-19: diversifying the economy to build resilience and foster growth

The economy of the Central African Republic (CAR) grew at a slower pace in 2019 compared to 2018. Still, it grew at 3.1 percent, year-onyear, in 2019, above the average of regional peers (1.6 percent) and countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV) (2.7 percent). Despite improvements in security following the signing of the peace agreement in February 2019, the economy performed worse than expected due to the collapse by about 30 percent in the production of coffee and cotton, which in turn was the result of persistent structural challenges in the agriculture sector. On the demand side, private consumption remained the main driver of economic growth, while the agriculture and services sectors drove growth on the supply side. Moreover, extreme poverty remains high and projected to affect 71 percent of the population—3.4 million people—in 2019. Inflation increased in 2019, and CEMAC’s monetary policy remained on track.