U.S. Relations With Central African Republic

Bureau of African Affairs
Fact Sheet
January 5, 2016

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.


The United States established diplomatic relations with the Central African Republic (CAR) in 1960, following its independence from France. CAR is one of the world’s least developed nations, and has experienced several periods of political instability since independence. It is located in a volatile and poor region and has a long history of development, governance, and human rights problems.

As a result of insecurity and violence, the United States has suspended embassy operations three times in the past twenty years. The U.S. Embassy was closed from 1996-97 because of 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 suspended operations in November 2002 in response to security concerns raised by the October 2002 launch of a military coup. The Embassy reopened in 2005. Restrictions on U.S. aid, initially imposed after the 2003 military coup, were lifted in 2005.

Due to insecurity and the eventual overthrow of the CAR Government by the Seleka armed group, the U.S. Embassy in Bangui suspended operations in December 2012. The embassy resumed normal operations in September 2014 and is open today.

In the spring of 2013, under the auspices of the Economic Community of Central African states (ECCAS) regional leaders developed a political roadmap for CAR which established a transitional government, led by Prime Minister Catherine Samba-Panza and her transitional government. The transition period is currently scheduled to conclude by the end of 2015 with a constitutional referendum and legislative and presidential elections.

With support from the United States, the United Nations installed a multi-dimensional peacekeeping operation, including over 10,000 peacekeepers, in September 2014 to assist the transition process, support the return of security and stability, and provide needed humanitarian and development assistance .

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 Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), including the Ugandan People's Defense Force and the Central African Armed Forces. Forces were deployed to CAR in December 2011.

Historically, the United States and CAR 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 United States to the country. The United States and CAR share a vision of a more stable country that enjoys greater stability and security, is capable of improved economic growth, contributes to regional stability, and is a reliable partner on issues of mutual importance. The United States also supports CAR'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

CAR ranks 185 out of 187 on the United Nations Human Development Index. Over the past two years, the United States has provided over $800 million of humanitarian, development, and security assistance in support of the CAR people’s efforts to find long-term stability and peace. 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 LRA continues to terrorize civilians in the southeastern part of the country. The United States is pleased to work together with the African Union and other international bodies and to support CAR as it combats the LRA. The United States has also provided assistance to strengthen the UN mission and humanitarian aid to address the dire humanitarian situation in CAR.

Bilateral Economic Relations

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

Membership in International Organizations

The Central African Republic is an active member in several Central African organizations. 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. CAR generally joins other African and developing countries in consensus positions on major policy issues.

Bilateral Representation

Embassy Bangui resumed normal operations in September 2014.  Jeffrey Hawkins is the United States Ambassador to the Central African Republic.

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 Central African Republic 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