Bringing Prosperity to Life

Central African Republic

Ranked 147th of 149

At a glance


147 th on the Legatum
Prosperity Index™



In the Prosperity Sub-Index rankings, Central African Republic performs best on Natural Environment and Governance and scores lowest on the Safety & Security sub-index.

Visit our Rankings table to see how the Central African Republic compares to other countries.

Prosperity Gap

The ‘Prosperity Gap’ takes a country's GDP and uses it as the yardstick to measure a nation's expected Prosperity Index ranking.

CAR is the poorest country in the 2016 Prosperity Index, so its low level of prosperity does not result in a significant prosperity deficit. Overall, CAR is delivering prosperity as expected given its wealth, although it does have two extreme performances: in the Safety & Security sub-index, CAR has its biggest prosperity deficit, whereas in the Natural Environment sub-index it has a significant prosperity surplus.

In the chart above, each dot represents a country. The curve shows the general tendency with which prosperity increases as GDP per capita increases. If a country falls below the curve, then we can say that compared to all other countries, it is under-delivering prosperity for its citizens. Likewise, if a country rises above the curve, then we can say that it is over-delivering prosperity for its citizens. Learn more about the Prosperity Gap here.

Alternatively, have a look at the Prosperity Gap view on our Rankings table for a full list of countries and to see how each of them are performing on the various sub-indices.


The Index captures CAR as a country that is struggling to recover from a history of conflict and political and economic mismanagement. Particularly alarming are the Safety & Security, Education, and Health sub-index scores, which are, respectively, the lowest and second lowest scores in the world.

The level of Safety and Security in CAR is extremely low, far below the regional and world averages, with severe consequences on the country’s economic, political, and social stability.
The level of Safety and Security in CAR is extremely low, far below the regional and world averages, with severe consequences on the country’s economic, political, and social stability.

Not only has the country been ravaged by ethnic and civil unrest, both from within and outside its boundaries, but it has also confronted severe humanitarian crises that have resulted in the highest percentages recorded by the Index of people with no easy access to adequate food and shelter: 83% and 62%, respectively. The country is indeed highly dependent on foreign aid, however a general mismanagement of international assistance, as well as the difficulty in reaching out to those living in the most outlying areas has made it hard to improve the situation.

The picture does not get brighter when it comes to Education and Health: both sectors are not adequately developed, and this adds more challenges to those already existing. A skilled labour force is lacking, and many continue to die from infectious diseases that could be easily treated, were the necessary resources available. Consequently, life expectancy at birth is among the lowest in the region: 51 years, far below the Sub-Saharan African average of 59.8 years.

CAR is also struggling to deliver better governance to its population. While people’s confidence in the national government is relatively high, its effectiveness as recorded by the Index is extremely poor. The country seems to suffer particularly from bad scores in regulation quality and rule of law, quite unsurprisingly when the country’s history of political instability, coups d’état, military rule, and rebels’ seizure of power since its independence from France in 1960 is considered.

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How to read this graph:
When comparing multiple countries on a spider chart, data points that appear
further away from the center represent a better performance to the points that are closer to the center.