West and Equatorial Africa
A new stage in the history of the Central African Republic (formerly the French colony of Ubangi-Shari), the stage of its independent political development, began on August 13, 1960. The republic received a bitter legacy from the colonial regime. In 1960, the per capita gross social product barely reached 27,000 African francs CFA or less than $100. The economy was one-sided. Three items ― diamonds, cotton and coffee ― accounted for 80% of all exports in 1960. On the very day when political independence was proclaimed the republic's government signed a string of "cooperation" agreements, assuming the obligation to consult France on matters of foreign policy, defence, economics, finances, the use of strategic raw materials and the organisation of its transport system and higher education.