PLEASE NOTE: This assessment was carried out in 2009. Information will be updated as soon as possible.
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The Central African Republic is a landlocked country. Therefore, the government has to identify the most suitable corridor to access the sea. To this effect, the country has four possibilities, with Sudan, the two Congo and Cameroon.
The Central African Republic can access the sea through the territory of Sudan, at Port-Sudan on the Indian Ocean. The main difficulty in using Port-Sudan as an entry point for goods destined to the Central African Republic is the state of the road in the Vakaga préfecture. Actually, road infrastructure in this region is in a poor state and almost impassable during the rainy season. Therefore, the traffic could be possible only for six moths during the dry season. Another difficulty could be the fact that fact that the two countries belong to two different economic area and the insecurity in the northern country due to the presence of rebels and the unrest in the Darfur (Sudan).
Possible access to the sea via the two Congo Pointe-Noire in the Republic of the Congo and Matadi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are two other possibilities for the Central African Republic to access the sea. This corridor could be cheaper and faster. But, the main weak points of this corridor are the use of combined transport (rail/river from Pointe-Noire and road/river from Matadi), which increases the risk of (food commodity) loss. Also, the road and rail links have proved to be unreliable for non-oil traffic.The seasonal navigability on the Ubangui River, which is limited to the wet season (From June to January), is another constraint. The continual silting of the Ubangui river-bed, which necessitate a constant and costly dredging of the waterway.
Douala in Cameroon as the most suitable access point to the sea for the Central African Republic. The estuary port of Douala is situated at over 1,450 kms from Bangui. This is actually the main port for the Central African Republic, handling about 80% of the international trade of this country. The main advantage of the port Douala is the fact that Cameroon and the Central African Republic belong to the same economic zone (CEMAC ). However, the transit time at the port of Douala remains high (over two weeks) and it could take more than 20 days for a truck to cover the distance of 1,450 km which separates Douala from Bangui. It should be mentioned that many stretches of this roads are still unpaved.