Economy of the Central African Republic

The economy of the Central African Republic is one of the world's least developed, with an estimated annual per capita income of just $547 as measured by purchasing power parity in 2014. Sparsely populated and landlocked, the nation is overwhelmingly agrarian; the vast bulk of the population engages in subsistence farming and 55% of the country's GDP arises from agriculture. Subsistence agriculture, together with forestry, remains the backbone of the economy of the Central African Republic, with more than 70% of the population living in outlying areas. Principal food crops include cassava, sorghum, maize and plantains. Principal cash crops for export include cotton and tobacco. Timber has accounted for about 16% of export earnings and the diamond industry for nearly 54%. Much of the country's limited electrical supply is provided by hydroelectric plants located in Boali. Fuel supplies must be barged in via the Oubangui River or trucked overland through Cameroon, resulting in frequent shortages of gasoline and jet fuel.

The C. A. R.'s transportation and communication network is limited. The country has only 429 kilometers of paved road, limited international, no domestic air service, does not possess a railroad. River traffic on the Oubangui River is impossible from April to July, conflict in the region has sometimes prevented shipments from moving between Kinshasa and Bangui; the telephone system functions, albeit imperfectly. Four radio stations operate in the C. A. R. as well as one television station. Numerous newspapers and pamphlets are published on a regular basis, one company has begun providing Internet service. There are 22.2 million hectares of forest, but only 3.4 million hectares of dense forest, all in the south in the regions bordering the DRC, Republic of Congo and Cameroon. The CAR's exploitable forests cover 43 % of the total land area. Transportation bottlenecks on rivers and lack of rail connections are serious hindrances to commercial exploitation. Most timber is shipped down the Ubangi and Zaire rivers and on the Congo railway to the Atlantic.

About 34 species of trees are felled, but 85 percent of the total is ayous, Aniegré, iroko and sipo. A dozen sawmills produced 650,000 cubic metres of sawn logs and veneer logs in 2014; the government is encouraging production of plywood and veneer due to the high exporting costs due to poor transportation infrastructure. Competition from lower-cost Asian and Latin American loggers has hurt the local industry, encumbered with high transportation and labor costs. In 2014, the country exported 59.3 million US dollars of forest products. This accounts for 40% of the countries total export earnings; the country has rich natural resources in the form of diamonds, gold and other minerals. Diamonds constitute one of the most important exports of the CAR accounting for 20-30% of export revenues, but an estimated 30-50% of the diamonds produced each year leave the country clandestinely. There may be petroleum deposits along the country's northern border with Chad. Diamonds are the only of these mineral resources being developed.

Industry contributes less than 20% of the country's GDP, with artesian diamond mining and sawmills making up the bulk of the sector. Services account for 25% of GDP because of the oversized government bureaucracy and high transportation costs arising from the country's landlocked position. 74 percent of the population in the Central African Republic works in the agriculture industry, so Central African Republic's economy is dominated by the cultivation and sale of foodcrops such as yams, peanuts, sorghum, millet and plantains. The importance of foodcrops over exported cash crops is illustrated by the fact that the total production of cassava, the staple food of most Central Africans, ranges between c. 200,000 and 300,000 tons a year, while the production of cotton, the principal exported cash crop, ranges from c. 25,000 to 45,000 tons a year. Foodcrops are not exported in large quantities but they still constitute the principal cash crops of the country because Central Africans derive far more income from the periodic sale of surplus foodcrops than from exported cash crops such as cotton or coffee.

Many rural and urban women transform some foodcrops into alcoholic drinks such as sorghum beer or hard liquor and derive considerable income from the sale of these drinks. Much of the income derived from the sale of foods and alcohol is not "on the books" and thus is not considered in calculating per capita income, one reason why official figures for per capita income are not accurate in the case of the CAR; the per capita income of the CAR is listed as being around $400 a year, said to be one of the lowest in the world, but this figure is based on reported sales of exports and ignores the more important but unregistered sale of foods, locally produced alcohol, ivory and traditional medicines, for example. The informal economy of the CAR is more important than the formal economy for most Central Africans; the financial sector of the CAR, the smallest in the CEMAC, plays a limited role in supporting economic growth. Suffering from weak market infrastructure and legal and judicial frameworks, the financial system remains small and dominated by commercial banks.

Because of economic and security concerns, financial institutions, microfinance institutions, have con


Yerseke is a village situated on the southern shore of the Oosterschelde estuary in the Dutch province of Zeeland. A separate municipality until 1970, it today forms part of the municipality of Reimerswaal; as of 2010 Yerseke had a recorded population of 6,695 inhabitants. The fishing village is well known for its aquaculture. Tourists visit the oyster pits and museum of the town and fishing industry, as well as the annual celebration of the mussel harvest in August; the village furthermore plays host to the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research. The site of Yerseke may have been inhabited for more than a millennium, since before the early Middle Ages. Skeletal remains found in 1923 during an archaeological dig were dated to the Carolingian period. However, the first historical mention of Yerseke most dates to a deed, or charter, issued on January 24, 966 AD under the name of ‘Gersika’ by the Holy Roman Emperor Otto I; the area was property of abbeys in Flanders. The town was founded on an elevated ridge as the area as dikes were only built in the 13th century by monks.

The earliest inhabitants practiced sheep husbandry and extracted peat from surrounding moors when dikes were constructed. Agriculture remained the primary activity of the town until the 16th century, when the Saint Felix flood inundated large parts of land around the now lost trading city of Reimerswaal to the east; as a result, Yerseke turned from a landlocked village into one located along the shores of the Eastern Scheldt, which would shape much of its future. While the economy of Yerseke remained little changed and aquaculture acquired greater importance, along with a concurrent population increase, beginning in the 19th century; the industry had its origins in the nearby hamlet Yersekendam that had a small harbour, is now amalgamated with the town of Yerseke itself. During World War II the village suffered heavy damage; when Nazi Germany invaded in May 1940, many villagers evacuated due to anticipated fighting along the defensive Zanddijk line, stretching from the village southwards towards Hansweert across Zuid-Beveland.

French naval bombardment from the Western Scheldt of German positions along the defensive line and Canal through Zuid-Beveland resulted in severe damage to the town. The main church was, along with much of the town centre entirely ruined. Besides the church, twenty-five structures were destroyed while an additional 36 received heavy damage, causing seventy families to become homeless. Although the village was liberated by Canadian forces in 1944, Nazi V-1 rockets struck the village in March 1945. During the occupation, men from the village were taken to Germany as forced labourers for German industry; the North Sea flood of 1953 did not cause flooding within the town itself. However, many of the town’s fishing vessels assisted inundated communities; the locality is well known in the region and farther afield in Belgium, for its aquaculture and fishing industry: for the cultivation from the Eastern Scheldt of mussels, oysters and lobster. Due to the economic success and wealth created by the oyster and mussel industries, Yerseke has received the nickname “Klondike of Zeeland”, while mussels are sometimes referred to as “black gold”.

Starting in 1870, the village began large-scale cultivation of oysters in response to high French demand. For this purpose, parcels within the Eastern Scheldt were leased out by the government for farming, while pits outside the dikes employing roof tiles were constructed for cultivation of oyster larvae; these pits were abandoned in the 20th century, replaced by pits built within the dikes close to the harbour, where roof tiles have given way to modern racks. The pits serve to flush oysters harvested from the estuaries, are surrounded by old, characteristic warehouses. While the oyster industry created wealth, it suffered many setbacks and upheavals, as well as creating social inequalities. In 1885, some oyster farmers sought greater opportunities by immigrating to West Sayville, New York on Long Island, where wild oysters were once abundant. During the 20th century, further setbacks in the form of harsh winters in 1963, the threatened closing of the Eastern Scheldt by a dam led to the collapse of the oyster industry.

After moderate recovery, the bacterium Bonamia ostreae infected the prevalent flat oysters, again decimating the industry in 1980. This led to the introduction of the Pacific Oyster, now the most cultivated oyster species, which some consider an invasive species. Mussels have always been a staple along the coast, but only at the end of the 19th century were there concerted efforts at standardising production. Beginning after the war, mussels have gained greater economic significance and eclipsed the oyster in importance; this is manifest by the village hosting the only mussel auction in the world. In the past, mussels were caught and harvested with small sailing sloops, the so-called hoogaars and hengst. Today advanced and much larger ships are employed, able to not only manage the harvest on the Eastern Scheldt but sail longer distances, including to the Wadden Sea where mussels have been seeded and harvested since about 1950 when a parasite threatened the harvest in the Eastern Scheldt; the mussels are grown and harvested at sea in a natural process.

The harbor of Yerseke has expanded continuously since the 19th century along with the fishing industry. The original harbor of

Hyman Schorenstein

Hyman Schorenstein was a Brooklyn Democratic leader who dominated Brooklyn politics for three decades beginning in the late 1910s. He influenced a Democratic party fixer. Schorenstein immigrated from Poland in the late 1800s, he took control of politics in Brownsville and was voted into office representing the Democratic Party. He led the effort to oppose socialists who were against United States involvement in World War I. Schorenstein became the first Jewish Democratic District leader, he was able to impress the Irish political machine and was appointed an election district captain at the age of 20. He offered. One story alleged he gave 10 boots to a family of fisherman promising they would arrive after the election. In 1928, Schorenstein was credited with stopping an eleventh-hour revolt in the Ohio delegation, he guaranteed Governor Al Smith of New York the nomination for president. Schorenstein's illiteracy was well known. Schorenstein political rival’s challenge him to his literacy in 1933 when Schorenstein was Brooklyn's commissioner of records.

The rival asked "can you read or write English?" to which Schorenstein replied "that’s my own personal business". Milton S. Gould, Schorenstein's friend, a lawyer said, "there was one tragic flaw in the effulgent personality of this municipal monarch: He was illiterate."After dominating local politics for three decades, Schorenstein was voted out of office due to the Italian mafia sending hundreds of associates to illegally vote against him in his district. His nephew Walter Herbert Shorenstein was a real estate investor and a top Democratic donor who, at one point, became the largest landlord in San Francisco. Hyman Schorenstein at Find a Grave