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Central African Republic: Roadside 'petrol kings' in Bangui as fuel crisis drags on

Fuel vendors wait for customers in front of an emtpy gas station in Bangui, on October 16, 2022.   -  
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BARBARA DEBOUT/AFP or licensors -

Central African Republic

**Black marketeers grease the wheels in Central Africa's petrol crisis.**On the side of the roads of Bangui, vendors sell petrol to passersby. In the past two months the Central african Republic has faced a severe petrol shortage. In the capital, motor taxi drivers are giving up their trade or paying higher prices to get fuel. 

"When you go to the stations, you can't find any fuel, whereas in the stations you buy a litre for 885 CFA francs. But now the stations are not working. This makes the prices high." said Job, motor-taxi driver.

"Some drivers have parked their motorbikes because of this shortage. Because they don't want to have problems with their bosses. If you don't buy at the stations, at the roadside it's more expensive and you lose revenue. So some people are handing over the motorbike to the boss at the moment to avoid this," he added.

For years the price of petrol has been blocked by the government at 865 CFA francs (1.32 euros) a litre. On the street, a bottle costs up to 40 percent more.

"We pay taxes there and on the Central African side we also pay the customs officers. On their side, it's 100 FCFA per can. Here it's 250 FCFA. What we do, we don't earn billions. But we are looking for ways to survive," added Max Andjiba, a street vendor.

Petrol sellers buy on the black market where the product is often of poor quality from cheap additives.

Hundreds of petrol station workers around Bangui are out of a job and have been replaced by curbside sellers.

Despite mineral resources such as gold, diamonds and potentially even plenty of oil reserves, the World Bank estimates that 71 percent of Central Africa's six million people live below the international poverty line of $2.15 a day.

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