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By Details > Visit Detail > Country Facts for Congo, The Democratic Republic of the
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Introduction Geography People Government Economy Communications Transportation Military Transnational Issues
Map of Congo, The Democratic Republic of the
IntroductionTop
Background:Established as a Belgian colony in 1908, the Republic of the Congo gained its independence in 1960, but its early years were marred by political and social instability. Col. Joseph MOBUTU seized power and declared himself president in a November 1965 coup. He subsequently changed his name - to MOBUTU Sese Seko - as well as that of the country - to Zaire. MOBUTU retained his position for 32 years through several subsequent sham elections as well as through the use of brutal force. Ethnic strife and civil war, touched off by a massive inflow of refugees in 1994 from fighting in Rwanda and Burundi, led in May 1997 to the toppling of the MOBUTU regime by a rebellion led by Laurent KABILA. He renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC), but in August 1998 his regime was itself challenged by an insurrection backed by Rwanda and Uganda. Troops from Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Chad, and Sudan intervened to support the Kinshasa regime. A cease-fire was signed in July 1999 by the DROC, Zimbabwe, Angola, Uganda, Namibia, Rwanda, and Congolese armed rebel groups, but sporadic fighting continued. Laurent KABILA was assassinated in January 2001 and his son Joseph KABILA was named head of state. In October 2002, the new president was successful in negotiating the withdrawal of Rwandan forces occupying eastern Congo; two months later, the Pretoria Accord was signed by all remaining warring parties to end the fighting and establish a government of national unity. A transitional government was set up in July 2003; Joseph KABILA remains as president and is joined by four vice presidents representing the former government, former rebel groups, and the political opposition.
GeographyTop
Location:Central Africa, northeast of Angola
Geographic coordinates:0 00 N, 25 00 E
Map references:Africa
Area:total: 2,345,410 sq km
land: 2,267,600 sq km
water: 77,810 sq km

Area - comparative:slightly less than one-fourth the size of the US
Land boundaries:total: 10,730 km
border countries: Angola 2,511 km (of which 225 km is the boundary of Angola's discontiguous Cabinda Province), Burundi 233 km, Central African Republic 1,577 km, Republic of the Congo 2,410 km, Rwanda 217 km, Sudan 628 km, Tanzania 459 km, Uganda 765 km, Zambia 1,930 km

Coastline:37 km
Maritime claims:territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: boundaries with neighbors

Climate:tropical; hot and humid in equatorial river basin; cooler and drier in southern highlands; cooler and wetter in eastern highlands; north of Equator - wet season April to October, dry season December to February; south of Equator - wet season November to March, dry season April to October
Terrain:vast central basin is a low-lying plateau; mountains in east
Elevation extremes:lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pic Marguerite on Mont Ngaliema (Mount Stanley) 5,110 m

Natural resources:cobalt, copper, niobium, tantalum, petroleum, industrial and gem diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, uranium, coal, hydropower, timber
Land use:arable land: 2.96%
permanent crops: 0.52%
other: 96.52% (2001)

Irrigated land:110 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:periodic droughts in south; Congo River floods (seasonal); in the east, in the Great Rift Valley, there are active volcanoes
Environment - current issues:poaching threatens wildlife populations; water pollution; deforestation; refugees responsible for significant deforestation, soil erosion, and wildlife poaching; mining of minerals (coltan - a mineral used in creating capacitors, diamonds, and gold) causing environmental damage
Environment - international agreements:party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification

Geography - note:straddles equator; has very narrow strip of land that controls the lower Congo River and is only outlet to South Atlantic Ocean; dense tropical rain forest in central river basin and eastern highlands
PeopleTop
Population:60,085,804
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2005 est.)

Age structure:0-14 years: 48.1% (male 14,513,779/female 14,396,952)
15-64 years: 49.4% (male 14,579,101/female 15,121,297)
65 years and over: 2.5% (male 597,776/female 876,099) (2005 est.)

Median age:total: 15.8 years
male: 15.4 years
female: 16.2 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:2.98% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:44.38 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:14.43 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:-0.17 migrant(s)/1,000 population
note: fighting between the Congolese Government and Uganda- and Rwanda-backed Congolese rebels spawned a regional war in DROC in August 1998, which left 1.8 million Congolese internally displaced and caused 300,000 Congolese refugees to flee to surrounding countries (2005 est.)

Sex ratio:at birth: 1.01 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:total: 92.87 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 101.25 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 84.23 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:total population: 49.35 years
male: 47.29 years
female: 51.47 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:6.54 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:4.2% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:1.1 million (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:100,000 (2003 est.)
Nationality:noun: Congolese (singular and plural)
adjective: Congolese or Congo

Ethnic groups:over 200 African ethnic groups of which the majority are Bantu; the four largest tribes - Mongo, Luba, Kongo (all Bantu), and the Mangbetu-Azande (Hamitic) make up about 45% of the population
Religions:Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim 10%, other syncretic sects and indigenous beliefs 10%
Languages:French (official), Lingala (a lingua franca trade language), Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili), Kikongo, Tshiluba
Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write French, Lingala, Kingwana, or Tshiluba
total population: 65.5%
male: 76.2%
female: 55.1% (2003 est.)

GovernmentTop
Country name:conventional long form: Democratic Republic of the Congo
conventional short form: none
local long form: Republique Democratique du Congo
local short form: none
former: Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Congo/Leopoldville, Congo/Kinshasa, Zaire
abbreviation: DROC

Government type:dictatorship; presumably undergoing a transition to representative government
Capital:Kinshasa
Administrative divisions:10 provinces (provinces, singular - province) and 1 city* (ville); Bandundu, Bas-Congo, Equateur, Kasai-Occidental, Kasai-Oriental, Katanga, Kinshasa*, Maniema, Nord-Kivu, Orientale, Sud-Kivu
Independence:30 June 1960 (from Belgium)
National holiday:Independence Day, 30 June (1960)
Constitution:a new constitution was adopted 17 July 2003
Legal system:based on Belgian civil law system and tribal law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:chief of state: President Joseph KABILA (since 26 January 2001); note - following the assassination of his father, Laurent Desire KABILA, on 16 January 2001, Joseph KABILA succeeded to the presidency; the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Joseph KABILA (since 26 January 2001); note - following the assassination of his father, Laurent Desire KABILA, on 16 January 2001, Joseph KABILA succeeded to the presidency; the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: National Executive Council, appointed by the president
elections: prior to the overthrow of MOBUTU Sese Seko, the president was elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; election last held 29 July 1984 (next was scheduled to be held in May 1997); formerly, there was also a prime minister who was elected by the High Council of the Republic; note - a Transitional Government is drafting a new constitution with free elections scheduled to be held in NA 2005
election results: MOBUTU Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga reelected president in 1984 without opposition
note: Joseph KABILA succeeded his father, Laurent Desire KABILA, following the latter's assassination in January 2001, negotiations with rebel leaders led to the establishment of a transitional government in July 2003 with free elections scheduled to be held in NA 2005

Legislative branch:a 300-member Transitional Constituent Assembly established in August 2000
elections: NA; members of the Transitional Constituent Assembly were appointed by former President Laurent Desire KABILA

Judicial branch:Supreme Court or Cour Supreme
Political parties and leaders:Democratic Social Christian Party or PDSC [Andre BO-BOLIKO]; Forces for Renovation for Union and Solidarity or FONUS [Joseph OLENGHANKOY]; National Congolese Lumumbist Movement or MNC [Francois LUMUMBA]; Popular Movement of the Revolution or MPR (three factions: MPR-Fait Prive [Catherine NZUZI wa Mbombo]; MPR/Vunduawe [Felix VUNDUAWE]; MPR/Mananga [MANANGA Dintoka Mpholo]); Unified Lumumbast Party or PALU [Antoine GIZENGA]; Union for Democracy and Social Progress or UDPS [Etienne TSHISEKEDI wa Mulumba]; Union of Federalists and Independent Republicans or UFERI (two factions: UFERI [Lokambo OMOKOKO]; UFERI/OR [Adolph Kishwe MAYA])
Political pressure groups and leaders:NA
International organization participation:ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AU, CEPGL, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, MIGA, NAM, OPCW (signatory), PCA, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
Flag description:light blue with a large yellow five-pointed star in the center and a columnar arrangement of six small yellow five-pointed stars along the hoist side
EconomyTop
Economy - overview:The economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo - a nation endowed with vast potential wealth - has declined drastically since the mid-1980s. The war, which began in August 1998, dramatically reduced national output and government revenue, increased external debt, and resulted in the deaths of perhaps 3.5 million people from war, famine, and disease. Foreign businesses curtailed operations due to uncertainty about the outcome of the conflict, lack of infrastructure, and the difficult operating environment. Conditions improved in late 2002 with the withdrawal of a large portion of the invading foreign troops. Several IMF and World Bank missions have met with the government to help it develop a coherent economic plan, and President KABILA has begun implementing reforms. Much economic activity lies outside the GDP data. Economic stability, aided by international donors, improved in 2003-04, although an uncertain legal framework, corruption, and a lack of openness in government policy continues to hamper growth. In 2005, renewed activity in the mining sector, the source of most exports, could boost Kinshasa's fiscal position and GDP growth.
GDP:purchasing power parity - $42.74 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:7.5% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:purchasing power parity - $700 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 55%
industry: 11%
services: 34% (2000 est.)

Labor force:14.51 million (1993 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:NA
Unemployment rate:NA (2003 est.)
Population below poverty line:NA
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA

Inflation rate (consumer prices):14% (2003 est.)
Budget:revenues: $269 million
expenditures: $244 million, including capital expenditures of $24 million (1996 est.)

Agriculture - products:coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber, tea, quinine, cassava (tapioca), palm oil, bananas, root crops, corn, fruits; wood products
Industries:mining (diamonds, copper, zinc), mineral processing, consumer products (including textiles, footwear, cigarettes, processed foods and beverages), cement, commercial ship repair
Industrial production growth rate:NA
Electricity - production:6.086 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 1.8%
hydro: 98.2%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - consumption:4.168 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:1.5 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:8 million kWh (2002)
Oil - production:24,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:14,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:NA
Oil - imports:NA
Oil - proved reserves:1.538 billion bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - proved reserves:104.8 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Exports:$1.417 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities:diamonds, copper, crude oil, coffee, cobalt
Exports - partners:Belgium 42.5%, Finland 17.8%, Zimbabwe 12.2%, US 9.2%, China 6.5% (2004)
Imports:$933 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:foodstuffs, mining and other machinery, transport equipment, fuels
Imports - partners:South Africa 18.5%, Belgium 15.6%, France 10.9%, US 6.2%, Germany 5.9%, Kenya 4.9% (2004)
Debt - external:$11.6 billion (2000 est.)
Currency (code):Congolese franc (CDF)
Currency code:CDF
Exchange rates:Congolese francs per US dollar - 401.04 (2004), 405.34 (2003), 346.49 (2002), 206.62 (2001), 21.82 (2000)
Fiscal year:calendar year
CommunicationsTop
Telephones - main lines in use:10,000 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:1 million (2003)
Telephone system:general assessment: poor
domestic: barely adequate wire and microwave radio relay service in and between urban areas; domestic satellite system with 14 earth stations
international: country code - 243; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:AM 3, FM 11, shortwave 2 (2001)
Radios:18.03 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:4 (2001)
Televisions:6.478 million (1997)
Internet country code:.cd
Internet hosts:153 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):1 (2001)
Internet users:50,000 (2002)
TransportationTop
Railways:total: 5,138 km
narrow gauge: 3,987 km 1.067-m gauge (858 km electrified); 125 km 1.000-m gauge; 1,026 km 0.600-m gauge (2004)

Highways:total: 157,000 km (including 30 km of expressways)
paved: NA km
unpaved: NA km (1999 est.)

Waterways:15,000 km (navigation on the Congo curtailed by fighting) (2004)
Pipelines:gas 54 km; oil 71 km (2004)
Ports and harbors:Banana, Boma, Bukavu, Bumba, Goma, Kalemie, Kindu, Kinshasa, Kisangani, Matadi, Mbandaka
Merchant marine:registered in other countries: 1
Airports:230 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:total: 24
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 16
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2004 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:total: 206
1,524 to 2,437 m: 17
914 to 1,523 m: 92
under 914 m: 97 (2004 est.)

MilitaryTop
Military branches:Army, Navy, Air Force
Military manpower - availability:males age 18-49: 11,052,696 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:males age 18-49: 5,851,292 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:$93.5 million (2004)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:1.5% (2004)
Transnational IssuesTop
Disputes - international:heads of the Great Lakes states and UN pledge to end conflict but unchecked tribal, rebel, and militia fighting continues unabated in the northeastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, drawing in the neighboring states of Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda; the UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) has maintained over 14,000 peacekeepers in the region since 1999; thousands of Ituri refugees from the Congo continue to flee the fighting primarily into Uganda; 90,000 Angolan refugees were repatriated by 2004 with the remainder in the Democratic Republic of the Congo expected to return in 2005; in 2005, DROC and Rwanda established a border verification mechanism to address accusations of Rwandan military supporting Congolese rebels and the DROC providing rebel Rwandan "Interhamwe" forces the means and bases to attack Rwandan forces; the location of the boundary in the broad Congo River with the Republic of the Congo is indefinite except in the Pool Malebo/Stanley Pool area
Refugees and internally displaced persons::refugees (country of origin): 45,060 (Sudan) 100,000 (Angola) 19,552 (Burundi) 6,626 (Republic of Congo) 19,743 (Rwanda) 18,953 (Uganda)
IDPs: 2.33 million (fighting between government forces and rebels since mid-1990s; most IDPs are in eastern provinces) (2004)

Illicit drugs:illicit producer of cannabis, mostly for domestic consumption; while rampant corruption and inadequate supervision leaves the banking system vulnerable to money laundering, the lack of a well-developed financial system limits the country's utility as a money-laundering center



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