Congo, Democratic Republic of the

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Introduction - Congo, Democratic Republic of the:

Country

Congo, Democratic Republic of the

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 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 backed by Rwanda and Uganda and fronted by Laurent KABILA. He renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), but in August 1998 his regime was itself challenged by a second insurrection again backed by Rwanda and Uganda. Troops from Angola, Chad, Namibia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe intervened to support KABILAs regime. A cease-fire was signed in July 1999 by the DRC, Congolese armed rebel groups, Angola, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe 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 as president and four vice presidents represented the former government, former rebel groups, and the political opposition. The transitional government held a successful constitutional referendum in December 2005 and elections for the presidency, National Assembly, and provincial legislatures in 2006. KABILA was inaugurated president in December 2006. The National Assembly was installed in September 2006. Its president, Vital KAMERHE, was chosen in December. Provincial assemblies were constituted in early 2007, and elected governors and national senators in January 2007.

Location - Congo, Democratic Republic of the:

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 Angolas 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: 2.86%
permanent crops: 0.47%
other: 96.67% (2005)

Irrigated land

110 sq km (2003)

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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, 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

People - Congo, Democratic Republic of the:

Population

65,751,512
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 2007 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 47.6% (male 15,718,614/female 15,557,058)
15-64 years: 49.9% (male 16,224,734/female 16,571,549)
65 years and over: 2.6% (male 680,313/female 999,244) (2007 est.)

Median age

total: 16.1 years
male: 15.8 years
female: 16.4 years (2007 est.)

Population growth rate

3.39% (2007 est.)

Birth rate

42.96 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Death rate

10.34 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Net migration rate

1.28 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.979 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.681 male(s)/female
total population: 0.985 male(s)/female (2007 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 65.52 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 71.55 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 59.32 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 57.2 years
male: 54.97 years
female: 59.5 years (2007 est.)

Total fertility rate

6.37 children born/woman (2007 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

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria, plague, and African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) are high risks in some locations
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2007)

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 (includes 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.)

Government - Congo, Democratic Republic of the:

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: DRC

Government type

republic

Capital

name: Kinshasa
geographic coordinates: 4 19 S, 15 18 E
time difference: UTC+1 (six hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

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
note: according to the Constitution adopted in December 2005, the current administrative divisions will be subdivided into 26 new provinces by 2009

Independence

30 June 1960 (from Belgium)

National holiday

Independence Day, 30 June (1960)

Constitution

18 February 2006

Legal system

a new constitution was adopted by referendum 18 December 2005; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch

chief of state: President Joseph KABILA (since 17 January 2001); note - following the assassination of his father, Joseph KABILA succeeded to the presidency which he retained through the 2003-2006 transition; he was subsequently elected president in October 2006
head of government: Prime Minister Antoine GIZENGA (since 30 December 2006);
cabinet: Ministers of State appointed by the president
elections: under the new constitution the president is elected by popular vote to a five-year term (eligible for a second term); elections last held 30 July 2006 with a second round held on 29 October 2006 (next to be held in 2011); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: results of 29 October 2006 elections (second round); Joseph KABILA 58%, Jean-Pierre BEMBA Gombo 42%
note: Joseph KABILA succeeded his father, Laurent Desire KABILA, following the latters assassination in January 2001; negotiations with rebel leaders led to the establishment of a transitional government in July 2003 with free elections held on 30 July 2006 and 29 October 2006 confirming Joseph KABILA as president

Legislative branch

bicameral legislature consists of a National Assembly (500 seats; 61 members elected by majority vote in single-member constituencies, 439 members elected by open list proportional-representation in multi-member constituencies; to serve five-year terms) and a Senate (108 seats; members elected by provincial assemblies to serve five-year terms)
elections: National Assembly - last held 30 July 2006 (next to be held in 2011); Senate - last held 19 January 2007 (next to be held by 2012)
election results: National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PPRD 111, MLC 64, PALU 34, MSR 27, FR 26, RCD 15, independents 63, others 160 (includes 63 political parties that won 10 or fewer seats); Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PPRD 22, MLC 14, FR 7, RCD 7, PDC 6, CDC 3, MSR 3, PALU 2, independents 26, others 18 (political parties that won a single seat)

Judicial branch

Constitutional Court; Appeals Court or Cour de Cassation; Council of State; High Military Court; plus civil and military courts and tribunals

Political parties and leaders

Christian Democrat Party or PDC [Jose ENDUNDO]; Congolese Rally for Democracy or RCD [Azarias RUBERWA]; Convention of Christian Democrats or CDC; Forces of Renewal or FR [Mbusa NYAMWISI]; Movement for the Liberation of the Congo or MLC [Jean-Pierre BEMBA]; Peoples Party for Reconstruction and Democracy or PPRD [Joseph KABILA]; Social Movement for Renewal or MSR [Pierre LUMBI]; Unified Lumumbist Party or PALU [Antoine GIZENGA]; Union for Democracy and Social Progress or UDPS [Etienne TSHISEKEDI]; Union of Mobutuist Democrats or UDEMO [MOBUTU Nzanga]

Political pressure groups and leaders

NA

International organization participation

ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AU, CEPGL, COMESA, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (suspended), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the us

chief of mission: Ambassador Faida MITIFU
chancery: 1800 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009: note - Consular Office at 1726 M Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 234-7690, 7691
FAX: [1] (202) 234-2609

Diplomatic representation from the us

chief of mission: Ambassador Roger MEECE
embassy: 310 Avenue des Aviateurs, Kinshasa
mailing address: Unit 31550, APO AE 09828
telephone: [243] (81) 225 5872
FAX: [243] (81) 301 0558

Flag description

sky blue field divided diagonally from the lower hoist corner to upper fly corner by a red stripe bordered by two narrow yellow stripes; a yellow, five-pointed star appears in the upper hoist corner

Economy - Congo, Democratic Republic of the:

Economy overview

The economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo - a nation endowed with vast potential wealth - is recovering from two decades of decline. Conflict, 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 violence, 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 began to improve in late 2002 with the withdrawal of a large portion of the invading foreign troops. The transitional government reopened relations with international financial institutions and international donors, and President KABILA has begun implementing reforms. Much economic activity still occurs in the informal sector, and is not reflected in GDP data. Economic stability improved during the period 2003-06, although an uncertain legal framework, corruption, and a lack of transparency in government policy continues to hamper growth. In 2005-06, renewed activity in the mining sector, the source of most export income, boosted Kinshasas fiscal position and GDP growth. The International Monetary Fund program for the DRC, however, expired at the end of March 2006 and probably will not be reinstated until mid-2007. Government reforms and improved security may lead to increased government revenues, outside budget assistance, and foreign direct investment in 2007.

Gdp purchasing power parity

$44.44 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp official exchange rate

$7.98 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp real growth rate

6.4% (2006 est.)

Gdp per capita ppp

$700 (2006 est.)

Gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 55%
industry: 11%
services: 34% (2000 est.)

Labor force

15 million (2006 est.)

Labor force by occupation

agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Unemployment rate

NA%

Population below poverty line

NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate consumer prices

18.2% (2006 est.)

Budget

revenues: $700 million
expenditures: $2 billion (2006 est.)

Agriculture products

coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber, tea, quinine, cassava (tapioca), palm oil, bananas, root crops, corn, fruits; wood products

Industries

mining (diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt, coltan zinc), mineral processing, consumer products (including textiles, footwear, cigarettes, processed foods and beverages), cement, commercial ship repair

Industrial production growth rate

NA%

Electricity production

353 million kWh (2004)

Electricity consumption

658.3 million kWh (2004)

Electricity exports

NA

Electricity imports

330 million kWh (2004)

Oil production

21,090 bbl/day (2004)

Oil consumption

8,200 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil exports

229,700 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil imports

8,220 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Oil proved reserves

187 million bbl (1 January 2005)

Natural gas production

0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas consumption

0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas proved reserves

991.1 million cu m (1 January 2005 est.)

Exports

$1.108 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)

Exports commodities

diamonds, copper, crude oil, coffee, cobalt

Exports partners

Belgium 33.4%, China 24.1%, Chile 8.9%, Finland 8.2%, US 5.6% (2006)

Imports

$1.319 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)

Imports commodities

foodstuffs, mining and other machinery, transport equipment, fuels

Imports partners

South Africa 19.5%, Belgium 11.8%, France 9.4%, Kenya 7.5%, Zambia 6.5%, Cote dIvoire 4.8% (2006)

Debt external

$10 billion (2006 est.)

Economic aid recipient

$2.2 billion (FY03/04)

Currency code

Congolese franc (CDF)

Exchange rates

Congolese francs per US dollar - 464.69 (2006), 437.86 (2005), 401.04 (2004), 405.34 (2003), 346.49 (2002)

Communications - Congo, Democratic Republic of the:

Fiscal year

calendar year

Telephones main lines in use

10,600 (2005)

Telephones mobile cellular

2.746 million (2005)

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) (2001)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 3, FM 11, shortwave 2 (2001)

Television broadcast stations

4 (2001)

Internet country code

.cd

Internet hosts

1,778 (2006)

Internet users

180,000 (2006)

Transportation - Congo, Democratic Republic of the:

Airports

234 (2006)

Airports with paved runways

total: 25
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
under 914 m: 1 (2006)

Airports with unpaved runways

total: 209
1,524 to 2,437 m: 18
914 to 1,523 m: 94
under 914 m: 97 (2006)

Pipelines

gas 54 km; oil 78 km (2006)

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 (2006)

Roadways

total: 153,497 km
paved: 2,794 km
unpaved: 150,703 km (2004)

Waterways

15,000 km (2005)

Merchant marine

total: 1 ship (1000 GRT or over) 1,004 GRT/1,640 DWT
by type: petroleum tanker 1
foreign-owned: 1 (Congo, Republic of the 1) (2006)

Ports and terminals

Banana, Boma, Bukavu, Bumba, Goma, Kalemie, Kindu, Kinshasa, Kisangani, Matadi, Mbandaka

Military - Congo, Democratic Republic of the:

Military branches

Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC): Army, Navy, Congolese Air Force (Force Aerienne Congolaise, FAC) (2006)

Military service age and obligation

18-45 years of age for military service

Manpower available for military service

males age 18-49: 11,365,610 (2005 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 18-49: 6,464,223 (2005 est.)

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 106,772 (Angola), 42,360 (Rwanda), 19,032 (Burundi), 18,954 (Uganda), 11,723 (Sudan), 5,243 (Republic of Congo)
IDPs: 1.1 million (fighting between government forces and rebels since mid-1990s; most IDPs are in eastern provinces) (2006)

Military expenditures percent of gdp

2.5% (2006)

Disputes international

heads of the Great Lakes states and UN pledge to abate tribal, rebel, and militia fighting in the northeastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC); in 2006, the UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) maintained over 18,000 uniformed peacekeepers in the region, first deployed in 1999; despite significant repatriation efforts by governments and international organizations, in 2006, Angolans, Rwandans, Sudanese, and residents of other neighboring states reside as refugees in the DROC; members of Ugandas Lords Resistance Army forces take refuge in DROCs Garamba National Park; 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

This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>


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