Congo, Democratic Republic of the

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Introduction - Congo, Democratic Republic of the:
CountryCongo, Democratic Republic of the
BackgroundEstablished 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:
LocationCentral Africa, northeast of Angola
Geographic coordinates0 00 N, 25 00 E
Map referencesAfrica
Areatotal: 2,345,410 sq km
land: 2,267,600 sq km
water: 77,810 sq km
Area comparativeslightly less than one-fourth the size of the US
Land boundariestotal: 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
Coastline37 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: boundaries with neighbors
Climatetropical; 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)
Terrainvast central basin is a low-lying plateau; mountains in east
Elevation extremeslowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pic Marguerite on Mont Ngaliema (Mount Stanley) 5,110 m
Natural resourcescobalt, copper, niobium, tantalum, petroleum, industrial and gem diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, uranium, coal, hydropower, timber
Land usearable land: 2.86%
permanent crops: 0.47%
other: 96.67% (2005)
Irrigated land110 sq km (2003)
Natural hazardsperiodic droughts in south; Congo River floods (seasonal); in the east, in the Great Rift Valley, there are active volcanoes
Environment current issuespoaching 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 agreementsparty 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 notestraddles 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:
Population65,751,512
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 structure0-14 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 agetotal: 16.1 years
male: 15.8 years
female: 16.4 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate3.39% (2007 est.)
Birth rate42.96 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate10.34 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate1.28 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratioat 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 ratetotal: 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 birthtotal population: 57.2 years
male: 54.97 years
female: 59.5 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate6.37 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Hiv aids adult prevalence rate4.2% (2003 est.)
Hiv aids people living with hiv aids1.1 million (2003 est.)
Hiv aids deaths100,000 (2003 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Congolese (singular and plural)
adjective: Congolese or Congo
Major infectious diseasesdegree 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 groupsover 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
ReligionsRoman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim 10%, other (includes syncretic sects and indigenous beliefs) 10%
LanguagesFrench (official), Lingala (a lingua franca trade language), Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili), Kikongo, Tshiluba
Literacydefinition: 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 nameconventional 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 typerepublic
Capitalname: Kinshasa
geographic coordinates: 4 19 S, 15 18 E
time difference: UTC+1 (six hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions10 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
Independence30 June 1960 (from Belgium)
National holidayIndependence Day, 30 June (1960)
Constitution18 February 2006
Legal systema new constitution was adopted by referendum 18 December 2005; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branchchief 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 branchbicameral 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 branchConstitutional Court; Appeals Court or Cour de Cassation; Council of State; High Military Court; plus civil and military courts and tribunals
Political parties and leadersChristian 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 leadersNA
International organization participationACCT, 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 uschief 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 uschief 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 descriptionsky 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 overviewThe 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 rate6.4% (2006 est.)
Gdp per capita ppp $700 (2006 est.)
Gdp composition by sectoragriculture: 55%
industry: 11%
services: 34% (2000 est.)
Labor force15 million (2006 est.)
Labor force by occupationagriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Unemployment rateNA%
Population below poverty lineNA%
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate consumer prices 18.2% (2006 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $700 million
expenditures: $2 billion (2006 est.)
Agriculture productscoffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber, tea, quinine, cassava (tapioca), palm oil, bananas, root crops, corn, fruits; wood products
Industriesmining (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 rateNA%
Electricity production353 million kWh (2004)
Electricity consumption658.3 million kWh (2004)
Electricity exportsNA
Electricity imports330 million kWh (2004)
Oil production21,090 bbl/day (2004)
Oil consumption8,200 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil exports229,700 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil imports8,220 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil proved reserves187 million bbl (1 January 2005)
Natural gas production0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas consumption0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas proved reserves991.1 million cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
Exports$1.108 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports commoditiesdiamonds, copper, crude oil, coffee, cobalt
Exports partnersBelgium 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 commoditiesfoodstuffs, mining and other machinery, transport equipment, fuels
Imports partnersSouth 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 ratesCongolese 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 yearcalendar year
Telephones main lines in use10,600 (2005)
Telephones mobile cellular2.746 million (2005)
Telephone systemgeneral 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 stationsAM 3, FM 11, shortwave 2 (2001)
Television broadcast stations4 (2001)
Internet country code.cd
Internet hosts1,778 (2006)
Internet users180,000 (2006)
Transportation - Congo, Democratic Republic of the:
Airports234 (2006)
Airports with paved runwaystotal: 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 runwaystotal: 209
1,524 to 2,437 m: 18
914 to 1,523 m: 94
under 914 m: 97 (2006)
Pipelinesgas 54 km; oil 78 km (2006)
Railwaystotal: 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)
Roadwaystotal: 153,497 km
paved: 2,794 km
unpaved: 150,703 km (2004)
Waterways15,000 km (2005)
Merchant marinetotal: 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 terminalsBanana, Boma, Bukavu, Bumba, Goma, Kalemie, Kindu, Kinshasa, Kisangani, Matadi, Mbandaka
Military - Congo, Democratic Republic of the:
Military branchesArmed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC): Army, Navy, Congolese Air Force (Force Aerienne Congolaise, FAC) (2006)
Military service age and obligation18-45 years of age for military service
Manpower available for military servicemales age 18-49: 11,365,610 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 18-49: 6,464,223 (2005 est.)
Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (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 gdp2.5% (2006)
Disputes internationalheads 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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