Congo, Republic of the

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Introduction - Congo, Republic of the:


Congo, Republic of the


Upon independence in 1960, the former French region of Middle Congo became the Republic of the Congo. A quarter century of experimentation with Marxism was abandoned in 1990 and a democratically elected government took office in 1992. A brief civil war in 1997 restored former Marxist President Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO, and ushered in a period of ethnic and political unrest. Southern-based rebel groups agreed to a final peace accord in March 2003, but the calm is tenuous and refugees continue to present a humanitarian crisis. The Republic of Congo was once one of Africas largest petroleum producers, but with declining production it will need to hope for new offshore oil finds to sustain its oil earnings over the long term.

Location - Congo, Republic of the:


Western Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and Gabon

Geographic coordinates

1 00 S, 15 00 E

Map references



total: 342,000 sq km
land: 341,500 sq km
water: 500 sq km

Area comparative

slightly smaller than Montana

Land boundaries

total: 5,504 km
border countries: Angola 201 km, Cameroon 523 km, Central African Republic 467 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 2,410 km, Gabon 1,903 km


169 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 200 nm


tropical; rainy season (March to June); dry season (June to October); persistent high temperatures and humidity; particularly enervating climate astride the Equator


coastal plain, southern basin, central plateau, northern basin

Elevation extremes

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Berongou 903 m

Natural resources

petroleum, timber, potash, lead, zinc, uranium, copper, phosphates, gold, magnesium, natural gas, hydropower

Land use

arable land: 1.45%
permanent crops: 0.15%
other: 98.4% (2005)

Irrigated land

20 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards

seasonal flooding

Environment current issues

air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from the dumping of raw sewage; tap water is not potable; deforestation

Environment international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography note

about 70% of the population lives in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, or along the railroad between them

People - Congo, Republic of the:


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: 46.3% (male 885,039/female 873,753)
15-64 years: 50.8% (male 958,992/female 973,445)
65 years and over: 2.9% (male 44,994/female 64,387) (2007 est.)

Median age

total: 16.7 years
male: 16.4 years
female: 17 years (2007 est.)

Population growth rate

2.639% (2007 est.)

Birth rate

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

Death rate

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

Net migration rate

-3.17 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.013 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.985 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.699 male(s)/female
total population: 0.988 male(s)/female (2007 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 83.26 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 88.93 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 77.42 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 53.29 years
male: 52.1 years
female: 54.52 years (2007 est.)

Total fertility rate

5.99 children born/woman (2007 est.)

Hiv aids adult prevalence rate

4.9% (2003 est.)

Hiv aids people living with hiv aids

90,000 (2003 est.)

Hiv aids deaths

9,700 (2003 est.)


noun: Congolese (singular and plural)
adjective: Congolese or Congo

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria (2007)

Ethnic groups

Kongo 48%, Sangha 20%, MBochi 12%, Teke 17%, Europeans and other 3%


Christian 50%, animist 48%, Muslim 2%


French (official), Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages), many local languages and dialects (of which Kikongo is the most widespread)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 83.8%
male: 89.6%
female: 78.4% (2003 est.)

Government - Congo, Republic of the:

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of the Congo
conventional short form: Congo (Brazzaville)
local long form: Republique du Congo
local short form: none
former: Middle Congo, Congo/Brazzaville, Congo

Government type



name: Brazzaville
geographic coordinates: 4 15 S, 15 17 E
time difference: UTC+1 (six hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

10 regions (regions, singular - region) and 1 commune*; Bouenza, Brazzaville*, Cuvette, Cuvette-Ouest, Kouilou, Lekoumou, Likouala, Niari, Plateaux, Pool, Sangha


15 August 1960 (from France)

National holiday

Independence Day, 15 August (1960)


approved by referendum 20 January 2002

Legal system

based on French civil law system and customary law


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO (since 25 October 1997, following the civil war in which he toppled elected president Pascal LISSOUBA); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO (since 25 October 1997, following the civil war in which he toppled elected president Pascal LISSOUBA)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 10 March 2002 (next to be held in 2009)
election results: Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO reelected president; percent of vote - Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO 89.4%, Joseph Kignoumbi Kia MBOUNGOU 2.7%

Legislative branch

bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (66 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and the National Assembly (137 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 11 July 2002 (next to be held in July 2007); National Assembly - last held 27 May and 26 June 2002 (next to be held by May 2007)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FDP 56, other 10; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FDP 83, UDR 6, UPADS 3, other 45

Judicial branch

Supreme Court or Cour Supreme

Political parties and leaders

Democratic and Patriotic Forces or FDP [Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO, president] (an alliance of Convention for Alternative Democracy, Congolese Labor Party or PCT, Liberal Republican Party, National Union for Democracy and Progress, Patriotic Union for the National Reconstruction, and Union for the National Renewal); Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development or MCDDI [Michel MAMPOUYA]; Pan-African Union for Social Development or UPADS [Martin MBERI]; Rally for Democracy and Social Progress or RDPS [Jean-Pierre Thystere TCHICAYA, president]; Rally for Democracy and the Republic or RDR [Raymond Damasge NGOLLO]; Union for Democracy and Republic or UDR; Union of Democratic Forces or UFD [Sebastian EBAO]; many less important parties

Political pressure groups and leaders

Congolese Trade Union Congress or CSC; General Union of Congolese Pupils and Students or UGEEC; Revolutionary Union of Congolese Women or URFC; Union of Congolese Socialist Youth or UJSC

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the us

chief of mission: Ambassador Serge MOMBOULI
chancery: 4891 Colorado Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20011
telephone: [1] (202) 726-5500
FAX: [1] (202) 726-1860

Diplomatic representation from the us

chief of mission: Ambassador Robert WEISBERG
embassy: NA
mailing address: NA
telephone: [243] (88) 43608
note: the embassy is temporarily collocated with the US Embassy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (US Embassy Kinshasa, 310 Avenue des Aviateurs, Kinshasa)

Flag description

divided diagonally from the lower hoist side by a yellow band; the upper triangle (hoist side) is green and the lower triangle is red; uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia

Economy - Congo, Republic of the:

Economy overview

The economy is a mixture of village agriculture and handicrafts, an industrial sector based largely on oil, support services, and a government characterized by budget problems and overstaffing. Oil has supplanted forestry as the mainstay of the economy, providing a major share of government revenues and exports. In the early 1980s, rapidly rising oil revenues enabled the government to finance large-scale development projects with GDP growth averaging 5% annually, one of the highest rates in Africa. The government has mortgaged a substantial portion of its oil earnings through oil-backed loans that have contributed to a growing debt burden and chronic revenue shortfalls. Economic reform efforts have been undertaken with the support of international organizations, notably the World Bank and the IMF. However, the reform program came to a halt in June 1997 when civil war erupted. Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO, who returned to power when the war ended in October 1997, publicly expressed interest in moving forward on economic reforms and privatization and in renewing cooperation with international financial institutions. Economic progress was badly hurt by slumping oil prices and the resumption of armed conflict in December 1998, which worsened the republics budget deficit. The current administration presides over an uneasy internal peace and faces difficult economic challenges of stimulating recovery and reducing poverty. Recovery of oil prices has boosted the economys GDP and near-term prospects. In March 2006, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) treatment for Congo.

Gdp purchasing power parity

$5.099 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp official exchange rate

$5.163 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp real growth rate

7.5% (2006 est.)

Gdp per capita ppp

$1,400 (2006 est.)

Gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 6.2%
industry: 55.3%
services: 38.5% (2006 est.)

Labor force


Unemployment rate


Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

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

Inflation rate consumer prices

2.6% (2006 est.)

Investment gross fixed

27.2% of GDP (2006 est.)


revenues: $2.985 billion
expenditures: $1.664 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)

Agriculture products

cassava (tapioca), sugar, rice, corn, peanuts, vegetables, coffee, cocoa; forest products


petroleum extraction, cement, lumber, brewing, sugar, palm oil, soap, flour, cigarettes

Industrial production growth rate

0% (2002 est.)

Electricity production

6.847 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity consumption

5.127 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity exports

1.25 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity imports

9 million kWh (2004)

Oil production

267,100 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil consumption

6,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil exports

NA bbl/day

Oil imports

NA bbl/day

Oil proved reserves

1.506 billion bbl (1 January 2005)

Natural gas production

0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas consumption

0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas exports

0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas imports

0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas proved reserves

90.61 billion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)

Current account balance

$1.215 billion (2006 est.)


$5.996 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)

Exports commodities

petroleum, lumber, plywood, sugar, cocoa, coffee, diamonds

Exports partners

US 38.1%, China 33.3%, Taiwan 10.2%, South Korea 6.2% (2006)


$1.964 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)

Imports commodities

capital equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs

Imports partners

France 23.5%, China 13.1%, US 7.5%, India 6.9%, Italy 5.6%, Belgium 5.1% (2006)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$547 million (2006 est.)

Debt external

$5 billion (2000 est.)

Economic aid recipient

$159.1 million (1995)

Currency code

Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note - responsible authority is the Bank of the Central African States

Exchange rates

Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XAF) per US dollar - 522.59 (2006), 527.47 (2005), 528.29 (2004), 581.2 (2003), 696.99 (2002)

Communications - Congo, Republic of the:

Fiscal year

calendar year

Telephones main lines in use

15,900 (2005)

Telephones mobile cellular

490,000 (2005)

Telephone system

general assessment: services barely adequate for government use; key exchanges are in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, and Loubomo; intercity lines frequently out of order
domestic: primary network consists of microwave radio relay and coaxial cable
international: country code - 242; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 3 (2001)

Television broadcast stations

1 (2001)

Internet country code


Internet hosts

46 (2004)

Internet users

70,000 (2006)

Transportation - Congo, Republic of the:


32 (2006)

Airports with paved runways

total: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2006)

Airports with unpaved runways

total: 28
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 11 (2006)


gas 89 km; liquid petroleum gas 4 km; oil 744 km (2006)


total: 894 km
narrow gauge: 894 km 1.067-m gauge (2006)


total: 17,289 km
paved: 864 km
unpaved: 16,425 km (2004)


1,125 km (commercially navigable on Congo and Oubanqui rivers) (2006)

Merchant marine

registered in other countries: 1 (Congo, Democratic Republic of the 1) (2006)

Ports and terminals

Brazzaville, Djeno, Impfondo, Ouesso, Oyo, Pointe-Noire

Military - Congo, Republic of the:

Military branches

Congolese Armed Forces (FAC): Army, Navy, Congolese Air Force (Armee de lAir Congolaise), Gendarmerie, Republican Guard (2007)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service; women allowed to serve (2006)

Manpower available for military service

males age 18-49: 688,628
females age 18-49: 685,388 (2005 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 18-49: 406,016
females age 18-49: 394,745 (2005 est.)

Manpower reaching military service age annually

males age 18-49: 38,464
females age 18-49: 38,082 (2005 est.)

Military expenditures percent of gdp

3.1% (2006)

Disputes international

Congo hosts about 63,000 refugees from neighboring states, primarily from the Pool border area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; the location of the boundary in the broad Congo River with the Democratic 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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