Democratic Republic of Congo
République Démocratique du Congo
former: ZaÏre, Congo belge
int’l long form: Democratic Republic of the Congo
abbreviations: DROC, DRC
also in use: Congo Kinshasa, DR Congo
former: Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Congo/Leopoldville, Congo/Kinshasa, Zaire
ISO Country Code: cd
Local Time = UTC +1h
Actual Time: Thu-Nov-14 01:32
Country Calling Code: +243
Capital City: Kinshasa (pop. 6.5 million)
Other Cities: Bandundu, Bukavu, Goma, Kananga, Kindu, Kisangani, Lubumbashi, Matadi, Mbandaka, Mbuji-Mayi.
Type: Republic; transitional regime highly centralized with executive power vested in the president.
Independence: 30 June 1960 (from Belgium).
Constitution: 18 February 2006
Location: Central Africa, northeast of Angola
Area: 2,344,000 km² (905 000 sq. mi)
Terrain: Varies from tropical rainforests to mountainous terraces, plateau, savannas, dense grasslands, and mountains.
Highest point: Pic Marguerite 5 110 m on Rwenzori Range’s Mont Ngaliema (Mount Stanley).
Climate: Equatorial; ranges from tropical rainforest in the Congo River basin, hot and humid in much of the north and west, cooler and drier in the south central area and the east.
Population: 66 million (2011)
Ethnic groups: More than 200 African ethnic groups; the Luba, Kongo, and Anamongo are some of the larger groupings of tribes.
Religions: Chrisinity 70%, other sects and traditional beliefs 10%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim 10%.
Languages: French (Official). National languages: Lingala, Swahili, Kikongo, Tshiluba.
Natural resources: Cobalt, copper, Columbite-tantalite (coltan) refined, coltan becomes tantalum, niobium, petroleum, industrial and gem diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, uranium, coal, hydropower, timber.
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.
Exports partners: Belgium 47.5%, Finland20.8%, USA 10.9%, China 7.5% (2004)
Imports partners: South Africa 17.2%, Belgium14.5%, France 10.1%, Zambia 8.5%, Kenya5.9%, USA 5.6%, Germany 5.5% (2004)
Currency: Congolese Franc (CDF)
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, 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.
Source: CIA World Fact Book
The Democratic Republic of Congo remains a humanitarian disaster despite the presence of UN troops and the recent approval of a new constitution that paved the way for elections in April.
Source: UN Mission MONUC
The war in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) has cost millions of lives. Hundreds of thousands of people have been shot dead. Millions have died from the indirect consequences of war.
Source: Amnesty International
border countries: Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan,Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia