Republic of the Congo
République du Congo
short form: Congo
int’l long form: Republic of the Congo
abbreviation: ROC, CGO
former: Middle Congo, Congo/Brazzaville, Congo
ISO Country Code: cg
Local Time = UTC +1h
Country Calling Code: +242
Capital City: Brazzaville (pop. 1 million)
Other Cities: Pointe-Noire (450 000), Dolisie (150 000), Djambala, Ewo, Impfondo, Madingou, Ouésso, Owando, Sibiti.
Independence: 15 August 1960 (from France).
Constitution: New constitution adopted in nationwide referendum on 20 January 2002.
Location: Astride the Equator in west-central Africa, west of the Congo and Oubangui (Ubangi) rivers.
Area: 342,000 km² (132,000 sq. mi.)
Terrain: North-East: two thirds of the country are covered by equatorial forest, savanna in the south, coastal plains, fertile valleys, forested flood plains.
Climate: Tropical. (climate is equatorial with two reversed seasons–half of the country lies above, half below the Equator).
Population: 4 million (2012 UN est.)
Ethnic groups: 15 principal Bantu groups: BaCongo, Vili, BaTeke, M’Bochi, and Sangha; more than 70 subgroups. A small population of Pygmies (less than 100 000), ethnically unrelated to the Bantu majority.
Religions: Traditional beliefs 50%, Christianity 45%, Muslim 2%.
Languages: French (official), Lingala and Munukutuba (national), Kikongo, Sangho, Lari, Vili.
Literacy: male: 89%, female: 78%
Natural resources: Oil, wood, potash, zinc, uranium, copper, phosphate, natural gas, hydropower.
Agriculture products: Cassava (tapioca), sugar, rice, corn, peanuts, vegetables, coffee, cocoa; forest products.
Industries: Petroleum extraction, cement, lumber, brewing, sugar, palm oil, soap, flour, cigarettes.
Exports partners: China 26.8%, Taiwan 19.2%,North Korea 8.4%, USA 7.3%, France 5.5%,South Korea 4.8% (2004)
Imports partners: France 32.7%, USA 10.1%,Germany 6.2%, Italy 6%, China 5.2%,Netherlands 4.5% (2004)
Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF)
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 installed in 1992. A brief civil war in 1997 restored former Marxist President SASSOU-NGUESSO, but ushered in a period of ethnic 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 is one of Africa’s largest petroleum producers with significant potential for offshore development.
border countries: Angola (enclave of Cabinda), Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa), Gabon