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  Congo, Democratic Republic of the  
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  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January 2002
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2002.

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

Map of Congo, Democratic Republic of the

Legend: Definition Definition Field Listing Field Listing
   Introduction    Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Definition Field Listing
Since 1997 the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC; formerly called Zaire) has been rent by ethnic strife and civil war, touched off by a massive inflow in 1994 of refugees from the fighting in Rwanda and Burundi. The government of former president MOBUTU Sese Seko was toppled by a rebellion led by Laurent KABILA in May 1997; his regime was subsequently challenged by a Rwanda- and Uganda-backed rebellion in August 1998. Troops from Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Chad, and Sudan intervened to support the Kinshasa regime. A cease-fire was signed on 10 July 1999 by the DROC, Zimbabwe, Angola, Uganda, Namibia, Rwanda, and Congolese armed rebel groups, but sporadic fighting continued. KABILA was assassinated on 16 January 2001 and his son Joseph KABILA was named head of state ten days later. In October 2002, the new president was successful in getting occupying Rwandan forces to withdraw from eastern Congo; two months later, an agreement was signed by all remaining warring parties to end the fighting and set up a government of national unity.
   Geography    Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Definition Field Listing
Central Africa, northeast of Angola
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
0 00 N, 25 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
total: 2,345,410 sq km
water: 77,810 sq km
land: 2,267,600 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly less than one-fourth the size of the US
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 10,730 km
border countries: Angola 2,511 km (of which 225 km is the boundary of Angola's 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
Definition Field Listing
37 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
exclusive economic zone: boundaries with neighbors
territorial sea: 12 NM
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
vast central basin is a low-lying plateau; mountains in east
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pic Marguerite on Mont Ngaliema (Mount Stanley) 5,110 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
cobalt, copper, cadmium, petroleum, industrial and gem diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, germanium, uranium, radium, bauxite, iron ore, coal, hydropower, timber
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 2.96%
permanent crops: 0.52%
other: 96.52% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
110 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
periodic droughts in south; Congo River floods (seasonal); in the east, in the Great Rift Valley, there are active volcanoes
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
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 2002 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 48.2% (male 13,369,493; female 13,256,174)
15-64 years: 49.3% (male 13,343,303; female 13,860,996)
65 years and over: 2.5% (male 581,568; female 813,944) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.79% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing
45.55 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing
14.93 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
-2.75 migrant(s)/1,000 population
note: one million refugees fled into Zaire (now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo or DROC) in 1994 as a result of the ethnic fighting in Rwanda; fighting in the DROC between rebels and government forces in October 1996 caused 875,000 refugees to return to Rwanda in late 1996 and early 1997 and additional refugees have returned in subsequent years; fighting between the Congolese government and Uganda- and Rwanda-backed Congolese rebels spawned a regional war in DROC in August 1998, which left 1.8 million Congolese displaced in DROC and caused 300,000 Congolese refugees to flee to surrounding countries (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing
98.05 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing
total population: 49.13 years
female: 51.13 years (2002 est.)
male: 47.19 years
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing
6.77 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing
5.07% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing
1.1 million (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing
95,000 (1999 est.)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Congolese (singular and plural)
adjective: Congolese or Congo
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim 10%, other syncretic sects and indigenous beliefs 10%
Definition Field Listing
French (official), Lingala (a lingua franca trade language), Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili), Kikongo, Tshiluba
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write French, Lingala, Kingwana, or Tshiluba
total population: 77.3%
male: 86.6%
female: 67.7% (1995 est.)
   Government    Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Democratic Republic of the Congo
conventional short form: none
local short form: none
former: Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Congo/Leopoldville, Congo/Kinshasa, Zaire
local long form: Republique Democratique du Congo
abbreviation: DROC
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
dictatorship; presumably undergoing a transition to representative government
Definition Field Listing
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
10 provinces (provinces, singular - province) and one city* (ville); Bandundu, Bas-Congo, Equateur, Kasai-Occidental, Kasai-Oriental, Katanga, Kinshasa*, Maniema, Nord-Kivu, Orientale, Sud-Kivu
Definition Field Listing
30 June 1960 (from Belgium)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 30 June (1960)
Definition Field Listing
24 June 1967, amended August 1974, revised 15 February 1978, amended April 1990; transitional constitution promulgated in April 1994; in November 1998, a draft constitution was approved by former President Laurent KABILA but it was not ratified by a national referendum; one outcome of the ongoing inter-Congolese dialogue is to be a new constitution
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on Belgian civil law system and tribal law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President Joseph KABILA (since 26 January 2001); note - following the assassination of his father, Laurent Desire KABILA, on 16 January 2001, Joseph KABILA succeeded to the presidency; the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Joseph KABILA (since 26 January 2001); note - following the assassination of his father, Laurent Desire KABILA, on 16 January 2001, Joseph KABILA succeeded to the presidency; the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: National Executive Council, appointed by the president
elections: before Laurent Desire KABILA seized power on 16 May 1997, the president was elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; election last held 29 July 1984 (next was scheduled to be held in May 1997); formerly, there was also a prime minister who was elected by the High Council of the Republic; note - elections were not held in 1991 as called for by the constitution
note: Marshal MOBUTU Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga was president from 24 November 1965 until forced into exile on 16 May 1997 when his government was overthrown militarily by Laurent Desire KABILA; KABILA immediately assumed governing authority and pledged to hold elections by April 1999, but, in December 1998, announced that elections would be postponed until all foreign military forces attempting to topple the government had withdrawn from the country; KABILA was assassinated in January 2001 and was succeeded by his son Joseph KABILA
election results: results of the last election were: MOBUTU Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga reelected president in 1984 without opposition
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
a 300-member Transitional Constituent Assembly established in August 2000
elections: NA; members of the Transitional Constituent Assembly were appointed by former President Laurent Desire KABILA
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court or Cour Supreme
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Democratic Social Christian Party or PDSC [Andre BO-BOLIKO]; Forces for Renovation for Union and Solidarity or FONUS [Joseph OLENGHANKOY]; National Congolese Lumumbist Movement or MNC [Francois LUMUMBA]; Popular Movement of the Revolution or MPR [three factions: MPR-Fait Prive (Catherine NZUZI wa Mbombo); MPR/Vunduawe (Felix VUNDUAWE); MPR/Mananga (MANANGA Dintoka Mpholo)]; Unified Lumumbast Party or PALU [Antoine GIZENGA]; Union for Democracy and Social Progress or UDPS [Etienne TSHISEKEDI wa Mulumba]; Union of Federalists and Independent Republicans or UFERI [two factions: UFERI (Lokambo OMOKOKO); UFERI/OR (Adolph Kishwe MAYA)]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Faida MITIFU
FAX: [1] (202) 234-2609
telephone: [1] (202) 234-7690, 7691
chancery: 1800 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Aubrey HOOKS
embassy: 310 Avenue des Aviateurs, Kinshasa
mailing address: Unit 31550, APO AE 09828
telephone: [243] (88) 43608
FAX: [243] (88) 43467
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
light blue with a large yellow five-pointed star in the center and a columnar arrangement of six small yellow five-pointed stars along the hoist side
   Economy    Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
The economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo - a nation endowed with vast potential wealth - has declined drastically since the mid-1980s. The war, which began in August 1998, has dramatically reduced national output and government revenue and has increased external debt. Foreign businesses have curtailed operations due to uncertainty about the outcome of the conflict, lack of infrastructure, and the difficult operating environment. The war has intensified the impact of such basic problems as an uncertain legal framework, corruption, raging inflation, and lack of openness in government economic policy and financial operations. A number of IMF and World Bank missions have met with the government to help it develop a coherent economic plan, and President KABILA has begun implementing reforms.
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $32 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
-4% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $590 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 54%
industry: 9%
services: 37% (1999 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing
358% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing
14.51 million (1993 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 65%, industry 16%, services 19% (1991 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $269 million
expenditures: $244 million, including capital expenditures of $24 million
Definition Field Listing
mining (diamonds, copper, zinc), mineral processing, consumer products (including textiles, footwear, cigarettes, processed foods and beverages), cement
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing
5.268 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source:
Definition Field Listing
fossil fuel: 2%
hydro: 98%
other: 0% (1999)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing
4.55 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
404 million kWh (1999)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
55 million kWh (1999)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber, tea, quinine, cassava (tapioca), palm oil, bananas, root crops, corn, fruits; wood products
Definition Field Listing
$750 million f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
diamonds, copper, coffee, cobalt, crude oil
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Benelux 62%, US 18%, South Africa, Finland, Italy (1999)
Definition Field Listing
$1.024 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
foodstuffs, mining and other machinery, transport equipment, fuels
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
South Africa 28%, Benelux 14%, Nigeria 9%, Kenya 7%, China (1999)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing
$12.9 billion (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$195.3 million (1995) (1995)
Definition Field Listing
Congolese franc (CDF)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Congolese francs per US dollar - 305 (January 2002), 21.82 (2000), 4.02 (1999), 1.61 (1998), 1.31 (1997)
note: on 30 June 1998 the Congolese franc was introduced, replacing the new zaire
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing
20,000 (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing
15,000 (2000)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
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: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 3, FM 11, shortwave 2 (2001)
Definition Field Listing
18.03 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
4 (2001)
Definition Field Listing
6.478 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Definition Field Listing
1 (2001)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing
6,000 (2002)
   Transportation    Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Definition Field Listing
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
note: severely reduced route-distance in use because of damage to facilities by civil strife (2000 est.)
Definition Field Listing
total: 157,000 km (including 30 km of expressways)(1996)
paved: NA km
unpaved: NA km
Definition Field Listing
15,000 km (including the Congo and its tributaries, and unconnected lakes)
Definition Field Listing
petroleum products 390 km
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Banana, Boma, Bukavu, Bumba, Goma, Kalemie, Kindu, Kinshasa, Kisangani, Matadi, Mbandaka
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
none (2002 est.)
Definition Field Listing
232 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 24
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2002)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 16
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 205
1,524 to 2,437 m: 19
914 to 1,523 m: 95
under 914 m: 91 (2002)
Definition Field Listing
1 (2002)
   Military    Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Army, Navy, Air Force, Special Security Battalion
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 11,996,175 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 6,110,595 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing
$250 million (FY97)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing
4.6% (FY97)
   Transnational Issues    Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
Democratic Republic of the Congo is in the grip of a civil war that has drawn in military forces from neighboring states, with Uganda and Rwanda supporting the rebel movements that occupy much of the eastern portion of the state; Tutsi, Hutu, and other conflicting ethnic groups, political rebels, and various government forces continue fighting in Great Lakes region, transcending the boundaries of Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda; most of the Congo River boundary with the Republic of the Congo is indefinite (no agreement has been reached on the division of the river or its islands, except in the Pool Malebo/Stanley Pool area)
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
illicit producer of cannabis, mostly for domestic consumption; while rampant corruption and inadequate supervision leaves the banking system vulnerable to money laundering, the lack of a well-developed financial system limits the country's utility as a money-laundering center

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

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