Democratic Republic of the Congo (capital Kinshasa) and neighboring states. Kinshasa was a fishing village and now has more than eight million inhabitants. The city of Brazzaville (with more than a million inhabitants) is just across the river from Kinshasa and is the capittal of the Republic of the Congo.
Established as a Belgian colony in 1908, the Republic of the Congo gained its independence in 1960. Between 1971 and 1997 it was called Zaire. Its the largest and poorest of African states. At the time of its independence in 1960, the country was the second most industrialized in Africa after South Africa. it boasted a thriving mining sector and its agriculture sector was relatively productive. This was ruined by war.
Country Comparisons: chart
World Factbook: "The economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo - a nation endowed with vast potential wealth - is slowly recovering from decades of decline."
Economic growth rate
Coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber, tea, cotton, cocoa, quinine, cassava (manioc), bananas, plantains, peanuts, root crops, corn, fruits; wood products
Diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt, wood products, crude oil, coffee
2010: China 46.9%, Zambia 23.3%, US 10.4%, Belgium 4.2%
2011: exports $9.021 billion, imports $7.829 billion
2009: 11.2% of GDP
Living in an urban area: 34% (2008)
Net migration rate
2012: A net loss of 0.47 persons per 1,000 population per year
Literacy, Age 15 and Older
2001: males 80.9%, females 54.1%
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
Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim 10%, other (includes syncretic sects and indigenous beliefs) 10%
Central Africa. Almost one-quarter the size of the United States, with a coastline of only 37 kilometers. Tropical.
Chief of state: Joseph Kabila (president) since 17 January 2001, Anglican, People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (center-left). Head of government: Augustin Matata Ponyo (prime minister) since 18 April 2012, People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy.
The president is elected by popular vote to a five-year term and eligible for a second term. The prime minister is appointed by the president. Members of a bicameral legislature (Senate and National Assembly) serve five year terms. Senators are elected by provincial assemblies. Assembly members are elected by majority vote from designated districts.
Independence from Belgium, June 30, 1960.
Formerly called Zaire and under the dictatorship of Joseph Mobutu. In 1997 Mobutu was overthrown by a rebellion led by Laurent Kabila, who was assassinated in 2001 and replaced as head of state by his son, Joseph Kabila.
Jan 22, 2009: A BBC correspondent reports that he asked a guide that he hired what he did when people like him were not around. The man speaks five languages, including two European languages fluently. He has a "university-level education and is "resourceful and hard-working," writes that correspondent. The man replied describing what the journalist called cronyism trumping merit and hard work." The correspondent, Mark Doyle, added that a driver he had hired in the country's capital, Kinshasa, "was – I later discovered to my intense embarrassment – a fully qualified chemical engineer. He could not get a job because he had not greased the right palms."
Copyright © 2009-2011 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.