WELCOME # 178 – Democratic Republic of the Congo Population: 71,712,867


# 178 Country to visit our BLOG.  Bring it on Congo!  We really need to plan on visiting all of Africa one Day!
 Background
Established as a Belgian colony in 1908, the then-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 sham elections, as well as through 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 backed by Rwanda and Uganda and fronted by Laurent KABILA. He renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), but in August 1998 his regime was itself challenged by a second insurrection again backed by Rwanda and Uganda. Troops from Angola, Chad, Namibia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe intervened to support KABILA’s regime. A cease-fire was signed in July 1999 by the DRC, Congolese armed rebel groups, Angola, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe 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 as president and four vice presidents represented the former government, former rebel groups, the political opposition, and civil society. The transitional government held a successful constitutional referendum in December 2005 and elections for the presidency, National Assembly, and provincial legislatures in 2006. The National Assembly was installed in September 2006 and KABILA was inaugurated president in December 2006. Provincial assemblies were constituted in early 2007, and elected governors and national senators in January 2007. The next national elections are scheduled for November 2011.
 Geography
Straddles equator; has 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; second largest country in Africa (after Algeria)
Location: Central Africa, northeast of Angola
Geographic coordinates: 0 00 N, 25 00 E
Area: total: 2,344,858 sq km land: 2,267,048 sq km water: 77,810 sq kmSize comparison: slightly less than one-fourth the size of the US
Land Boundaries: 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, South Sudan 628 km, Tanzania 459 km, Uganda 765 km, Zambia 1,930 km
Coastline: 37 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm exclusive economic zone: boundaries with neighbors
Climate: 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)
Terrain: vast central basin is a low-lying plateau; mountains in east
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m highest point: Pic Marguerite on Mont Ngaliema (Mount Stanley) 5,110 m
Natural resources: cobalt, copper, niobium, tantalum, petroleum, industrial and gem diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, uranium, coal, hydropower, timber
Land use: arable land: 2.86% permanent crops: 0.47% other: 96.67% (2005)
Irrigated land: 110 sq km (2008)
Natural hazards: periodic droughts in south; Congo River floods (seasonal); in the east, in the Great Rift Valley, there are active volcanoes volcanism: Nyiragongo (elev. 3,470 m), which erupted in 2002 and is experiencing ongoing activity, poses a major threat to the city of Goma, home to a quarter of a million people; the volcano produces unusually fast-moving lava, known to travel up to 100 km /hr; Nyiragongo has been deemed a “Decade Volcano” by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; its neighbor, Nyamuragira, which erupted in 2010, is Africa’s most active volcano; Visoke is the only other historically active volcano
Current Environment Issues: 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
International Environment Agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
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 People
Population: 71,712,867 (July 2011 est.) 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, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected
Age structure: 0-14 years: 44.4% (male 16,031,347/female 15,811,818) 15-64 years: 53% (male 18,919,942/female 19,116,204) 65 years and over: 2.6% (male 767,119/female 1,066,437) (2011 est.)
Median age: total: 17.4 years male: 17.2 years female: 17.6 years (2011 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.614% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 37.74 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 11.06 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.54 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 78.43 deaths/1,000 live births male: 82.2 deaths/1,000 live births female: 74.55 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 55.33 years male: 53.9 years female: 56.8 years (2011 est.)
Total fertility rate: 5.24 children born/woman (2011 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS – deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Congolese (singular and plural) adjective: Congolese or Congo
Ethnic groups: 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
Religions: Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim 10%, other (includes syncretic sects and indigenous beliefs) 10%
Languages: French (official), Lingala (a lingua franca trade language), Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili), Kikongo, Tshiluba
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write French, Lingala, Kingwana, or Tshiluba total population: 67.2% male: 80.9% female: 54.1% (2001 est.)
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 Government
Country name: conventional long form: Democratic Republic of the Congo conventional short form: DRC local long form: Republique Democratique du Congo local short form: RDC former: Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Congo/Leopoldville, Congo/Kinshasa, Zaire abbreviation: DRC
Government type: republic
Capital: name: Kinshasa geographic coordinates: 4 19 S, 15 18 E time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 10 provinces (provinces, singular – province) and 1 city* (ville); Bandundu, Bas-Congo (Lower Congo), Equateur, Kasai-Occidental (West Kasai), Kasai-Oriental (East Kasai), Katanga, Kinshasa*, Maniema, Nord-Kivu (North Kivu), Orientale, Sud-Kivu (South Kivu) note: according to the Constitution adopted in December 2005, the current administrative divisions were to be subdivided into 26 new provinces by 2009 but this has yet to be implemented
Independence: 30 June 1960 (from Belgium)
National holiday: Independence Day, 30 June (1960)
Constitution: 18 February 2006
Legal system: civil legal system based on Belgian version of French civil law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch: chief of state: President Joseph KABILA (since 17 January 2001) head of government: Prime Minister Adolphe MUZITO (since 10 October 2008) cabinet: Ministers of State appointed by the president (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: under the new constitution the president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); elections last held on 30 July 2006 and on 29 October 2006 (next to be held on 27 November 2011); prime minister appointed by the president election results: Joseph KABILA elected president; percent of vote (second round) – Joseph KABILA 58%, Jean-Pierre BEMBA Gombo 42% note: Joseph KABILA succeeded his father, Laurent Desire KABILA, following the latter’s assassination in January 2001; negotiations with rebel leaders led to the establishment of a transitional government in July 2003 with free elections held on 30 July 2006 and a run-off on 29 October 2006 confirming Joseph KABILA as president
Legislative branch: bicameral legislature consists of a Senate (108 seats; members elected by provincial assemblies to serve five-year terms) and a National Assembly (500 seats; 61 members elected by majority vote in single-member constituencies, 439 members elected by open list proportional-representation in multi-member constituencies to serve five-year terms) elections: Senate – last held on 19 January 2007 (next to be held on 13 June 2012); National Assembly – last held on 30 July 2006 (next to be held on 27 November 2011) election results: Senate – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – PPRD 22, MLC 14, FR 7, RCD 7, PDC 6, CDC 3, MSR 3, PALU 2, independents 26, others 18 (political parties that won a single seat); National Assembly – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – PPRD 111, MLC 64, PALU 34, MSR 27, FR 26, RCD 15, independents 63, others 160 (includes 63 political parties that won 10 or fewer seats)
Judicial branch: Constitutional Court; Appeals Court or Cour de Cassation; Council of State; High Military Court; plus civil and military courts and tribunals
Political parties and leaders: Christian Democrat Party or PDC [Jose ENDUNDO]; Congolese Rally for Democracy or RCD [Azarias RUBERWA]; Convention of Christian Democrats or CDC; Forces of Renewal or FR [Mbusa NYAMWISI]; Movement for the Liberation of the Congo or MLC [Jean-Pierre BEMBA]; People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy or PPRD [Joseph KABILA]; Social Movement for Renewal or MSR [Pierre LUMBI]; Unified Lumumbist Party or PALU [Antoine GIZENGA]; Union for the Congolese Nation or UNC [Vital KAMERHE]; Union for Democracy and Social Progress or UDPS [Etienne TSHISEKEDI]; Union of Mobutuist Democrats or UDEMO [MOBUTU Nzanga]
Political pressure groups and leaders: MONUSCO – UN peacekeeping force; FARDC (Forces Arm?es de la R?publique D?mocratique du Congo) – Army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo which commits atrocities on citizens; FDLR (Forces Democratiques de Liberation du Rwanda) – Rwandan militia group made up of some of the perpetrators of Rwanda’s Genocide in 1994; CNDP (National Congress for the Defense of the People) – mainly Congolese Tutsis who want refugees returned and more representation in government
International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, AU, CEPGL, COMESA, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Faida MITIFU chancery: Suite 601, 1726 M Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20036 telephone: [1] (202) 234-7690 through 7691 FAX: [1] (202) 234-2609
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador James F. ENTWISTLE embassy: 310 Avenue des Aviateurs, Kinshasa mailing address: Unit 31550, APO AE 09828 telephone: [243] (81) 225-5872 FAX: [243] (81) 301-0561
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 Economy
The economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo – a nation endowed with vast potential wealth – is slowly recovering from decades of decline. Systemic corruption since independence in 1960 and conflict that began in May 1997 has dramatically reduced national output and government revenue, increased external debt, and resulted in the deaths of more than 5 million people from violence, famine, and disease. Foreign businesses curtailed operations due to uncertainty about the outcome of the conflict, lack of infrastructure, and the difficult operating environment. Conditions began to improve in late 2002 with the withdrawal of a large portion of the invading foreign troops. The transitional government reopened relations with international financial institutions and international donors, and President KABILA began implementing reforms. Progress has been slow and the International Monetary Fund curtailed their program for the DRC at the end of March 2006 because of fiscal overruns. Much economic activity still occurs in the informal sector, and is not reflected in GDP data. Renewed activity in the mining sector, the source of most export income, boosted Kinshasa’s fiscal position and GDP growth from 2006-2008, however, the government’s review of mining contracts that began in 2006, combined with a fall in world market prices for the DRC’s key mineral exports temporarily weakened output in 2009, leading to a balance of payments crisis. The recovery in mineral prices beginning in mid 2009 boosted mineral exports, and emergency funds from the IMF boosted foreign reserves. An uncertain legal framework, corruption, and a lack of transparency in government policy are long-term problems for the mining sector and for the economy as a whole. The global recession cut economic growth in 2009 to less than half its 2008 level, but growth returned to 6% in 2010. The DRC signed a Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility with the IMF in 2009 and received $12 billion in multilateral and bilateral debt relief in 2010.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $23.12 billion (2010 est.) $21.56 billion (2009 est.) $20.96 billion (2008 est.) note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $13.13 billion (2010 est.)
GDP – real growth rate: 7.2% (2010 est.) 2.8% (2009 est.) 6.2% (2008 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP): GDP – per capita (PPP): $300 (2010 est.) $300 (2009 est.) $300 (2008 est.) note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP – composition by sector: agriculture: 48.4% industry: 22.7% services: 29% (2010 est.)
Labor force: 23.53 million (2007 est.)
Labor force – by occupation: agriculture: NA% industry: NA% services: NA%
Unemployment rate: NA%
Population below poverty line: 71% (2006 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.3% highest 10%: 34.7% (2006)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 26.2% (2010 est.) 15% (2009 est.)
Budget: revenues: $700 million expenditures: $2 billion (2006 est.)
Agriculture – products: coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber, tea, cotton, cocoa, quinine, cassava (tapioca), manioc, bananas, plantains, peanuts, root crops, corn, fruits; wood products
Industries: mining (diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt, coltan, zinc, tin, diamonds), mineral processing, consumer products (including textiles, plastics, footwear, cigarettes, metal products, processed foods and beverages), timber, cement, commercial ship repair
Industrial production growth rate: NA%
Electricity – production: 7.452 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity – consumption: 6.036 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity – exports: 674 million kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity – imports: 591 million kWh (2008 est.)
Oil – production: 21,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Oil – consumption: 13,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Oil – exports: 11,090 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Oil – imports: 13,100 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Oil – proved reserves: 180 million bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
Natural gas – production: 0 cu m (2009 est.)
Natural gas – consumption: 0 cu m (2009 est.)
Natural gas – exports: 0 cu m (2009 est.)
Natural gas – imports: 0 cu m (2009 est.)
Natural gas – proved reserves: 991.1 million cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
Current account balance: -$1.47 billion (2010 est.) -$402 million (2007 est.)
Exports: $3.8 billion (2009 est.) $6.6 billion (2008 est.)
Exports – commodities: diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt, wood products, crude oil, coffee
Exports – partners: China 46.9%, Zambia 23.3%, US 10.4%, Belgium 4.2% (2010)
Imports: $5.3 billion (2009 est.) $6.7 billion (2008 est.)
Imports – commodities: foodstuffs, mining and other machinery, transport equipment, fuels
Imports – partners: South Africa 19.2%, China 12.5%, Belgium 9.2%, Zambia 8.8%, Zimbabwe 6.9%, France 5.8%, Kenya 5.8% (2010)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $1.01 billion (March 2010 est.) $1 billion (December 2009 est.)
Debt – external: $13.5 billion (2009 est.) $12.7 billion (2008 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Exchange rates: Congolese francs (CDF) per US dollar – 495.28 (2010) 472.19 (2009) 559 (2008) 516 (2007) 464.69 (2006)
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 Communications
Telephones in use: 40,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 168
Cellular Phones in use: 10.163 million (2009)
Telephone system: general assessment: barely adequate wire and microwave radio relay service in and between urban areas; domestic satellite system with 14 earth stations; inadequate fixed line infrastructure domestic: state-owned operator providing less than 1 fixed-line connection per 1000 persons; given the backdrop of a wholly inadequate fixed-line infrastructure, the use of mobile-cellular services has surged and subscribership in 2009 exceeded 10 million – roughly 15 per 100 persons international: country code – 243; satellite earth station – 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2009)
Radio broadcast stations:
Television broadcast stations:
Internet country code: .cd
Internet hosts: 3,006 (2010)
Internet users: 290,000 (2008)
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 Transportation
Airports: 198 (2010) country comparison to the world: 31
Airports (paved runways): total: 26 over 3,047 m: 4 2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 1,524 to 2,437 m: 17 914 to 1,523 m: 2 under 914 m: 1 (2010)
Airports (unpaved runways): total: 172 1,524 to 2,437 m: 20 914 to 1,523 m: 91 under 914 m: 61 (2010)
Pipelines: gas 37 km; oil 39 km; refined products 756 km (2010)
Railways: total: 4,007 km narrow gauge: 3,882 km 1.067-m gauge (858 km electrified); 125 km 1.000-m gauge (2010)
Roadways: total: 153,497 km paved: 2,794 km unpaved: 150,703 km (2004)
Waterways: 15,000 km (including the Congo, its tributaries, and unconnected lakes) (2009)
Merchant marine: total: 1 by type: petroleum tanker 1 foreign-owned: 1 (Republic of the Congo 1) (2010)
Ports and terminals: Banana, Boma, Bukavu, Bumba, Goma, Kalemie, Kindu, Kinshasa, Kisangani, Matadi, Mbandaka
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 Military
Military branches: Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Forces d’Armees de la Republique Democratique du Congo, FARDC): Army, National Navy (La Marine Nationale), Congolese Air Force (Force Aerienne Congolaise, FAC) (2011)
Military service age and obligation: 18-45 years of age for voluntary military service (2009)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 15,980,106 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 10,168,258 females age 16-49: 10,331,693 (2010 est.)

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