# 191 Country to visit the BLOG – REPUBLIC OF CONGO


 

 Background
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 took office in 1992. A brief civil war in 1997 restored former Marxist President Denis SASSOU-Nguesso, and ushered in a period of ethnic and political 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 was once one of Africa’s largest petroleum producers, but with declining production it will need new offshore oil finds to sustain its oil earnings over the long term.
 Geography
About 70% of the population lives in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, or along the railroad between them
Location: Central Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and Gabon
Geographic coordinates: 1 00 S, 15 00 E
Area: total: 342,000 sq km land: 341,500 sq km water: 500 sq kmSize comparison: slightly smaller than Montana
Land Boundaries: total: 5,504 km border countries: Angola 201 km, Cameroon 523 km, Central African Republic 467 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 2,410 km, Gabon 1,903 km
Coastline: 169 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; rainy season (March to June); dry season (June to October); persistent high temperatures and humidity; particularly enervating climate astride the Equator
Terrain: coastal plain, southern basin, central plateau, northern basin
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m highest point: Mount Berongou 903 m
Natural resources: petroleum, timber, potash, lead, zinc, uranium, copper, phosphates, gold, magnesium, natural gas, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 1.45% permanent crops: 0.15% other: 98.4% (2005)
Irrigated land: 20 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards: seasonal flooding
Current Environment Issues: air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from the dumping of raw sewage; tap water is not potable; deforestation
International Environment Agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
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 People
Population: 4,366,266 (July 2012 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: 45.6% (male 973,332/female 960,100) 15-64 years: 51.7% (male 1,091,531/female 1,101,057) 65 years and over: 2.8% (male 48,383/female 69,526) (2011 est.)
Median age: total: 17.1 years male: 16.9 years female: 17.3 years (2012 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.849% (2012 est.)
Birth rate: 40.09 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)
Death rate: 11.25 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.35 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 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: 74.22 deaths/1,000 live births male: 79.58 deaths/1,000 live births female: 68.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 55.27 years male: 53.95 years female: 56.62 years (2012 est.)
Total fertility rate: 5.59 children born/woman (2012 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 3.4% (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 77,000 (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: 5,100 (2009 est.)
Nationality: noun: Congolese (singular and plural) adjective: Congolese or Congo
Ethnic groups: Kongo 48%, Sangha 20%, M’Bochi 12%, Teke 17%, Europeans and other 3%
Religions: Christian 50%, animist 48%, Muslim 2%
Languages: French (official), Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages), many local languages and dialects (of which Kikongo is the most widespread)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 83.8% male: 89.6% female: 78.4% (2003 est.)
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 Government
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of the Congo conventional short form: Congo (Brazzaville) local long form: Republique du Congo local short form: none former: Middle Congo, Congo/Brazzaville, Congo
Government type: republic
Capital: name: Brazzaville geographic coordinates: 4 15 S, 15 17 E time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 10 regions (regions, singular – region) and 1 commune*; Bouenza, Brazzaville*, Cuvette, Cuvette-Ouest, Kouilou, Lekoumou, Likouala, Niari, Plateaux, Pool, Sangha
Independence: 15 August 1960 (from France)
National holiday:
Constitution: approved by referendum 20 January 2002
Legal system: mixed legal system of French civil law and customary law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Denis SASSOU-Nguesso (since 25 October 1997, following the civil war in which he toppled elected president Pascal LISSOUBA); note – the president is both the chief of state and head of government head of government: President Denis SASSOU-Nguesso (since 25 October 1997); note – the position of prime minister was abolished in September 2009 cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 12 July 2009 (next to be held in 2016) election results: Denis SASSOU-Nguesso reelected president; percent of vote – Denis SASSOU-Nguesso 78.6%, Joseph Kignoumbi Kia MBOUNGOU 7.5%, Nicephore Fylla de SAINT-EUDES 7%, other 6.9%
Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (72 seats; members elected by indirect vote to serve five-year terms) and the National Assembly (137 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) elections: Senate – last held on 5 August 2008 (next to be held in 2013); National Assembly – last held on 24 June and 5 August 2007 (next to be held in 2012) election results: Senate – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – RMP 33, FDU 23, UPADS 2, independents 7, other 7; National Assembly – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – PCT 46, MCDDI 11, UPADS 11, MAR 5, MSD 5, independents 37, other 22
Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Cour Supreme
Political parties and leaders: Action Movement for Renewal or MAR; Congolese Labour Party or PCT; Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development or MCDDI [Michel MAMPOUYA]; Movement for Solidarity and Development or MSD; Pan-African Union for Social Development or UPADS [Martin MBERI]; Rally for Democracy and the Republic or RDR [Raymond Damasge NGOLLO]; Rally for Democracy and Social Progress or RDPS [Jean-Pierre Thystere TCHICAYA, president]; Rally of the Presidential Majority or RMP; Union for Democracy and Republic or UDR; United Democratic Forces or FDU [Sebastian EBAO]; many smaller parties
Political pressure groups and leaders: Congolese Trade Union Congress or CSC; General Union of Congolese Pupils and Students or UGEEC; Revolutionary Union of Congolese Women or URFC; Union of Congolese Socialist Youth or UJSC
International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, AU, BDEAC, CEMAC, FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Serge MOMBOULI chancery: 4891 Colorado Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20011 telephone: [1] (202) 726-5500 FAX: [1] (202) 726-1860
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Christopher W. MURRAY embassy: 70-83 Section D, Maya-Maya Boulevard, Brazzaville; mailing address: B.P. 1015, Brazzaville telephone: [242] 612 6000
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 Economy
The economy is a mixture of subsistence agriculture, an industrial sector based largely on oil and support services, and government spending. Oil has supplanted forestry as the mainstay of the economy, providing a major share of government revenues and exports. In the early 1980s, rapidly rising oil revenues enabled the government to finance large-scale development projects with GDP growth averaging 5% annually, one of the highest rates in Africa. Characterized by budget problems and overstaffing, the government has mortgaged a substantial portion of its oil earnings through oil-backed loans that have contributed to a growing debt burden and chronic revenue shortfalls. Economic reform efforts have been undertaken with the support of international organizations, notably the World Bank and the IMF. However, the reform program came to a halt in June 1997 when civil war erupted. Denis SASSOU-Nguesso, who returned to power when the war ended in October 1997, publicly expressed interest in moving forward on economic reforms and privatization and in renewing cooperation with international financial institutions. Economic progress was badly hurt by slumping oil prices and the resumption of armed conflict in December 1998, which worsened the republic’s budget deficit. The current administration presides over an uneasy internal peace and faces difficult economic challenges of stimulating recovery and reducing poverty. The drop in oil prices during the global crisis reduced oil revenue by about 30%, but the subsequent recovery of oil prices has boosted the economy”s GDP and near-term prospects. In March 2006, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) treatment for Congo, which received $1.9 billion in debt relief under the program in 2010.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $18.48 billion (2011 est.) $17.69 billion (2010 est.) $16.27 billion (2009 est.) note: data are in 2011 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $15.67 billion (2011 est.)
GDP – real growth rate: 4.5% (2011 est.) 8.8% (2010 est.) 7.5% (2009 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP): GDP – per capita (PPP): $4,600 (2011 est.) $4,600 (2010 est.) $4,300 (2009 est.) note: data are in 2011 US dollars
GDP – composition by sector: agriculture: 4.2% industry: 70.7% services: 25.1% (2011 est.)
Labor force: 1.514 million (2007)
Labor force – by occupation:
Unemployment rate: NA%
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.1% highest 10%: 37.1% (2005)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 6% (2011 est.) 5% (2010 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): Investment (gross fixed): 41.8% of GDP (2011 est.)
Budget: revenues: $6.938 billion expenditures: $3.535 billion (2011 est.)
Public debt:
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
Industrial production growth rate: 12% (2010 est.)
Electricity – production: 452 million kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity – consumption: 534 million kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity – exports: 0 kWh (2009 est.)
Electricity – imports: 436 million kWh (2008 est.)
Oil – production: 302,200 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Oil – consumption: 11,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Oil – exports: 211,800 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Oil – imports: 2,832 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Oil – proved reserves: 1.6 billion bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
Natural gas – production: 530 million cu m (2009 est.)
Natural gas – consumption: 530 million cu m (2009 est.)
Natural gas – exports: 0 cu m (2009 est.)
Natural gas – imports: 0 cu m (2009 est.)
Natural gas – proved reserves: 90.61 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
Current account balance: $1.849 billion (2011 est.) $605.9 million (2010 est.)
Exports: $12.38 billion (2011 est.) $9.621 billion (2010 est.)
Exports – commodities: petroleum, lumber, plywood, sugar, cocoa, coffee, diamonds
Exports – partners: China 37.9%, US 20%, Australia 6.2%, France 6%, Spain 4.8%, Italy 4.3%, Netherlands 4.3% (2011)
Imports: $4.917 billion (2011 est.) $3.186 billion (2010 est.)
Imports – commodities: capital equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs
Imports – partners: France 17.3%, China 12.6%, India 9.5%, Italy 7.5%, Brazil 7.3%, US 5.8% (2011)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $5.886 billion (31 December 2011 est.) $4.465 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Debt – external: $4.955 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Exchange rates: Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per US dollar – 473.7 (2011 est.) 495.28 (2010 est.) 472.19 (2009) 447.81 (2008) 483.6 (2007)
Fiscal year: calendar year
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 Communications
Telephones in use: 42,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 169
Cellular Phones in use: 3.799 million (2009)
Telephone system: general assessment: primary network consists of microwave radio relay and coaxial cable with services barely adequate for government use; key exchanges are in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, and Loubomo; intercity lines frequently out of order domestic: fixed-line infrastructure inadequate providing only 1 connection per 100 persons; in the absence of an adequate fixed line infrastructure, mobile-cellular subscribership has surged and now exceeds 90 per 100 persons international: country code – 242; satellite earth station – 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2009)
Radio broadcast stations:
Television broadcast stations:
Internet country code: .cg
Internet hosts: 43 (2010)
Internet users: 245,200 (2009)
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 Transportation
Airports: 25 (2012) country comparison to the world: 129
Airports (paved runways): total: 7 over 3,047 m: 2 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2012)
Airports (unpaved runways): total: 18 1,524 to 2,437 m: 8 914 to 1,523 m: 9 under 914 m: 1 (2012)
Pipelines: gas 65 km; oil 273 km (2010)
Railways: total: 886 km narrow gauge: 886 km 1.067-m gauge (2008)
Roadways: total: 17,289 km paved: 864 km unpaved: 16,425 km (2004)
Waterways: 1,120 km (commercially navigable on Congo and Oubanqui rivers above Brazzaville; there are many ferries across the river to Kinshasa; the Congo south of Brazzaville-Kinshasa to the coast is not navigable because of rapids, thereby necessitating a rail connection to Pointe Noire; other rivers are used for local traffic only) (2011)
Merchant marine: registered in other countries: 1 (Democratic Republic of the Congo 1) (2010)
Ports and terminals: Brazzaville, Djeno, Impfondo, Ouesso, Oyo, Pointe-Noire
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 Military
Military branches: Congolese Armed Forces (Forces Armees Congolaises, FAC): Army (Armee de Terre), Navy, Congolese Air Force (Armee de l’Air Congolaise); Gendarmerie; Special Presidential Security Guard (GSSP) (2011)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary military service; women allowed to serve (2011)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 928,664 females age 16-49: 914,265 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 577,944 females age 16-49: 566,587 (2010 est.)

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