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  Introduction Back To Top

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 Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.03 cu km/yr (59%/29%/12%)
per capita: 8 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
832 cu km (1987)

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

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

tropical; rainy season (March to June); dry season (June to October); persistent high temperatures and humidity; particularly enervating climate astride the Equator

Map references:

Geographic coordinates:
1 00 S, 15 00 E

Natural resources:
petroleum, timber, potash, lead, zinc, uranium, copper, phosphates, gold, magnesium, natural gas, hydropower

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Berongou 903 m

coastal plain, southern basin, central plateau, northern basin

Geography - note:
about 70% of the population lives in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, or along the railroad between them

total: 342,000 sq km
land: 341,500 sq km
water: 500 sq km

Western Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and Gabon

169 km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Montana

Irrigated land:
20 sq km (2003)

Environment - current issues:
air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from the dumping of raw sewage; tap water is not potable; deforestation

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 200 nm

Natural hazards:
seasonal flooding

Land use:
arable land: 1.45%
permanent crops: 0.15%
other: 98.4% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
5.92 children born/woman (2008 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: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
4.9% (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
90,000 (2003 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 53.74 years
male: 52.52 years
female: 55 years (2008 est.)

Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria and African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness)
animal contact disease: rabies (2008)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 83.8%
male: 89.6%
female: 78.4% (2003 est.)

Net migration rate:
-2.52 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Kongo 48%, Sangha 20%, M'Bochi 12%, Teke 17%, Europeans and other 3%

Median age:
total: 16.7 years
male: 16.5 years
female: 17 years (2008 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 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
1.9% of GDP (2005)

Population growth rate:
2.696% (2008 est.)

French (official), Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages), many local languages and dialects (of which Kikongo is the most widespread)

Death rate:
12.28 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 81.29 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 86.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 75.51 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
9,700 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 9 years
male: 10 years
female: 8 years (2003)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 46.1% (male 906,345/female 894,568)
15-64 years: 51% (male 989,126/female 1,002,682)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 45,560/female 65,037) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
41.76 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Christian 50%, animist 48%, Muslim 2%

noun: Congolese (singular and plural)
adjective: Congolese or Congo

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Allan EASTHAM
embassy: Boulevard de la Revolution, BDEAC Building, 4th Floor, Brazzaville; note - a new embassy is expected to open in 2009
mailing address: B.P. 1015, Brazzaville
telephone: [242] 281-1481, [242] 281-3368; note - until the new embassy in Brazzaville becomes operational, some duties will still be handled in the US embassy in Kinshasha, Democratic Republic of the Congo

National holiday:
Independence Day, 15 August (1960)

18 years of age; universal

Government type:

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

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

International organization participation:

Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (66 seats; members are elected by indirect vote to serve five-year terms) and the National Assembly (137 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 11 July 2002 (next to be held in July 2008); National Assembly - last held 24 June and 5 August 2007 (next to be held in 2012)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FDU 56, other 10; 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

Legal system:
based on French civil law system and customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Flag description:
divided diagonally from the lower hoist side by a yellow band; the upper triangle (hoist side) is green and the lower triangle is red
note: uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia

15 August 1960 (from France)

Country name (Goverment):
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

Political parties and leaders:
Action Movement for Renewal or MAR; Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development or MCDDI [Michel MAMPOUYA]; Congolese Labour Party or PCT; Movement for Solidarity and Development or MSD; Pan-African Union for Social Development or UPADS [Martin MBERI]; Rally for Democracy and Social Progress or RDPS [Jean-Pierre Thystere TCHICAYA, president]; Rally for Democracy and the Republic or RDR [Raymond Damasge NGOLLO]; Union for Democracy and Republic or UDR; United Democratic Forces or FDU [Sebastian EBAO]; many less important parties

name: Brazzaville
geographic coordinates: 4 15 S, 15 17 E
time difference: UTC+1 (six hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

approved by referendum 20 January 2002

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);
head of government: Prime Minister Isidore MVOUBA (since 7 January 2005)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 10 March 2002 (next to be held in March 2009)
election results: Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO reelected president; percent of vote - Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO 89.4%, Joseph Kignoumbi Kia MBOUNGOU 2.7%

Administrative divisions:
10 regions (regions, singular - region) and 1 commune*; Bouenza, Brazzaville*, Cuvette, Cuvette-Ouest, Kouilou, Lekoumou, Likouala, Niari, Plateaux, Pool, Sangha

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Cour Supreme

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
US 41%, China 36.5%, Taiwan 3.6% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
564 million kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - imports:
411 million kWh (2006 est.)

Current account balance:
$406 million (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$5 billion (2000 est.)

Unemployment rate:

Oil - exports:
230,200 bbl/day (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$3,800 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
19.3% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$14.79 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$13.35 billion (2008 est.)

Exchange rates:
Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XAF) per US dollar 441.72 (2008 est.), 483.6 (2007), 522.59 (2006), 527.47 (2005), 528.29 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
10.2% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$1.4 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:

Imports - partners:
France 18.1%, South Korea 14.7%, China 12.6%, Italy 10.3%, India 4.7%, US 4.2% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
5% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 5.6%
industry: 57.1%
services: 37.3% (2006 est.)

Oil - imports:
1,702 bbl/day (2005)

$9.009 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
180 million cu m (2006 est.)

Currency (code):
Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note - responsible authority is the Bank of the Central African States

Economy - overview:
The economy is a mixture of subsistence agriculture, an industrial sector based largely on oil, and support services, and a government characterized by budget problems and overstaffing. 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. 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. 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.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
capital equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs

petroleum extraction, cement, lumber, brewing, sugar, palm oil, soap, flour, cigarettes

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
15% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$204.3 million (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
444 million kWh (2006 est.)

$2.722 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
1.6 billion bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
90.61 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$3.845 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
7,677 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Exports - commodities:
petroleum, lumber, plywood, sugar, cocoa, coffee, diamonds

Economic aid - recipient:
$1.449 billion (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 0.3%
hydro: 99.7%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
180 million cu m (2006 est.)

revenues: $5.363 billion
expenditures: $2.758 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
261,000 bbl/day

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
70,000 (2006)

Telephones - main lines in use:
15,900 (2005)

33,000 (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 3 (2001)

341,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
1.334 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
1 (2001)

Telephone system:
general assessment: services barely adequate for government use; key exchanges are in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, and Loubomo; intercity lines frequently out of order; fixed-line infrastructure inadequate providing less than 1 connection per 100 persons; in the absence of an adequate fixed line infrastructure, mobile-cellular subscribership has surged reaching 35 per 100 persons
domestic: primary network consists of microwave radio relay and coaxial cable
international: country code - 242; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)

Internet hosts:
5 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

1,120 km (commercially navigable on Congo and Oubanqui rivers) (2008)

gas 89 km; liquid petroleum gas 4 km; oil 758 km (2007)

total: 894 km
narrow gauge: 894 km 1.067-m gauge (2006)

Ports and terminals:
Brazzaville, Djeno, Impfondo, Ouesso, Oyo, Pointe-Noire

Merchant marine:
registered in other countries: 1 (Congo, Democratic Republic of the 1) (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 5
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2007)

total: 17,289 km
paved: 864 km
unpaved: 16,425 km (2004)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 26
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 9 (2007)

31 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service; women allowed to serve (2007)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 842,771
females age 16-49: 833,624 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 519,296
females age 16-49: 509,564 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Congolese Armed Forces (Forces Armees Congolaises, FAC): Army, Navy, Congolese Air Force (Armee de l'Air Congolaise), Gendarmerie, Special Presidential Security Guard (GSSP) (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 45,671
female: 45,248 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
3.1% of GDP (2006)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
the location of the boundary in the broad Congo River with the Democratic Republic of the Congo is indefinite except in the Pool Malebo/Stanley Pool area

Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 46,341 (Democratic Republic of Congo); 6,564 (Rwanda)
IDPs: 48,000 (multiple civil wars since 1992; most IDPs are ethnic Lari) (2007)

Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Republic of the Congo is a source and destination country for children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation; girls are trafficked from rural areas within the country for commercial sexual exploitation, forced street vending, and domestic servitude; children are trafficked from other African countries for domestic servitude, forced market vending, and forced labor in the fishing industry
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Republic of the Congo is on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to show evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons in 2007; struggling to recover from six years of civil conflict that ended in 2003, the Republic of the Congo's capacity to address trafficking is handicapped; the government neither monitors its borders for trafficking activity nor provides specialized anti-trafficking training for law enforcement officials; the government does not encourage victims to assist in trafficking investigations or prosecutions, and has not taken measures to reduce demand for commercial sex acts in the Republic of the Congo (2008)

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