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Democratic Republic of the Congo

Population: 77 433 744

GDP: 18 560 000 000.00 $

Description

 

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. In January 2001, KABILA was assassinated 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 the eastern DRC; 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; it held a successful constitutional referendum in December 2005 and elections for the presidency, National Assembly, and provincial legislatures took place in 2006. In 2009, following a resurgence of conflict in the eastern DRC, the government signed a peace agreement with the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), a primarily Tutsi rebel group.

 

 

An attempt to integrate CNDP members into the Congolese military failed, prompting their defection in 2012 and the formation of the M23 armed group - named after the 23 March 2009 peace agreements. Renewed conflict has lead to the displacement of large numbers of people and significant human rights abuses. As of February 2013, peace talks between the Congolese government and the M23 were on-going. In addition, the DRC continues to experience violence committed by other armed groups including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda and Mai Mai groups. In the most recent national elections, held in November 2011, disputed results allowed Joseph Kabila to be reelected to the presidency.

Population

 

 

Population: 77,433,744

 

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

 

Languages: French (official), Lingala (a lingua franca trade language), Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili), Kikongo, Tshiluba

 

Religions: Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim 10%, other (includes syncretic sects and indigenous beliefs) 10%

 

GDP

 

GDP: $ 18 560 000 000.00 (2013)

 

Military Organization

 

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)

 

Conflicts and Disputes

 

 

Heads of the Great Lakes states and UN pledged in 2004 to abate tribal, rebel, and militia fighting in the region, including northeast Congo, where the UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), organized in 1999, maintains over 16,500 uniformed peacekeepers; members of Uganda's Lords Resistance Army forces continue to seek refuge in Congo's Garamba National Park as peace talks with the Uganda government evolve; the location of the boundary in the broad Congo River with the Republic of the Congo is indefinite except in the Pool Malebo/Stanley Pool area; Uganda and DRC dispute Rukwanzi Island in Lake Albert and other areas on the Semliki River with hydrocarbon potential; boundary commission continues discussions over Congolese-administered triangle of land on the right bank of the Lunkinda River claimed by Zambia near the DRC village of Pweto; DRC accuses Angola of shifting monuments.

 

Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of Africa's biggest producers of cannabis, but mostly for domestic consumption; traffickers exploit lax shipping controls to transit pseudoephedrine through the capital; 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.

Geographical Information and Map

 

Capital: Kinshasa

 

Location: Central Africa, northeast of Angola. The second largest country in Africa (after Algeria) and largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa; straddles the 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.

 

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 km.

 

Land boundaries:

total: 10,481 km

border countries: Angola 2,646 km (of which 225 km is the boundary of Angola's discontiguous Cabinda Province), Burundi 236 km, Central African Republic 1,747 km, Republic of the Congo 1,229 km, Rwanda 221 km, South Sudan 714 km, Tanzania 479 km, Uganda 877 km, Zambia 2,332 km.

 

Coastline: 37 km.

 

Natural resources: cobalt, copper, niobium, tantalum, petroleum, industrial and gem diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, uranium, coal, hydropower, timber.