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Democratic Republic of Congo

Flag of Democratic Republic of Congo

Background Information

  •  Established as a Belgian colony in 1908, the 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 the use of 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, and the political opposition.
  • The transitional government held a successful constitutional referendum in December 2005 and elections for the presidency, National Assembly, and provincial legislatures in 2006. KABILA was inaugurated president in December 2006.
  • The National Assembly was installed in September 2006. Its president, Vital KAMERHE, was chosen in December. Provincial assemblies were constituted in early 2007, and elected governors and national senators in January 2007.


Capital Kinshasa
Currency                                                                   Franc Congolais (CDF)
Major 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
Main Languages French (official),
Lingala (a lingua franca trade language),
Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili),


Religious Breakdown                                             

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


HIVAIDS Adult Prevalence Rate: 4.2% (2003 est.)
People Living with HIV/AIDS: 1.1 million (2003 est.)
Labour Force 15 million (2006 est.)
Labour Force by Occupation: Agriculture: NA%
Industry and Services: NA%
Industries:: Mining (diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt, coltan zinc), mineral processing, consumer products (including textiles, footwear, cigarettes, processed foods and beverages), cement, commercial ship repair
Literacy: Age 15 and over that can read or write French, Lingala, Kingwana, or Tshiluba
Total Population 65.5%
Male 76.2%
Female 55.1%


Government Republic
Constitution 18 February 2006
Legal System Compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Chief of State                                                                              President Joseph KABILA (since 17 January 2001); note - following the assassination of his father, Joseph KABILA succeeded to the presidency which he retained through the 2003-2006 transition; he was subsequently elected president in October 2006
Head of Government Prime Minister Antoine GIZENGA (since 30 December 2006);
Elections Under the new constitution the president is elected by popular vote to a five-year term (eligible for a second term);
elections last held 30 July 2006 with a second round held on 29 October 2006 (next to be held in 2011);
prime minister appointed by the president
Cabinet Ministers of State appointed by the president
Prime Minister Prime Minister Antoine GIZENGA (since 30 December 2006);

Banking And Business

Economy The economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo - a nation endowed with vast potential wealth - is recovering from two decades of decline. Conflict, which began in August 1998, dramatically reduced national output and government revenue, increased external debt, and resulted in the deaths of perhaps 3.5 million people from violence, famine, and disease.
GDP Purchasing Power Parity: $44.44 billion (2006 est.)
Official Exchange Rate : $7.98 billion (2006 est.)
Real Growth Rate: 6.4% (2006 est.)
Per Capita (PPP):$700 (2006 est.)
Composition By Sector                                                                                                                 Agriculture: 55%
Industry: 11%
Services: 34% (2000 est.)
Industries Mining (diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt, coltan zinc), mineral processing, consumer products (including textiles, footwear, cigarettes, processed foods and beverages), cement, commercial ship repair
Electricity Production: 353 million kWh (2004)
Consumption: 658.3 million kWh (2004)
Exports: NA
Iimports: 330 million kWh (2004)
Transportation Roadways:
total: 153,497 km
paved: 2,794 km
unpaved: 150,703 km (2004)

total: 5,138 km
narrow gauge: 3,987 km 1.067-m gauge (858 km electrified); 125 km 1.000-m gauge; 1,026 km 0.600-m gauge (2006)
Air Transport 234 (2006)
With Paved Runways: total: 25
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 16
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2006)
Exports $1.108 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Commodities: Diamonds, copper, crude oil, coffee, cobalt
Partners: Belgium 33.3%, China 24.1%, Chile 8.9%, Finland 8.2%, US 5.6% (2006)
Imports $1.319 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Commodities: foodstuffs, mining and other machinery, transport equipment, fuels
South Africa 19.3%, Belgium 11.7%, France 9.3%, Zambia 7.5%, Kenya 7.4%, Cote d'Ivoire 4.8% (2006)

Schooling And Holidays

Public Holidays     

Jan 1 New Years Day.
Jan 4 Commemoration of the Martyrs of Independence.
Jan 17 National Hero’s Day.
May 1 Labour Day.
May 17 National Liberation Day.
Jun 30 Independence Day.
Nov 17 Army Day.
Nov 24 New Regime Anniversary.
Dec 25 Christmas Day.



Tv Stations

Television congolaise – RTNC 1 French, Kikongo & Lingala
AA - French & Lingala
TV - RAGA French & Lingala
RTGA - French & Lingala
MOZAIQUE - French &Lingala
TAM – TAM TV - French
RTIV - French
R. TOP - French
TKM - French
RTM - French

Radio Stations

RTNC - French
RAGA FM - French
RTKM FM - French
TOP CONGO - French & Lingala
Radio TAM TAM - French & Lingala
Radio Horizons de Kasai - French & Lingala
Radio Mozaique - French &Lingala
Reveil Afrique- French
Radio Matadi - French &Lingala



  • Accueil ML (Daily) - French
  • L’Analyste (Daily) - French
  • L’Avenir (Daily) - French
  • Boyoma (Daily) - Lingala
  • Congo Daily (Daily) - English
  • Congo Post (Daily) - English
  • Elima (Daily) - French & Lingala
  • Le Palmares (Daily) - French
  • Le Phare (Daily) - French
  • Le reverence Plus (Daily) - French
  • Le Soft (Financial) (Daily) - French
  • Mjumbe (Daily) - Swahili
  • Sakongo (Daily) - kikongo
  • Salongo (Daily) - Lingala
  • Umoja (Daily) - Swahili & Lingala
  • Bingwa (Weekly) - Lingala
  • Horizons 80 (Weekly) - French
  • Les Kasai (Weekly) French
  • Kingdom Digest (Weekly) - English
  • KYA (Weekly) - Kikongo
  • Liberation (AFDL) (Weekly) - French
  • Les Luhois (Weekly) - French
  • NKUTA (Weekly) - Swahili
  • L’Opinion (Weekly) - French
  • Le Semaine (Weekly) - French
  • La Societe (Weekly) - French
  • Vision (Weekly )- French & Lingala
  • La Voix de la Resistance Congolaise (Weekly) - French & English
  • Jua (Weekly) - Swahili
  • L’Opinion (Weekly) - French
  • Sept. Jours (Weekly) - French
  • Taifa de Lumbumbashi (Weekly) - Swahili
  • Umoja (Weekly) - Swahili

Newspaper Websites

Special Interest

L’Entrepreneur Flash (Monthly)- French
Le Moniteur d I’ Economie (Monthly) - French

Outdoor Media

Country Data