Democratic Republic of the Congo

Language: French, Swahili, Kikongo and other regional languages

Currency: Congolese franc (CDF)

Calling Code: 243


Democratic Republic of the Congo, also popularly known as DR Congo, Congo Democratic, Congo-Kinsasa, or Eastern Congo and called Zaire between 1971 and 1997, is one of the fifty-four countries that make up the African continent. Its capital and most populated city is Kinsasa. Located in the equatorial region of Africa, it comprises a large part of the basin of the Congo River, extending to the region of the great lakes. It is the second largest country in the continent, after Algeria. It borders the Central African Republic and South Sudan to the north, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania to the east, Zambia and Angola to the south, and the Republic of the Congo to the west. It has access to the sea through a narrow strip of 37 km of coastline, following the Congo River to the Gulf of Guinea. The name Congo finds its origin in the Bakongo natives, settled on the banks of the Nzadi or Zaire River, renamed in Portuguese as Congo River.

The DRC owns a rich and varied history that begins with the first Bantu immigrants who arrived in the area, which would become the epicenter of the great Kingdom of the Congo in the mid-fifteenth century. After the territory was claimed by the African International Association (owned by King Leopold II of Belgium) as a Free State, and then following a particularly brutal colonization by Belgium, the Belgian Congo colony would reach independence in 1960, to become Zaire under the aegis of the dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. During the government of Sese Seko the country was subjected to an authoritarian, violent and kleptocratic government, which ruined the economy of the Congo. The fall of the latter led to the start of a serious civil war that would degenerate into a continental conflagration, in which armed forces from more than seven countries intervened, leaving as tragic more than four million deaths. The result was the intervention of the UN with its peace forces organized in MONUC.

Between 2003 and 2007 the country experienced a tense calm, under the direction of a transitional government. At the end of 2006 there were elections in which he was elected for President Joseph Kabila, who until then exercised the functions interim.


Travel Destinations in Democratic Republic of Congo

Kahuzi-Biéga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo is home to several gorilla families.

Virunga National Park located in Congo is famous for its wild life and particularly primates.


Physical and geographical characteristics

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a country in western equatorial Africa. The territory of the country occupies the basin of the Congo River. From the east, the territory of the country is bounded by the African Rift. In the far west it has access to the sea, with a coastline of only 37 km, it is one of the smallest coastlines in the world.

It has a land border with the Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic (CAR), South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Angola, including the Angolan exclave of Cabinda.

Partly the territory of the DR Congo belongs to the equatorial climatic zone, partly to the subequatorial or savannas.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a vast central plateau (Congo Basin) covered in tropical forests, surrounded by mountains in the east, plains and savannahs in the south and southwest, and fields in the north. The high Rwenzori mountain range is located on the eastern borders of the country.

The bowels of the country contain reserves of copper, cobalt, cadmium, bauxite, iron ore, coal, diamonds, gold, silver, oil, zinc, manganese, tin, uranium. More than half of the world's explored uranium reserves are located on the territory of the republic. Large deposits of malachite and columbite-tantalite. On the territory of the country is part of the copper belt of Africa.

Animal world
The fauna is widely represented: elephants, lions, cheetahs, leopards, caracals, chimpanzees, gorillas, giraffes, okapis, zebras, earthen wolves. The rivers abound with crocodiles and hippos, and the savannah abounds with African buffaloes, antelopes and other herbivorous ungulates. There are also many different snakes, of which the mamba (one of the most poisonous snakes in the world) stands out. Among the birds: flamingo, pelican, parrot, heron, sunbird, African spurred lapwing. A large number of insects, including the malarial mosquito and the tsetse fly that carries sleeping sickness.


History of DRC

The most ancient people of the Congo were pygmies. In the II millennium BC. Bantu agricultural tribes began to migrate from the north, who brought farming, metallurgy with them and created the first state formations. The most significant among them was the kingdom of the Congo, which arose around the 14th century, which covered the north of Angola. The rulers of this state were called mani-conga, and the capital was the city of Mbansa-Congo.

At the end of the 15th century, Portuguese appeared at the mouth of the Congo River. The main income of the owners of the Congo was the slave trade with European countries, especially with Portugal. Congolese slaves were used on plantations in America.

In 1876, the Belgians entered the country.

In 1885-1908, a country called the Free State of the Congo was the personal property of the Belgian King Leopold II. This period of history is characterized by a brutal dictatorship, forcing the local population to extract rubber and ivory. In 1908, Leopold sold this territory to a Belgian state and the country became a colony of Belgium, known as the Belgian Congo.

In May 1960, the Congo National Movement, led by Patrice Lumumba, won the elections to the local parliament; on June 30, 1960, the country gained independence under the name of the Republic of Congo.

Since the neighboring French colony of Moyen Congo, located on the right bank of the great African river Congo, after gaining independence also chose the name "Republic of the Congo", for some time these countries distinguished by the names of their capitals - the Republic of Congo-Brazzaville and the Republic of Congo-Leopoldville (the modern name of Leopoldville is Kinshasa).

Soon after gaining independence, the country faced separatism in the southeastern provinces of Katanga (led by Moise Chombe, leader of the right-wing party CONAKAT, affiliated with the Belgian corporation Union Minière) and South Kasai (led by Albert Kalonge, a former associate of Lumumba) .

On September 5, 1960, President Kasavubu removed Prime Minister Lumumba from his post, which provoked a long-term political crisis in the country.

In 1961, the chief of the General Staff of the Congolese army, Mobutu (the future dictator who renamed Congo in Zaire in 1971) secretly extradits (in the guise of kidnapping) the opposition Lumumbu to his worst enemies - armed formations of the self-proclaimed Katanga. The separatists, supported by the Belgians, brutally tortured and killed Lumumba (according to other sources, the execution of the national leader of the Congo was a planned special operation of the US CIA).

By January 1963, UN troops helped the Congo government crush the rebellion in the southeast of the country. As a result of the civil war, the Caucasian population left the country, which made up a large diaspora in Katanga (31% of the more than one hundred thousand white population of the Republic of Congo as of the first years of independence).

In 1964, President Kasavubu appointed Moise Chombe, returning from exile, Prime Minister of the Congo. The Tshombe government suppresses the Simba Rebellion, raised by Lumumba supporters. In the spring of 1965, the CONACO омombe party won the parliamentary elections. However, in October, Kasavubu removes Tshombe from the post of head of government and replaces Evarist Kimba.

In November 1965, Mobutu, who received financial assistance from the United States and Belgium to reward his troops, made a coup d'etat and ousted President Casavuba.

In 1966, the Mobutu government gave the capital the country a new name - Kinshasa, instead of the old - Leopoldville.

On October 27, 1971, the country itself was renamed Zaire.

After the overthrow of the dictatorship of Mobutu in 1997 (as a result of the First Congolese War), the country began to bear the modern name - the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In 1998-2002, the country became the scene of the so-called Great African War (Second Congolese War), into which almost all the states of Central and South Africa were drawn.

He has diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation, which were established since the USSR on July 7, 1960.



Population: 108,407,721 (2022 est.; 14th in the world).

Annual growth estimate for 2022 is 3.14% (9th place in the world).

Fertility estimate for 2022 is 5.63 births per woman (3rd in the world).

The birth rate for 2022 is 40.08 per 1000 (7th in the world).

Mortality estimate for 2022 is 7.94 per 1000 (95th in the world).

Infant mortality estimate for 2022 is 60.85 per 1000 (10th in the world).

The average life expectancy estimate for 2022 is 61.83 years, for men - 60.03 years, for women - 63.69 years.

Infection with the immunodeficiency virus (HIV) - 0.8% (2018 estimate, 800,000 infected).

Literacy score for 2016 is 77%, for men - 88.5%, for women - 66.5%. Primary education in the main languages ​​was established during the colonial period, which was quite rare in Africa at that time.

The urban population estimate for 2022 is 46.8%.

Ethnic composition: more than 200 peoples and nationalities, 242 languages, mainly Bantu; the four largest peoples - Mongo, Luba, Kongo and Mangbetu-Azande together make up 45% of the population.

Religions: Catholics - 29.9%; Protestants - 26.7%; other Christians, 36.5%; kimbangists - 2.8%; Muslims - 1.3%; Aboriginal and syncretic cults - 2.8%, Baha'is - 0.43%.

The official language of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is French, an ethnically neutral language designed to facilitate communication among the many peoples living in the country. According to the International Organization of Francophone Countries (OIF), as of 2022, 51.37% of the population of the DRC speaks French. The DRC is the second largest French-speaking country in the world after France in absolute numbers of the population, in 2022 48,924,702 Congolese, or 51.37% of the population of the DRC, could read and write in French, against 66,393,815 French, or 96.91% of the population France who could read and write French. Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC, is the largest French-speaking city in the world by population.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a multilingual country with an estimated total of 242 living spoken languages. Ethnologue lists 215 languages. The official language is French, inherited from the colonial period. Four languages ​​have "national" status: Congo, Lingala, Swahili, Luba.

Lingala (language of interethnic communication in the center and northwest), kingwana (Swahili dialect, center and east of the country), kikongo (extreme southwest), chiluba (center and southwest). During the colonial period of the country's history, Dutch was also an official language, but subsequently French replaced it. In total, approximately 242 languages ​​are in circulation on the territory of the state.

When the country was a Belgian colony, 4 languages ​​were already studied and taught in primary schools, making it one of the few African countries to have literacy in national languages ​​during the European colonial period. During the colonial period, Dutch and French were the official languages, but French was by far the most important language.

Administrative division
The administrative division of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is governed by the constitution and current legislation.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is subdivided into 26 provinces. Each province is headed by a governor, who is elected by the people for a five-year term. The highest organs of legislative power in the provinces are local councils of people's representatives, also elected by the population for a term of five years.

Fundamentals of the state system
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a federal presidential republic. The basic law of the state is the constitution adopted in 2006. The 2006 constitution, also known as the constitution of the Third Republic, came into effect in February 2006. It operated simultaneously with the transitional constitution until the inauguration of officials elected in the July 2006 elections. Under the new constitution, the DRC parliament remained bicameral: a Senate of 108 members elected for five years by regional parliaments and a National Assembly of 500 deputies elected for five years. years by population. Executive power was divided between the president and the government, headed by a prime minister from the party with a majority in the National Assembly. The government became accountable to parliament, and the president began to be elected for five years with the possibility of a second term in a row. The new constitution also gave new powers to the regions. Legislatures in the provinces received the right to elect governors - heads of regional governments. Also under the new constitution, the Supreme Court was divided into three new institutions. The prerogative of interpreting the constitution passed to the Constitutional Court.



After a four-year transition period between the two constitutions, new political institutions were created at various levels of all branches of government, a new administrative division was adopted, the political system of the DRC finally took on the stable form of a presidential democratic republic. According to the provisions of the transitional constitution of 2003, a legislative body was created, consisting of two chambers - the Senate and the National Assembly. The Senate, among other things, was responsible for drafting the new constitution. Executive power was vested in a 60-member cabinet headed by a president and four vice presidents. The president received the powers of the supreme commander of the armed forces. The transitional constitution also established a relatively independent judiciary, headed by a Supreme Court with the power to interpret the constitution.



The Parliament of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is bicameral:
National Assembly - lower house
Senate - upper house
According to the results of the 2011 elections, the largest number of seats in the National Assembly (62 out of 500) was held by the party of President Joseph Kabila (People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy).

Following the results of the elections to the Senate on January 19, 2007, the presidential party received 22 seats, 7 parties - from 14 to 2 seats, 18 parties - 1 seat each, and 26 non-partisans also entered the Senate.

Mobutu Sese Seko, who ruled the DRC from 1965 to 1997, effectively institutionalized corruption, which led the country to economic collapse in 1996. Mobutu is said to have embezzled between US$4 and US$5 billion during his reign. In July 2009, a Swiss court ruled that the statute of limitations for the return of Mobutu's overseas assets (about US$6.7 million held in Swiss banks) had expired and the assets should therefore be handed over to his family.

President Joseph Kabila, having come to power in 2001, created the Commission to Combat Economic Crimes.

Human rights
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in 2006 expressed concern that in the post-war transition period, human rights for women and respect for gender equality are not considered as a priority goal. The east of the country, in particular, has been called the "rape capital of the world" and the prevalence of sexual violence has been rated as the highest in the world. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the general population seems to accept violence against women as the norm. In July 2007, the International Committee of the Red Cross expressed concern about the situation in the east of the DRC. According to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Yakin Ertürk, who traveled to eastern Congo in July 2007, violence against women in North and South Kivu has taken on a character of "unimaginable brutality". “Armed groups attack local communities, rob, rape, kidnap women and children and force them to work as sex slaves,” Erturk said. In December 2008, GuardianFilms, owned by the British newspaper The Guardian, released a documentary documenting the testimony of more than 400 women and girls who were abused by armed bands of marauders. In June 2010, Britain's Oxfam reported a sharp increase in the number of rapes occurring in the DRC, and Harvard researchers found that the number of rapes committed by civilians had increased seventeenfold. According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, which published the ranking of the most dangerous countries for women in the world at the end of 2018, the Democratic Republic of the Congo ranks seventh in the list of countries with the greatest number of risks for women in terms of health care, access to economic resources, ordinary life, sexual violence and trafficking. people.

In 2003, Sinafasi Makelo, who represented the Mbuti Pygmies, stated at the UN Indigenous Forum that during the war, members of his people were hunted and eaten as if they were game. In the province of North Kivu, cases of cannibalism were observed by a group known as Les Effaceurs ("Erasers"), whose members wanted to clear the land of people and use it for mining. Both sides of the war viewed each other as "inferior", and some believed that eating human flesh gave them magical powers.



Natural resources - the world's largest reserves of cobalt, germanium, tantalum, diamonds, Africa's largest reserves of uranium, tungsten, copper, zinc, tin, reserves of beryllium, lithium, niobium, significant deposits of oil, coal, iron ores, manganese, gold, silver , bauxites. The leader in the supply of natural malachite. Large hydropower resources, forests.

After the end of the civil wars, the economic situation of the country began to improve from 2002. The DRC authorities have resumed relations with international financial organizations and with countries providing assistance. The recovery of work in the mining sector, the main source of export earnings, led to an increase in GDP in 2006-08. However, since the end of 2008, falling demand and prices for the DRC's key export commodities have led to a new stagnation in the country's economy.

GDP per capita, according to the IMF, in 2017 is about $790 (185th in the world).

Industry - mining (diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt, zinc), consumer products (textiles, shoes, cigarettes, food products and drinks), timber.

Agriculture - coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber, tea, quinine, cassava (tapioca), bananas, root vegetables, corn, fruits; animal husbandry is underdeveloped.

International trade
Exports ($8.3 billion in 2017) - copper, cobalt, diamonds, gold, timber, crude oil, coffee.
The main buyers of exports (in 2017): China - 39.7%, Belgium - 21.7%, South Korea - 7.2%, Saudi Arabia - 7.1%.

Imports ($5.0 billion in 2017) - food, engineering products, vehicles, fuel.
The main import suppliers (in 2017): China - 19.4%, South Africa - 9.9%, Zambia - 10.6%, Belgium - 9%.

External debt - 5.324 billion dollars (in 2017).

Official statistics, however, miss the main point of Congo's foreign trade - the shadow export of tantalum raw materials. Human rights organizations and the international press are actively covering the issue of illegal trade in tantalite from the Congo on the black market. The world's largest electronics manufacturers, the mafia, and the governments of countries neighboring the Congo are accused of being involved in this. In 2003, The New York Times published publications with accusations of involvement in the illegal import of raw materials from the Congo to the Kazakhstani enterprise Kazatomprom. This issue was also covered in the OKO newspaper (No. 114 of April 11, 2003). In 2002, Belgian human rights organizations launched a social campaign “No blood on my cell phone! Stop the war in the Congo! The problem of illegal trade in tantalum raw materials is dedicated to the 2010 documentary film "Blood on your mobile".



The country is distinguished by a significant ethno-cultural diversity (more than 200 peoples and nationalities, 242 languages).

mass media
State television and radio company RTNC (Fr. Radio-Télévision nationale congolaise "Congolese national radio and television"); formerly OZRT (French Office zaïrois de radiodiffusion et de télévision “Zairian Broadcasting and Television Authority”), includes the TV channels RTNC 1 (broadcasts since 1976) and RTNC2 (broadcasts since March 1999), the nationwide radio station RTNC Chaîne Nationale and a network of regional radio stations (RTNC Chaîne Kinshasa and others).

The most popular sport is football. In DR Congo, the national team is quite strong by African standards. The most successful period in the history of national football is the 1960s and 1970s, when the Zaire team won the African Cup of Nations twice (1968 and 1974), and in 1974, for the only time in its history, took part in the World Cup in Germany, where, however, lost all three matches in the group with a total score of 0-14 (including a record defeat 0:9 against Yugoslavia). In the 1990s and 2000s, the DR Congo team regularly participated in the African Cup of Nations, finishing third in 1998. The best football players of DR Congo play for European clubs in the championships of England, Germany, Belgium, France and other countries. Among the country's strongest footballers in the 21st century, Shabani Nonda, Dieumersi Mbokani, Youssouf Mulumba, Cedric Makyadi, Chancel Mbemba can be noted.

A number of players who were born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or have roots from this country, having moved to Europe, became citizens of the EU states, mainly France and Belgium. Goalkeeper Steve Mandanda, midfielders Claude Makelele, Yann M'Vila, Rio Mavyuba (his father played for Zaire at the 1974 World Cup), forward Pegi Luyindyula have experience playing for the French national team.

The DR Congo participates regularly in the Summer Olympics, usually sending 5-10 athletes. Athletes from the DR Congo have not yet managed to win medals at the Olympic Games.