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Republic of the Congo

Republic of the Congo


The Republic of the Congo (French: Rpublique du Congo; Kongo: Repubilika ya Kongo; Lingala: Republiki ya Kong), also known as Congo-Brazzaville or the Congo, is a country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Angolan exclave province of Cabinda, and the Gulf of Guinea.


Background History

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. The Republic of Congo is 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.

 

Government

Country Name:

  • conventional long form: Republic of the Congo
  • conventional short form: Congo (Brazzaville)
  • local long form: Republique du Congo
  • former: Middle Congo, Congo/Brazzaville, Congo

Capital:

  • name: Brazzaville
  • geographic coordinates: 4 15 S, 15 17 E
  • time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Independence:

  • 15 August 1960 (from France)

Government Type:

  • republic

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: 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
  • 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)

Legislative Branch:

  • structure: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate and the National Assembly

Judicial Branch:

  • structure: Supreme Court

  ​

People & Society

Population:

  • 4,662,446 (global rank: 125)
  • growth rate: 1.94% (global rank: 15)

Nationality:

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

Major Cities:

  • Brazzaville (capital): 1.827 million; Pointe-Noire 939,000

Ethnic Groups:

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

Religions:

  • Roman Catholic 33.1%, Awakening Churches/Christian Revival 22.3%, Protestant 19.9%, Salutiste 2.2%, Muslim 1.6%, Kimbanguiste 1.5%, other 8.1%, none 11.3%

Languages:

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

Life Expectancy at Birth:

  • total population: 58.52 years (global rank: 199)
  • male: 57.38 years
  • female: 59.7 years

Infant Mortality:

  • total population: 59.34 deaths/1,000 live births (global rank: 24)
  • male: 64.49 deaths/1,000 live births
  • female: 54.04 deaths/1,000 live births

HIV/AIDS:

  • adult prevalence rate: 2.49% (2013 est.) (global rank: 22)
  • people living with AIDS: 68,900 (2013 est.) (global rank: 50)

Literacy:

  • definition: age 15 and over can read and write
  • total population: 79.3%
  • male: 86.4%
  • female: 72.9%

  ​

Economy

Overview: The economy is a mixture of subsistence farming and hunting, 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. Natural gas is increasingly being converted to electricity rather than being flared, greatly improving energy prospects. New mining projects, particularly iron ore, which entered production in late 2013 may add as much as $1 billion to annual government revenue. Economic reform efforts have been undertaken with the support of international organizations, notably the World Bank and the IMF, including recently concluded Article IV consultations. The current administration faces difficult economic challenges of stimulating recovery and reducing poverty. The recent drop in oil prices has constrained government spending; lower oil prices forced the government to cut more than $1 billion in planned spending. Officially the country became a net external creditor as of 2011, with external debt representing only about 16% of GDP and debt servicing less than 3% of government revenue.

Gross Domestic Product:

  • GDP (PPP): $28.09 billion (global rank: 129)
  • GDP per capita (PPP): $6,600 (global rank: 156)
  • real growth rate: 6% (global rank: 33)
  • composition by sector: agriculture: 3.3%, industry: 74.4%, services: 22.3%

Currency:

  • currency: Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale Francs
  • exchange rate (per US Dollar): 491.2

Poverty:

  • population below poverty line: 46.5%
  • unemployment rate: 53%

Agricultural Products:

  • cassava (manioc, tapioca), sugar, rice, corn, peanuts, vegetables, coffee, cocoa; forest products

Industries:

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

Exports Commodities:

  • petroleum, lumber, plywood, sugar, cocoa, coffee, diamonds

Imports Commodities:

  • capital equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs

 

Geography

Location:

  • Central Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and Gabon

Area:

  • total:342,000 sq km (global rank: 64)
  • land: 341,500 sq km
  • water: 500 sq km
  • comparative: slightly smaller than Montana

Climate:

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

Land Use:

  • arable land: 1.55%
  • permanent crops: 0.2%
  • other: 98.24%

Natural Resources:

  • petroleum, timber, potash, lead, zinc, uranium, copper, phosphates, gold, magnesium, natural gas, hydropower

Current Environmental Issues:

  • air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; tap water is not potable; deforestation

 

Transnational Issues

  • international disputes: the location of the boundary in the broad Congo River with the Democratic Republic of the Congo is undefined except in the Pool Malebo/Stanley Pool area
  • refugees (country of origin): 23,257 (Democratic Republic of Congo); 8,910 (Rwanda); 24,646 (Central African Republic)
  • internally displaced persons: 7,800 (multiple civil wars since 1992)


Published: Friday, April 24, 2015