Form of Government: Republic
Area: 2 345 410 sq km
Population: 86 025 000 inhab. (estimate 2015)
Density: 36.68 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 5° N - 13° S; long. 12° - 31° E
Capital: Kinshasa (capital) 11 575 000 inhab. (2015);
Currency: Congolese franc (100 centimes)
Human development index: 0.457 (rank: 176)
President: Félix Tshisekedi (Union for Democracy and Social Progress), elected 30 December 2018, in office since 25 January 2019
Prime Minister: Sylvestre Ilunga (PPRD), since 20 May 2019
National Assembly: seats based on the elections of 30 December 2018: Common Front for Congo (coalition aligned with J. Kabila), 341; Lamuka (“Wake Up”) Coalition, 112; Heading for Change Coalition, 47
Internet: //ins-rdc.org (Institut National de la Statistique)
Member of AU, COMESA, SADC, UN, WTO
Congo, Dem. Rep.
International license plate code CD
International dialling code 00243
Travel vaccinations requirement yellow fever (required); malaria prophylaxis (recommended)
Electricity (Voltage) 220
Driving side rigth
Internet code .cd
GMT Kinshasa +1; Lubumbashi +2
DST Kinshasa not applied; Lubumbashi not applied
Annual average temperature (°C) Kinshasa 25.2
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Kinshasa 26/22
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Kinshasa 5/4
Annual average precipitation (mm) Kinshasa 1385
Days of rainfall (annual average) Kinshasa 83
Politics and current affairs
General elections, planned for November 2016 and postponed several times, were held on 30 December 2018. Félix Tshisekedi, one of the opposition candidates, was elected president. His predecessor, Joseph Kabila, could not run again, but he is still powerful: his party (PPRD) and allies control Parliament and are part of the government coalition.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is bordered by the Central African Republic and Southern Sudan to the north, by Uganda to the north-east, by Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania to the east, by Zambia to the south-east, by Zambia and Angola to the south and by Congo-Brazzaville to the west. The country has a short coastline to the west looking out onto the Atlantic Ocean. The area occupied by the country more or less corresponds to the basin of the River Congo, an extremely vast catchment area covered by tropical rain forests and savanna, rising in the south with the southern African highlands, in the east to the plateau of the Great Lakes, and in the north up to Sudan. The central and western part of the country is made up of plains with an average altitude of between 310 and 430 m, through which the River Congo flows. To the east the plateau is broken in rifts by the Lake Tanganyika and Lake Kivu.
The climate in the central part of the country is tropical, becoming milder towards the borders and the coast.
Formerly known as the Belgian Congo, the country was granted independence on 30 June 1960 with a government headed by Patrice Lumumba, the leader of the National Congolese Movement (MNC), a progressive movement. Shortly afterwards, however, civil war broke out, provoked by secessionist movements in Katanga, supported by mining companies and European powers present in central Africa at the time. On the 24 November 1965, General Mobuto Sese Seko assumed full control of the country and on 27 October 1971, he changed the name of the country (to the Republic of Zaire) and instituted a system of one-party rule. The dictatorship of Mobutu ended in May 1997 after the Army for Congolese Liberation led by Laurent-Désiré Kabila with the support of the AFDL (Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire) as well as Rwandan and Angolan armed forces took power. On 17 May 1997, the country was renamed the Democratic Republic of the Congo with all powers given over to a transitional parliament made up of 300 deputies appointed by the President. Meanwhile civil war spread through the country with involvement from Rwanda, Burundi and other African states.
In 1999 a UN mission (MONUSCO) was sent into the country, which was nevertheless unable to stop the violence. In January 2001, after the assassination of L.D. Kabila, his son Joseph Kabila was declared President of the transitional parliament. On 30 July 2002, Kabila signed a peace treaty with Rwanda and shortly after Rwandan troops began pulling back. In return, the President agreed to disarm Hutu forces (the Interahamwe) in the country which were threatening Rwandan security. On 6 September 2002, another peace treaty was signed, this time with Uganda which in turn gradually withdrew its troops from Congolese territory. On 1 April 2003, after more than a year of negotiations under the auspices of South Africa, the Sun City Agreement was signed which, as well as drawing up a new transitional constitution, also laid down the timetable for a peace process. On 15 July 2003, a new government of national unity took office, presided over by J. Kabila, leading the country into the 2006-07 elections.
In reality, armed forces have remained active in the east of the country, often supported by neighbouring countries or in war with them, like the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP). The latter, following the arrest of its leader, Laurent Nkunda, at the beginning of 2009, reached an agreement with the government and was integrated into the army, but some of its former members formed the March 23 Movement (M23), with the possible support of Uganda and Rwanda, active in North Kivu from April 2012 to November 2013, when the army, flanked by MONUSCO troops, forced the last rebel groups to surrender. Behind these clashes lies a complex web of interests for the control and division of huge mineral resources, to which neighbouring countries and international mining companies are not extraneous. In the East province militia of Ugandan rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army are active. Since 2016, clashes between the military and rebel militia Kamwina Nsapu have been reported in the Kasai Province.
Based on the new constitution approved on 19 December 2005, the President of the Republic is elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term and can stand for re-election only once. Legislative power is divided between National Assembly, made up of 500 members elected by direct suffrage for five-year terms and the Senate with 180 members, elected indirectly for five-year terms). The eastern provinces are granted a high degree of autonomy.
The legal system is based on the Belgian model, with local tribal influences.
|Homicides||13.5||per 100 000 pop.||2015|
|Kinshasa||11 575 000||inhab.||2015|
|Lubumbashi||2 015 000||inhab.||2014|
|Population by age and gender (% - 2018)|
The birthrate is extremely high, as are the rates of mortality and infant mortality. Both average age and life expectancy are very low. There are about 4.5 million refugees in some areas due to the on-going war. The principal ethnic group is the Bantus, which can in turn be divided into subgroups (the Luba, Lunda, Kongo and Mongo) all having different cultures and social structures. Small groups of pygmies still live in the heart of the tropical forests.
|Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)||108.91||index||2016|
|Balance of trade||3 600||M US$||2018|
|Active population||28 770 337||units||2018|
|Active population, Females||48.3||%||2018|
|Expenses||7 816 594||M LCU||2018|
|Revenues||7 935 742||M LCU||2018|
|Currency in circulation||1 689.8||BN LCU||2018|
|International reserves||665.3||M US$||2018|
Agriculture and forests.
The vast majority of the active population is engaged in agriculture. The hot and humid climate combined with the highly fertile soil favours certain industrial crops, particularly coffee, cocoa and tobacco. Of less importance are maize, tea (Kivu) and oil palm. The main foodstuffs, which manage to meet local demand, include cassava, maize, potatoes, bananas, rice and sweet potatoes.
The vast forests supply valuable wood (kambala, limbali, khaya) and rubber.
Livestock and fishing.
Livestock farming is widespread in north-east regions, but output is low and is not enough to satisfy local demand. Fishing is a more important activity and is practiced in the African Great Lakes and the rivers.
|cereals, total||2 988.342||1000 t||2017|
|cassava||31 596.046||1000 t||2017|
|carrots and turnips||0.422||1000 t||2017|
|beans, dry||225.135||1000 t||2017|
|beans, green||4.523||1000 t||2017|
|sesame seed||4.522||1000 t||2017|
|oil palm fruits||1 192.601||1000 t||2017|
|sugar cane||2 225.155||1000 t||2017|
|seed cotton||28.285||1000 t||2017|
|fruits, total||2 497.171||1000 t||2014|
|citrus fruits||186.302||1000 t||2017|
|maize||2 599.641||1000 ha||2017|
|cassava||3 877.938||1000 ha||2017|
|carrots and turnips||0.049||1000 ha||2017|
|beans, dry||411.502||1000 ha||2017|
|beans, green||1.078||1000 ha||2017|
|sesame seed||10.374||1000 ha||2017|
|oil palm fruit||178.998||1000 ha||2017|
|sugar cane||49.526||1000 ha||2017|
|seed cotton||66.318||1000 ha||2017|
|citrus fruits||12.109||1000 ha||2017|
|natural rubber||14 437||t||2017|
|timber||89 181 523||m³||2017|
|cattle||1 005.938||1000 heads||2017|
|cattle and buffaloes||1 005.938||1000 heads||2017|
|goats||4 047.477||1000 heads||2017|
|birds||19 353||1000 heads||2017|
|hides and skins||5.84||1000 t||2013|
|freshwater fishes||233 200||t||2017|
|marine fishes||8 000||t||2017|
The Democratic Republic of the Congo possesses immense reserves of precious minerals.
The main mining districts are found in the south. The headquarters of Gécamines, the state-owned mining company, are in Katanga. There are considerable amounts of copper reserves, often associated with cobalt (mines around Kolwezi, Lubumbashi, Tenke-Fungurume and Sakania, all in Katanga); refining plants are usually part of the mining sites. The mines in Katanga also extract silver, zinc (in Kipushi), tin (in Manono, Kikondja), coal (fields at Kalemie e Sankishia-Luena) and tungsten. The uranium reserves in Shinkolobwe are significant, as are the radium, magnesium, cadmium, niobium, tantalum and germanium reserves. The principle diamond extraction centres are found in Tshikapa and Mbuiji-Mayi (Kasaï) while gold can be found in many provinces, especially in the Orientale province. Along the Atlantic coast, oil is extracted from the continental shelf.
Energy and industry.
Almost all electrical energy produced is hydroelectric. The power stations at Inga Falls, on the River Congo are no longer fully operational. Industrial plants are concentrated in the Kinshasa area and in the Katanga province. Metal industries include copper works (at Shituru), tin (at Manono), zinc and cadmium (at Kolwezi), and cobalt (at Likasi, Luilu and Shituru). Other industrial plants produce chemicals (at Butembo and Panda) and cement (at Kalemie, Likasi, Lubudi, Lukala and Kakontwe). Muanda has a functioning oil refinery plant.
Other industries include textiles (at Kinshasa, Bukavu, Kalemie, Lubumbashi and Kisangani), leather tanning (at Mbandaka), shoe factories (at Kinshasa), beer and sugar plants (at Kinshasa, Kananga, Isiro, Mbuji-Mayi and Kisangani), oil presses (at Lubumbashi) and fish processing (Kalemie).
|coal, total||8.2||1000 t||2016|
|diamonds||3 700||1000 ct||2018|
|diamonds, industrial - ct||15 000||1000 ct||2018|
|- hydro||9 008||M kWh||2016|
|renewable electricity generation||99.854||%||2016|
|- hydro||2 542||1000 kW||2016|
|- thermal||43||1000 kW||2016|
|total net generation||9 046.16||M kWh||2016|
|total installed capacity||2 587||1000 kW||2016|
|cotton fabrics||0.146||M m²||2017|
|beer of barley||600||1000 t||2014|
|cottonseed oil||3||1000 t||2014|
|cigarettes||5 667||M units||2014|
|other paper||3||1000 t||2017|
|manufacturing production||8 550.9||M US$||2018|
The country’s most important trading partners are China, Zambia, South Africa and Belgium.
Illegal mining is widespread.
Main exports (M US$ - 2017) refined copper 2 682, cobalt (metallurgy) 1 891, copper ores 989, chemicals 783, cobalt ores 520, crude oil and petroleum products 410
|Number of arrivals||351 000||units||2016|
The road network is badly in need of repair and mostly unusable. The railway lines and the waterways are more widely used. The main port is Matadi on the estuary of the River Congo, which is also the end of the rail line from Kinshasa, the focal point for inland navigation of the middle and upper Congo and along its tributaries.
Social and welfare
Primary education from 6 to 11 is officially compulsory even though a third of the population has no access. Often the few schools that operate are run by churches.
|Expected years of schooling||9.6||years||2013|
|Teachers, primary level||414 580||units||2015|
|Teachers, secondary level||324 324||units||2015|
|Hospital beds||0.8||per 1000 pop.||2006|
|Physicians||0.1||per 1000 pop.||2004|
|HIV||0.7||% of adults||2017|
|Research and development spending||0.4||% of GDP||2015|
|Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking||4.02||%||2016|
|Access to electricity||19.093||%||2017|