Republic of the Congo
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The Republic of the Congo ( french: République du Congo, mkw, Repubilika ya Kôngo), also known as Congo-Brazzaville, the Congo Republic or simply either Congo or the Congo, is a country located in the western coast of
Central Africa Central Africa is a subregion of the Africa, African continent comprising various countries according to different definitions. Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic ...

Central Africa
. The country is bordered to the west by
Gabon Gabon (; ), officially the Gabonese Republic (french: République gabonaise), is a country on the west coast of Central Africa Central Africa is a subregion of the African continent A continent is one of several large landmass ...

Gabon
, to its northwest by
Cameroon Cameroon (, french: Cameroun), officially the Republic of Cameroon (french: République du Cameroun, links=no), is a country in West Africa, west-central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west and north; Chad to the northeast; the Cen ...

Cameroon
and its northeast by the
Central African Republic The Central African Republic (CAR; sg, Ködörösêse tî Bêafrîka; french: République centrafricaine, RCA; , or , ) is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Chad to Central African Republic–Chad border, the north, Suda ...
, to the southeast by the
DR Congo The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) ( french: République démocratique du Congo (RDC) ), also known as Congo-Kinshasa, DR Congo (french: RD Congo), the DROC, or simply either Congo or the Congo, and historically Zaire, is a country in ...

DR Congo
, to its south by the
Angola , national_anthem = "Angola Avante"() , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Luanda , religion = , religion_year = 2015 , religion_ref = , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , o ...

Angola
n
exclave An enclave is a territory (or a part of one) that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state. Enclaves may also exist within territorial waters. ''Enclave'' is sometimes used improperly to denote a territory that is only partly s ...

exclave
of Cabinda and to its southwest by the
Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
.
French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consistin ...

French
is the official language of the Republic of the Congo. The region was dominated by
Bantu Bantu may refer to: *Bantu languages, constitute the largest sub-branch of the Niger–Congo languages *Bantu peoples, over 400 peoples of Africa speaking a Bantu language *Afro-textured hair#Styling, Bantu knots, a type of African hairstyle *Blac ...
-speaking tribes at least 3,000 years ago, who built trade links leading into the
Congo River The Congo River ( kg, Nzâdi Kôngo, french: Fleuve Congo, pt, Rio Congo), formerly also known as the Zaire River, is the second longest river in Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A ...
basin. Congo was formerly part of the
French colony From the 16th to the 17th centuries, the First French colonial empire stretched from a total area at its peak in 1680 to over , the second largest empire in the world at the time behind only the Spanish Empire. During the 19th and 20th centurie ...
of
Equatorial Africa Equatorial Africa is an ambiguous term that sometimes is used to refer either to the equatorial region The tropics are the region of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. A ...

Equatorial Africa
. The Republic of the Congo was established on 28 November 1958 and gained independence from France in 1960. It was a
Marxist–Leninist state A communist state, also known as a Marxist–Leninist state, is a one-party state A one-party state, single-party state, one-party system, or single-party system is a type of unitary state A unitary state is a State (polity), state gover ...
from 1969 to 1992, under the name
People's Republic of the Congo The People's Republic of the Congo (french: République populaire du Congo) was a Marxist–Leninist one-party socialist state that was established in 1969Decalo, S. 1990. ''Coups and Army Rule in Africa''. New Haven: Yale, 39 in the Republic ...
. The
sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government ...
has had multi-party elections since 1992, although a democratically elected government was ousted in the 1997 Republic of the Congo Civil War, and President
Denis Sassou Nguesso Denis Sassou Nguesso (born 23 November 1943) is a Congolese politician who has been President of the Republic of the Congo The Republic of the Congo ( french: République du Congo, mkw, Repubilika ya Kôngo), also known as Congo-Brazzav ...
, who first came to power in 1979, has now ruled for over 4 decades. The Republic of the Congo is a member of the
African Union The African Union (AU) is a continental union A continental union is a regional organization which facilitates pan-continental integration. Continental unions vary from collaborative intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental organiza ...

African Union
, the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for har ...

United Nations
,
La Francophonie Los Angeles (; es, Los Ángeles; "The Angels"), officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., is the largest city in California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States. With over 39.3milli ...
, the
Economic Community of Central African States The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS; french: Communauté Économique des États de l'Afrique Centrale, CEEAC; es, Comunidad Económica de los Estados de África Central, CEEAC; pt, Comunidade Económica dos Estados da Áfri ...
, and the
Non-Aligned Movement The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a forum of 120 developing world Image:Imf-advanced-un-least-developed-2008.svg, 450px, Example of Older Classifications by the International Monetary Fund, IMF and the United Nations, UN from 2008 A devel ...
. It has become the fourth-largest oil producer in the
Gulf of Guinea pt, Golfo da Guiné , native_name_lang= , image= Gulf of Guinea (English).jpg , caption = Gulf of Guinea map showing the chain of islands formed by the Cameroon line The Cameroon line (, ) is a chain of volcanoes. It includes islands in the Gu ...
, providing the country with a degree of prosperity despite political and economic instability in some areas and unequal distribution of oil revenue nationwide. Congo's economy is heavily dependent on the oil sector, and economic growth has slowed considerably since the post-2015 drop in oil prices. With a population of 5.2 million, 88.5% of the country practices
Christianity Christianity is an , based on the and of . It is the , with about 2.5 billion followers. Its adherents, known as , make up a majority of the population in , and believe that is the , whose coming as the was in the (called the in Christ ...
.


Etymology

The Republic of the Congo is named after the
Congo River The Congo River ( kg, Nzâdi Kôngo, french: Fleuve Congo, pt, Rio Congo), formerly also known as the Zaire River, is the second longest river in Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A ...
, whose name is derived from Kongo, a
Bantu Bantu may refer to: *Bantu languages, constitute the largest sub-branch of the Niger–Congo languages *Bantu peoples, over 400 peoples of Africa speaking a Bantu language *Afro-textured hair#Styling, Bantu knots, a type of African hairstyle *Blac ...
kingdom which occupied its mouth around the time of its discovery by the
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...
in 1483 or 1484. The kingdom's name derived from its people, the
Bakongo The Kongo people ( kg, Bisi Kongo, , singular: ; also , singular: ) are a Bantu Bantu may refer to: *Bantu languages, constitute the largest sub-branch of the Niger–Congo languages *Bantu peoples, over 400 peoples of Africa speaking a Bantu ...
, an endonym said to mean "hunters" ( kg, mukongo, ''nkongo''). During the period when it was colonized by France, it was known as the ''
French Congo The French Congo (french: link=no, Congo français) or Middle Congo (french: link=no, Moyen-Congo) was a French Third Republic, French List of French possessions and colonies, colony which at one time comprised the present-day area of the Republ ...

French Congo
'' or ''Middle Congo''. To distinguish it from the neighboring
Democratic Republic of the Congo The Democratic Republic of the Congo ( french: République démocratique du Congo (RDC) ), also known as Congo-Kinshasa, DR Congo, the DRC, the DROC, or the Congo, and formerly Zaire Zaire (), officially the Republic of Zaire (french: ...

Democratic Republic of the Congo
, it is sometimes referred to as ''Congo (Brazzaville)'' or ''Congo-Brazzaville''.
Brazzaville Brazzaville (, kg, Kintamo, Nkuna, Kintambo, Mavula, Tandala; Teke languages, Teke: ''M'fa'', ''Mfwa'', ''Mfa'', ''Mfua'', ''Mfoa''Roman Adrian Cybriwsky, ''Capital Cities around the World: An Encyclopedia of Geography, History, and Culture'', A ...
derives from the colony's founder,
Pierre Savorgnan de Brazzà
Pierre Savorgnan de Brazzà
, an Italian nobleman whose title referred to the town of Brazzacco, in the
comune The (; plural: ) is a of , roughly equivalent to a or . Importance and function The provides essential public services: of births and deaths, , and maintenance of local roads and public works. It is headed by a ( or ''sindaca'') ass ...
of Moruzzo, whose name derived from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant la ...
''Brattius'' or ''Braccius'', both meaning "arm".


History


Pre-colonial

Bantu-speaking peoples who founded tribes during the
Bantu expansion The Bantu expansion was a major series of migrations of the original Proto-Bantu-speaking group, which spread from an original nucleus around West 250px, A compass rose with west highlighted in black West is one of the four cardinal directi ...
s largely displaced and absorbed the earliest inhabitants of the region, the
Pygmy In anthropology, pygmy peoples are ethnic groups whose average height is unusually short. The term pygmyism is used to describe the phenotype of endemic short stature (as opposed to disproportionate dwarfism occurring in isolated cases in a popu ...
people, about 1500BC. The
Bakongo The Kongo people ( kg, Bisi Kongo, , singular: ; also , singular: ) are a Bantu Bantu may refer to: *Bantu languages, constitute the largest sub-branch of the Niger–Congo languages *Bantu peoples, over 400 peoples of Africa speaking a Bantu ...
, a Bantu ethnic group that also occupied parts of present-day Angola, Gabon, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formed the basis for ethnic affinities and rivalries among those countries. Several Bantu kingdoms—notably those of the Kongo, the Loango, and the Kingdom of Anziku, Teke—built trade links leading into the Congo River basin. The
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...
explorer Diogo Cão reached the mouth of the Congo in 1484. Commercial relationships quickly grew between the inland Bantu kingdoms and European merchants who traded in various commodities, manufactured goods, and also people captured and enslaved in the hinterlands. After centuries as a central hub for transatlantic trade, direct European colonization of the Congo river delta began in the late 19th century, subsequently eroding the power of the Bantu societies in the region.


French colonial era

The area north of the Congo River came under French sovereignty in 1880 as a result of Pierre de Brazza's treaty with King Makoko of the Bateke.Olson, James S. & Shadle, Robert.
Historical Dictionary of European Imperialism
'', p. 225. Greenwood Publishing Group, 1991. . Accessed 9 October 2011.
After the death of Makoko, his widow Queen Ngalifourou upheld the terms of the treaty and became an important ally to the colonizers. This Congo Colony became known first as
French Congo The French Congo (french: link=no, Congo français) or Middle Congo (french: link=no, Moyen-Congo) was a French Third Republic, French List of French possessions and colonies, colony which at one time comprised the present-day area of the Republ ...

French Congo
, then as Middle Congo in 1903. In 1908, France organized French Equatorial Africa (AEF), comprising the Middle Congo, French Gabon, Gabon, French Chad, Chad, and Oubangui-Chari (the modern
Central African Republic The Central African Republic (CAR; sg, Ködörösêse tî Bêafrîka; french: République centrafricaine, RCA; , or , ) is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Chad to Central African Republic–Chad border, the north, Suda ...
). The French designated
Brazzaville Brazzaville (, kg, Kintamo, Nkuna, Kintambo, Mavula, Tandala; Teke languages, Teke: ''M'fa'', ''Mfwa'', ''Mfa'', ''Mfua'', ''Mfoa''Roman Adrian Cybriwsky, ''Capital Cities around the World: An Encyclopedia of Geography, History, and Culture'', A ...
as the federal capital. Economic development during the first 50 years of colonial rule in Congo centered on natural-resource extraction. The methods were often brutal: construction of the Congo-Ocean Railway following World War I has been estimated to have cost at least 14,000 lives. During the Nazi occupation of France during World War II, Brazzaville functioned as the symbolic capital of Free France between 1940 and 1943. The Brazzaville Conference of 1944 heralded a period of major reform in French colonial policy. Congo benefited from the postwar expansion of colonial administrative and infrastructure spending as a result of its central geographic location within AEF and the federal capital at Brazzaville. It also had a local legislature after the adoption of the 1946 constitution that established the French Fourth Republic, Fourth Republic. Following the revision of the Constitution of France, French constitution that established the French Fifth Republic, Fifth Republic in 1958, the AEF dissolved into its constituent parts, each of which became an autonomous colony within the French Community. During these reforms, Middle Congo became known as the Republic of the Congo in 1958 and published its first constitution in 1959. Antagonism between the Mbochis (who favored Jacques Opangault) and the Lari people (Congo), Laris and Kongo people, Kongos (who favored Fulbert Youlou, the first black mayor elected in French Equatorial Africa) resulted in a series of riots in Brazzaville in February 1959, which the French Army subdued. New elections took place in April 1959. By the time the Congo became independent in August 1960, Opangault, the former opponent of Youlou, agreed to serve under him. Youlou became the first President of the Republic of the Congo. Since the political tension was so high in Pointe-Noire, Youlou moved the capital to Brazzaville.


Post-independence era

The Republic of the Congo became fully independent from France on 15 August 1960. Youlou ruled as the country's first president until labor elements and rival political parties instigated a Trois Glorieuses (1963), three-day uprising that ousted him. The Congolese military briefly took over the country and installed a civilian provisional government headed by Alphonse Massamba-Débat. Under the 1963 constitution, Massamba-Débat was elected president for a five-year term. During Alphonse Massamba-Débat#Congo under Massamba-Débat (1963-1968), Massamba-Débat's term in office, the regime adopted "scientific socialism" as the country's constitutional ideology. In 1965, Congo established relations with the Soviet Union, the China, People's Republic of China, North Korea, and North Vietnam. On the night of February 14 to 15, 1965, three prominent public officials of the Republic of the Congo were kidnapped: (prosecutor of the Republic), (President of the Supreme Court), and (director of the Congolese Information Agency). The bodies of two of these men were later found, mutilated, by the
Congo River The Congo River ( kg, Nzâdi Kôngo, french: Fleuve Congo, pt, Rio Congo), formerly also known as the Zaire River, is the second longest river in Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A ...
. Massamba-Débat's regime also invited several hundred Cuban army troops into the country to train his party's militia units. These troops helped his government survive a 1966 Republic of the Congo coup d'état attempt, ''coup d'état'' in 1966 led by paratroopers loyal to future President Marien Ngouabi. Nevertheless, Massamba-Débat was unable to reconcile various institutional, tribal, and ideological factions within the country, and his regime ended abruptly with a bloodless 1968 Republic of the Congo coup d'état, ''coup'' in September 1968. Marien Ngouabi, who had participated in the coup, assumed the presidency on 31 December 1968. One year later, Ngouabi proclaimed the Congo Africa's first "people's republic", the
People's Republic of the Congo The People's Republic of the Congo (french: République populaire du Congo) was a Marxist–Leninist one-party socialist state that was established in 1969Decalo, S. 1990. ''Coups and Army Rule in Africa''. New Haven: Yale, 39 in the Republic ...
, and announced the decision of the National Revolutionary Movement to change its name to the Congolese Party of Labour, Congolese Labour Party (PCT). He survived an 1972 Republic of the Congo coup d'état attempt, attempted ''coup'' in 1972 but was assassinated on 16 March1977. An 11-member Military Committee of the Party (CMP) was then named to head an interim government, with Joachim Yhombi-Opango serving as president. Two years later, Yhombi-Opango was forced from power, and
Denis Sassou Nguesso Denis Sassou Nguesso (born 23 November 1943) is a Congolese politician who has been President of the Republic of the Congo The Republic of the Congo ( french: République du Congo, mkw, Repubilika ya Kôngo), also known as Congo-Brazzav ...
becomes the new president. Sassou Nguesso aligned the country with the Eastern Bloc and signed a twenty-year friendship pact with the Soviet Union. Over the years, Sassou had to rely more on political repression and less on patronage to maintain his dictatorship. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 resulted in the ending of Soviet aid to prop up the regime, and it abdicated power. Pascal Lissouba, who became Congo's first elected president (1992–1997) during the period of multi-party democracy, attempted to implement economic reforms with IMF backing to liberalize the economy. In June 1996, the IMF approved a three-year Special drawing rights, SDR69.5m (US$100m) enhanced structural adjustment facility (ESAF) and was on the verge of announcing a renewed annual agreement when civil war broke out in Congo in mid-1997. Congo's democratic progress was derailed in 1997 when Lissouba and Sassou started to fight for power in the Republic of the Congo Civil War (1997-99), civil war. As presidential elections scheduled for July 1997 approached, tensions between the Lissouba and Sassou camps mounted. On 5 June, President Lissouba's government forces surrounded Sassou's compound in Brazzaville, and Sassou ordered members of his private militia (known as "Cobras") to resist. Thus began a four-month conflict that destroyed or damaged much of Brazzaville and caused tens of thousands of civilian deaths. In early October, the Angolan government began an invasion of Congo to install Sassou in power. In mid-October, the Lissouba government fell. Soon after that, Sassou declared himself president. In the controversial Republic of the Congo presidential election, 2002, elections in 2002, Sassou won with almost 90% of the vote cast. His two main rivals, Lissouba and Bernard Kolelas, were prevented from competing. The only remaining credible rival, André Milongo advised his supporters to boycott the elections and then withdrew from the race. A new constitution, agreed upon by Republic of the Congo constitutional referendum, 2002, referendum in January 2002, granted the president new powers, extended his term to seven years, and introduced a new bicameral assembly. International observers took issue with the organization of the presidential election and the constitutional referendum, both of which were reminiscent in their organization of Congo's era of the one-party state. Following the presidential elections, fighting restarted in the Pool Department, Pool region between government forces and rebels led by Pastor Ntumi; a peace treaty to end the conflict was signed in April 2003. Sassou also won the following Republic of the Congo presidential election, 2009, presidential election in July 2009. According to the Congolese Observatory of Human Rights, a non-governmental organization, the election was marked by "very low" turnout and "fraud and irregularities". In March 2015, Sassou announced that he wanted to run for yet another term in office and a Republic of the Congo constitutional referendum, 2015, constitutional referendum in October resulted in a Constitution of the Republic of the Congo, changed constitution that allowed him to run during the Republic of the Congo presidential election, 2016, 2016 presidential election. He won the election believed by many to be fraudulent. After violent protests in the capital, Sassou attacked the Pool region, where the Ninja (militia), Ninja rebels of the civil war used to be based, in what was believed to be a distraction. This led to a revival of the Ninja rebels who launched attacks against the army in April 2016, leading 80,000 people to flee their homes. A ceasefire deal was signed in December 2017.


Government

The government of the Republic is a semi-presidential system with an elected president who appoints the Council of Ministers, or Cabinet. The council, including the Prime Minister, is selected from the elected representatives in Parliament. The country has had a multi-party system, multi-party political system since the early 1990s; although the system is heavily dominated by President
Denis Sassou Nguesso Denis Sassou Nguesso (born 23 November 1943) is a Congolese politician who has been President of the Republic of the Congo The Republic of the Congo ( french: République du Congo, mkw, Repubilika ya Kôngo), also known as Congo-Brazzav ...
, he has lacked serious competition in the presidential elections held under his rule. Sassou Nguesso is backed by his own Congolese Labour Party (french: Parti Congolais du Travail) as well as a range of smaller parties. Sassou's regime has seen many Political corruption, corruption revelations despite attempts to censor them. One French investigation found over 110 bank accounts and dozens of lavish properties in France. Sassou denounced embezzlement investigations as "racist" and "colonial". Denis Christel Sassou-Nguesso, son of Denis Sassou Nguesso, has been named in association with the Panama Papers. On 27 March 2015, Sassou Nguesso announced that his government would hold a referendum on changing the country's 2002 constitution to allow him to run for a third consecutive term in office. On 25 October, the government held a referendum on allowing Sassou Nguesso to run in the next election. The government claimed that the proposal was approved by 92% of voters, with 72% of eligible voters participating. The opposition, who boycotted the referendum, said that the government's statistics were false and the vote was a fake one. The election raised questions and was accompanied by civil unrest and police shootings of protesters; at least 18 people were killed by security forces during opposition rallies leading up to the referendum held in October.


Administrative divisions

The Republic of the Congo is divided into 12 Departments of the Republic of the Congo, ''départements'' (departments). Departments are divided into communes and districts. These are:


Military

The Armed Forces of the Republic of the Congo (french: Forces armées de la République du Congo), also less formally denoted as the ''Forces armées congolaises'' or its acronym FAC, are the military forces of the Republic of the Congo. They consist of the Congolese Army, the Congolese Air Force, the Congolese Marine (Navy), and the Congolese National Gendarmerie.


Human rights

Many Pygmies belong from birth to
Bantu Bantu may refer to: *Bantu languages, constitute the largest sub-branch of the Niger–Congo languages *Bantu peoples, over 400 peoples of Africa speaking a Bantu language *Afro-textured hair#Styling, Bantu knots, a type of African hairstyle *Blac ...
s in a relationship many refer to as slavery. The Congolese Human Rights Observatory says that the Pygmies are treated as property in the same way as pets. On 30 December 2010, the Parliament of the Republic of the Congo, Congolese parliament adopted a law to promote and protect the rights of indigenous peoples. This law is the first of its kind in Africa, and its adoption is a historic development for indigenous peoples on the continent.


Media

In 2008, the primary media were owned by the government, but privately run forms of media were being created. There are one government-owned television station and around 10 small private television channels.


Geography

The Republic of the Congo has a wide variety of natural landscapes, ranging from the savanna plains in the North Niari flooded forests, to the vast Congo River, to the rugged mountains and forest of Mayombe, 170 km of beaches along the Atlantic coast. Congo is located in the central-western part of sub-Saharan Africa, along the Equator, lying between latitudes 4th parallel north, 4°N and 5th parallel south, 5°S, and longitudes 11th meridian east, 11° and 19th meridian east, 19°E. To the south and east of it is the
Democratic Republic of the Congo The Democratic Republic of the Congo ( french: République démocratique du Congo (RDC) ), also known as Congo-Kinshasa, DR Congo, the DRC, the DROC, or the Congo, and formerly Zaire Zaire (), officially the Republic of Zaire (french: ...

Democratic Republic of the Congo
. It is also bounded by
Gabon Gabon (; ), officially the Gabonese Republic (french: République gabonaise), is a country on the west coast of Central Africa Central Africa is a subregion of the African continent A continent is one of several large landmass ...

Gabon
to the west,
Cameroon Cameroon (, french: Cameroun), officially the Republic of Cameroon (french: République du Cameroun, links=no), is a country in West Africa, west-central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west and north; Chad to the northeast; the Cen ...

Cameroon
and the
Central African Republic The Central African Republic (CAR; sg, Ködörösêse tî Bêafrîka; french: République centrafricaine, RCA; , or , ) is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Chad to Central African Republic–Chad border, the north, Suda ...
to the north, and Cabinda (province), Cabinda (
Angola , national_anthem = "Angola Avante"() , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Luanda , religion = , religion_year = 2015 , religion_ref = , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , o ...

Angola
) to the southwest. It has a short coast on the Atlantic Ocean. The capital,
Brazzaville Brazzaville (, kg, Kintamo, Nkuna, Kintambo, Mavula, Tandala; Teke languages, Teke: ''M'fa'', ''Mfwa'', ''Mfa'', ''Mfua'', ''Mfoa''Roman Adrian Cybriwsky, ''Capital Cities around the World: An Encyclopedia of Geography, History, and Culture'', A ...
, is located on the Congo River, in the south of the country, immediately across from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The southwest of the country is a coastal plain for which the primary drainage is the Kouilou-Niari River; the interior of the country consists of a central plateau between two basins to the south and north. Forests are under increasing exploitation pressure. Congo had a 2018 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 8.89/10, ranking it 12th globally out of 172 countries. Congo lies within four terrestrial ecoregions: Atlantic Equatorial coastal forests, Northwestern Congolian lowland forests, Western Congolian swamp forests, and Western Congolian forest–savanna mosaic. Since the country is located on the Equator, the climate is consistent year-round, with the average day temperature a humid and nights generally between and . The average yearly rainfall ranges from in the Niari Valley in the south to over in central parts of the country. The dry season is from June to August, while in the majority of the country, the wet season has two rainfall maxima: one in March–May and another in September–November. In 2006–07, researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society studied gorillas in heavily forested regions centered on the Ouesso District of the Sangha Region. They suggest a population on the order of 125,000 western lowland gorillas, whose isolation from humans has been largely preserved by inhospitable swamps.


Economy

The economy is a mixture of village agriculture and handicrafts, an industrial sector based mainly on petroleum, support services, and a government characterized by budget problems and overstaffing. Petroleum extraction has supplanted forestry as the mainstay of the economy. In 2008, the oil sector accounted for 65% of the GDP, 85% of government revenue, and 92% of exports. The country also has large untapped Mining in the Republic of the Congo, mineral wealth. In the early 1980s, rapidly rising oil revenues enabled the government to finance large-scale development projects. GDP grew an average of 5% annually, one of the highest rates in Africa. The government has mortgaged a substantial portion of its petroleum earnings, contributing to a shortage of revenues. On 12 January 1994, the devaluation of CFA franc, Franc Zone currencies by 50% resulted in an inflation of 46% in 1994, but inflation has subsided since. Economic reform efforts continued with the support of international organizations, notably the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The reform program came to a halt in June 1997 when civil war erupted. When Sassou Nguesso returned to power at the end of the war in October 1997, he publicly expressed interest in moving forward on economic reforms and privatization and in renewing cooperation with international financial institutions. However, economic progress was badly hurt by slumping oil prices and the resumption of armed conflict in December 1998, which worsened the republic's budget deficit. The current administration presides over an uneasy internal peace and faces difficult economic problems of stimulating recovery and reducing poverty, despite record-high oil prices since 2003. Natural gas and diamonds are also recent major Congolese exports, although Congo was excluded from the Kimberley Process in 2004 amid allegations that most of its diamond exports were, in fact, being smuggled out of the neighboring
Democratic Republic of the Congo The Democratic Republic of the Congo ( french: République démocratique du Congo (RDC) ), also known as Congo-Kinshasa, DR Congo, the DRC, the DROC, or the Congo, and formerly Zaire Zaire (), officially the Republic of Zaire (french: ...

Democratic Republic of the Congo
; it was re-admitted to the group in 2007. The Republic of the Congo also has large untapped base metal, gold, iron, and phosphate deposits. The country is a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA). The Congolese government signed an agreement in 2009 to lease 200,000 hectares of land to South African farmers to reduce its dependence on imports. The GDP of the Republic of the Congo grew by 6% in 2014 and is expected to have grown by 7.5% in 2015. In 2018, the Republic of the Congo joined the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.


Transportation

Transport in the Republic of the Congo includes land, air, and water transportation. The country's Congo–Ocean Railway, rail system was Congo–Ocean Railway#History, built by forced laborers during the 1930s and largely remains in operation. There are also over 1000 km of paved roads, and two major international airports (Maya-Maya Airport and Agostinho-Neto International Airport, Pointe-Noire Airport) which have flights to destinations in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The country also has a large port on the at Pointe-Noire and others along the
Congo River The Congo River ( kg, Nzâdi Kôngo, french: Fleuve Congo, pt, Rio Congo), formerly also known as the Zaire River, is the second longest river in Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A ...
at
Brazzaville Brazzaville (, kg, Kintamo, Nkuna, Kintambo, Mavula, Tandala; Teke languages, Teke: ''M'fa'', ''Mfwa'', ''Mfa'', ''Mfua'', ''Mfoa''Roman Adrian Cybriwsky, ''Capital Cities around the World: An Encyclopedia of Geography, History, and Culture'', A ...
and Impfondo.


Demographics

The Republic of the Congo's sparse population is concentrated in the southwestern portion of the country, leaving the vast areas of tropical jungle in the north virtually uninhabited. Thus, Congo is one of the most urbanized countries in Africa, with 70% of its total population living in a few urban areas, namely in
Brazzaville Brazzaville (, kg, Kintamo, Nkuna, Kintambo, Mavula, Tandala; Teke languages, Teke: ''M'fa'', ''Mfwa'', ''Mfa'', ''Mfua'', ''Mfoa''Roman Adrian Cybriwsky, ''Capital Cities around the World: An Encyclopedia of Geography, History, and Culture'', A ...
, Pointe-Noire, or one of the small cities or villages lining the , railway which connects the two cities. In rural areas, industrial and commercial activity has declined rapidly in recent years, leaving rural economies dependent on the government for support and subsistence. Ethnically and linguistically, the population of the Republic of the Congo is diverse—Ethnologue recognizes 62 spoken languages in the country—but can be grouped into three categories. The Kongo people, Kongo is the largest ethnic group and forms roughly half of the population. The most significant subgroups of the Kongo are Lari (ethnic group), Laari, in Brazzaville and Pool regions, and the Vili people, Vili, around Pointe-Noire and along the Atlantic coast. The second largest group is the Bateke, Teke, who live to the north of Brazzaville, with 16.9% of the population. Mbochi, Boulangui (M’Boshi) live in the northwest and in Brazzaville and form 13.1% of the population. Pygmies make up 2% of Congo's population. Before the 1997 war, about 9,000 Europeans and other non-Africans lived in Congo, most of whom were French people, French; only a fraction of this number remains.Background Note: Republic of the Congo
United States Department of State. Accessed on 21 August 2008.
Around 300 United States, American expatriates reside in the Congo. According to CIA World Factbook, the people of the Republic of the Congo are largely a mix of Catholics (33.1%), Awakening (Finnish religious movement), Awakening Lutherans (22.3%), and other Protestants (19.9%). Followers of Islam make up 1.6%; this is primarily due to an influx of foreign workers into the urban centers. According to a 2011–12 survey, the total fertility rate was 5.1 children born per woman, with 4.5 in urban areas and 6.5 in rural areas.


Health

Public expenditure health was at 8.9% of the GDP in 2004, whereas private expenditure was at 1.3%.. undp.org , the HIV/AIDS prevalence was at 2.8% among 15- to 49-year-olds. Health expenditure was at US$30 per capita in 2004. A large proportion of the population is undernourished, and malnutrition a problem in Congo-Brazzaville. There were 20 physicians per 100,000 persons in the early 2000s (decade). , the maternal mortality rate was 560 deaths/100,000 live births, and the infant mortality rate was 59.34 deaths/1,000 live births. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is rare in the country, being confined to limited geographic areas of the country.


Culture

The numerous ethnic groups, forms of art, and political structures express a rich cultural diversity. Among the best known are Kingdom of Loango#Name, Vili nail fetishes, Bembe people, Beembe statuettes that are full of expression; the masks of the Punu people, Punu and Kwele people, Kwele, Kota people (Gabon), Kota reliquaries, Teke people, Teke fetishes, and cemeteries with monumental tombs are examples of this variety. The Lari people (Congo), Lari people also have unique artifacts. The Republic of the Congo also has considerable colonial architectural heritage, which it is preserving. Restoration of architectural works is underway in Brazzaville, for example, at the Basilica of Sainte-Anne du Congo, which was completed in 2011. Because of problems with the communications network, the country is not ready to build on heritage tourism. It is working to improve the network that supports its hotels and related tourism facilities in Pointe Noire and Brazzaville. Many sites are difficult to reach in overland visits. Some of the South's most populous and developed locations are often the least accessible. For example, the massive Chaillu Mountains are almost impossible to visit.


Arts

The Franco-Congolese rapper Passi has released several hit albums, such as ''Temptations'', with the famous song "I zap and I mate." His work is broadcast internationally. Other notable musicians include , singer of the former group , rappers Calbo (rapper), Calbo of Ärsenik, of , Mystic, RCFA, the group Bisso Na Bisso and . Several writers from the Republic of Congo have become recognized elsewhere in Africa and the French-speaking world, including Alain Mabanckou, Jean-Baptiste Tati Loutard, Jeannette Balou Tchichelle, Henri Lopes, Lassy Mbouity, and Tchicaya U Tam'si. Artists have struggled to build a film industry. After a promising start in the 1970s, the troubled political situation closed cinemas and made film production difficult. Instead of making feature films for distribution to theaters, filmmakers generally directly stream their video productions on the internet. Congolese culture, art, and media have suffered from a lack of investment due to the unstable political conditions and warfare.


Education

Public expenditure of the GDP was less in 2002–05 than in 1991. Public education is theoretically free and mandatory for under-16-year-olds,Refworld , 2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor – Congo, Republic of the
. UNHCR. Retrieved on 25 February 2013.
but, in practice, expenses exist. In 2005 net primary enrollment rate was 44%, a significant drop from 79% in 1991. Education between ages nine and sixteen is compulsory. Pupils who complete six years of primary school and seven years of secondary school obtain a baccalaureate. The country has universities where students can obtain a bachelor's degree in three years and a master's in five. Marien Ngouabi University—which offers courses in medicine, law, and other fields—is the country's only public university. Instruction at all levels is in
French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consistin ...

French
and the educational system as a whole models the French system.


Literature

Congolese writer Alain Mabanckou published a novel called "Memoirs of a Porcupine" in 2006 that takes place in a Congolese village.


See also

*Outline of the Republic of the Congo *Index of Republic of the Congo–related articles


References


Further reading

*Maria Petringa, ''Brazza, A Life for Africa'' (2006)


External links

Government
Presidency of the Republic


General
Country Profile
from BBC News
Republic of the Congo
''The World Factbook''. Central Intelligence Agency.
Republic of the Congo
from ''UCB Libraries GovPubs'' * *
Review of Congo
by the United Nations Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review, 6 May 2009.
Humanitarian news and analysis from IRIN – Congo
Tourism * {{DEFAULTSORT:Congo, Republic Of The Republic of the Congo, Central African countries French-speaking countries and territories Member states of OPEC Member states of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie Member states of the African Union Member states of the United Nations Republics States and territories established in 1960 1960 establishments in Africa Countries in Africa