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Info Africa - THE REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
Congo

The Republic of the Congo is in western Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Cameroon and Gabon. This former French colony obtained its independence in 1960. Following independence, the new government experimented with Marxism and later turned to democracy in 1992. Years later, in 1997, the country faced a civil war and militia conflicts as a result of ethnic and political conflict. As Congo faces the aftermath of a civil war and poverty, it is rebuilding itself, following a peace agreement that was signed with the southern rebels in 2003. Congo is home to rich landscapes of falls, numerous virgin forests and an abundant wildlife. These

forests are home to many indigenous tribes who have maintained their traditional way of life. The capital city, Brazzaville, lies in the west side of the Malebo Pool on the River Congo. Some of Brazzaville’s fascinating sites include Basilique Sainte Anne, the vibrant suburb of Poto Poto, the Temple Mosque, the markets at Oluendze and Moungali, the National Museum and the Municipal Gardens. The population of Congo is mainly concentrated in the southwestern region of the country. In fact, Congo is known as one of the most urbanized countries on the African continent with 70% of its total population living in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire or along the railway that connects these two regions.
CATEGORIES: Demographics - Quick Facts - Economy - Communications - Health Issues
Demographics
Country Flag: Congo's Flag

Divided diagonally from the lower hoist side by a yellow band; the upper triangle (hoist side) is green and the lower triangle is red; uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia

Nationality: Congolese

Capital: Brazzaville

Population: 3,702,314 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 46.4%
  • 15-64 years: 50.7%
  • 65 years and over: 2.9% (2006 est.)  

Population growth rate: 2.6% (2006 est.)

Literacy rate:

  • ages 15 and above can read and write.
  • 83.8% of the population is literate (male: 89.6%, female: 78.4%) (2003 est.)

Major religions: Christian 50%, animist 48%, Muslim 2%

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

Quick Facts
Area:
  • total: 342,000 sq km
  • land: 341,500 sq km
  • water: 500 sq km

Area comparative to Canadian province: slightly smaller than the Yukon Territory

Natural resources: petroleum, timber, potash, lead, zinc, uranium, copper, phosphates, gold, magnesium, natural gas, hydropower

Environmental Issues: air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from the dumping of raw sewage; tap water is not potable; deforestation

Economy


The economy of the Republic of the Congo is a mixture of village agriculture and handicrafts as well as an industrial sector that is largely based on oil, social services and a government that continues to face budget problems. Oil remains as the foundation of the economy. The early 1980s saw rising oil revenues, which enabled the government to engage in large-scale development projects, resulting in an average of 5% GDP growth annually, one of the highest rates in Africa. Unfortunately, there is a growing debt burden and revenue shortfalls in this economy, as a result of the government mortgaging a portion of its oil earnings through oil-backed loans. International organizations such as the World Bank and IMF have been assisting in economic reforms. This ended as a result of the civil war of 1997. Currently, the country faces difficult economic challenges. The Republic of the Congo may be eligible for an IMF-World Bank heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) initiative in early 2006.


Major industries:

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

Agricultural products:

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

Oil production: 267,100 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Railways: 894 km

Road map: 12,800 km (paved: 1,242 km, unpaved: 11,558 km)

Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc

Communications

Telephone lines in use: 13,800 (2004)

Cellular lines in use: 383,700 (2004)

Television Stations: 1 (2002)

Radio Stations: AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 3 (2001)

Internet users: 36,000 (2005)

Health Issues

HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 4.9% (2003 est.)

People living with HIV/AIDS: 90,000 (2003 est.)

More Information

For more informaiton, please visit:
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/cf.html