Democratic Republic of the Congo (GPS: 0 00 N, 25 00 E) located in Central Africa, northeast of Angola. The country’s area measurements are total: 2,344,858 sq km; land: 2,267,048 sq km, water: 77,810 sq km. This sovereign state is slightly less than one-fourth the size of the US. The total irrigated land is 110 sq km (2012).
One of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s essential features is the second-largest country in Africa (after Algeria) and the largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa. Straddles the equator—dense tropical rain forest in the central river basin and eastern highlands. The narrow strip of land that controls the lower Congo River is the DRC’s only outlet to the South Atlantic Ocean.
Because of its speed, cataracts, rapids, and turbulence, the Congo River, most of which flows through the DRC, has never been accurately measured along much of its length. Nonetheless, it is conceded to be the deepest river in the world. Estimates of its most significant depth vary between 220 and 250 meters.
It’s significant, and simultaneously, the principal city, Kinshasa’s GPS coordinates are 4 19 S 15 18 E. Kinshasa’s local time is 6 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC+1.
Established as an official Belgian colony in 1908, the then-Republic of the Congo gained its independence in 1960, but its early years were marred by political and social instability. Col. Joseph MOBUTU seized power and declared himself president in a November 1965 coup. He subsequently changed his name – to MOBUTU Sese Seko – as well as that of the country – to Zaire. MOBUTU retained his position for 32 years through several sham elections, as well as through brutal force. Ethnic strife and civil war touched off by a massive inflow of refugees in 1994 from Rwanda. Burundi’s conflict led in May 1997 to the toppling of the MOBUTU regime by a rebellion backed by Rwanda and Uganda and fronted by Laurent KABILA. KABILA renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), but in August 1998, his regime was rechallenged by a second insurrection backed by Rwanda and Uganda.
Troops from Angola, Chad, Namibia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe intervened to support KABILA’s regime. In January 2001, KABILA was assassinated, and his son, Joseph KABILA, was named head of state. In October 2002, the new president was successful in negotiating the withdrawal of Rwandan forces occupying the eastern DRC; Two months later, the Pretoria Accord was signed by all remaining warring parties to end the fighting and establish a government of national unity. Presidential, National Assembly, and provincial legislatures took place in 2006, with Joseph KABILA elected to office. National elections were held in November 2011, and disputed results allowed Joseph KABILA to be reelected to the presidency. While the DRC constitution barred President KABILA from running for a third term, the DRC Government delayed national elections initially slated for November 2016 to 30 December 2018. This failure to hold elections as scheduled fueled significant civil and political unrest, with sporadic street protests by KABILA’s opponents and exacerbating tensions in the tumultuous eastern DRC regions. Presidential, legislative, and provincial elections were held in late December 2018 and early 2019 across most countries.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo Government canceled presidential elections in Beni and Butembo (citing concerns over an ongoing Ebola outbreak in the region) and Yumbi (which had recently experienced massive violence). Opposition candidate Felix TSHISEKEDI was announced the election winner on 10 January 2019 and inaugurated two weeks later. This was the first transfer of power to an opposition candidate without significant violence or a coup since the DRC’s independence. The DRC, particularly in the East, continues to experience violence perpetrated by over 100 armed groups active in the region, including the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), and assorted Mai Mai militias. The UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) has operated in the region since 1999 and is the most extensive and most expensive UN peacekeeping mission globally.
Democratic Republic of the Congo’s names conventional long form: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, traditional short form: DRC, local long way: Republique Democratique du Congo, local short form: RDC, former: Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Congo/Leopoldville, Congo/Kinshasa, Zaireabbreviation: DRC, etymology: named for the Congo River, most of which lies within the DRC; the river name derives from Kongo, a Bantu kingdom that occupied its mouth at the time of Portuguese discovery in the late 15th century and whose name stems from its people the Bakongo, meaning “hunters.” Named for the Congo River, most of which lies within the DRC; The river name derives from Kongo, a Bantu kingdom that occupied its mouth at the time of Portuguese discovery in the late 15th century and whose name stems from its people the Bakongo, meaning “hunters.”
The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s terrain is typically a vast central basin is a low-lying plateau; mountains in the east. The country’s mean elevation: 726 m, elevation extremes; lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m, highest point: Pic Marguerite on Mont Ngaliema 5,110 m.
The general climate in the country; tropical: hot and humid in an equatorial river basin: more relaxed and drier in southern highlands: colder and wetter in eastern highlands: north of Equator – wet season (April to October), dry season (December to February): south of Equator – wet season (November to March), dry season (April to October).
The total number of border countries is 9, Angola 2,646 km (of which 225 km is the boundary of Angola’s discontiguous Cabinda Province), Burundi 236 km, Central African Republic 1,747 km, Republic of the Congo 1,229 km, Rwanda 221 km, South Sudan 714 km, Tanzania 479 km, Uganda 877 km, Zambia 2,332 km are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s coastline is 37 km. At the same time, its marital claims are territorial sea: 12 nautical miles, exclusive economic zone: since 2011, the DRC has a Common Interest Zone agreement with Angola for the mutual development of off-shore resources. Waterways: 15,000 km (including the Congo, its tributaries, and unconnected lakes) (2011). Land use: agricultural land: 11.4%; arable land 3.1%; permanent crops 0.3%; permanent pasture 8%; forest: 67.9%; other: 20.7% (2011 estimate).
The population in Democratic Republic of the Congo 85,281,024 (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 42.5% of total population (2015), major urban area’s population: KINSHASA (capital) 11.587 million; Lubumbashi 2.015 million; Mbuji-Mayi 20.007 million; Kananga 1.169 million; Kisangani 1.04 million; Bukavu 832,000 (2015), while the Democratic Republic of the Congo has N/A. Their spoken languages are French (official language), Lingala (a lingua franca trade language), Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili), Kikongo, Tshiluba. Main religions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim 10%, other (includes syncretic sects and indigenous beliefs) 10%. The nation uses civil law system primarily based on Belgian law and customary and tribal law. It is a(n) semi-presidential republic, National holiday(s) Independence Day, 30 June (1960).
Economic overview for the country: The economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo – a nation endowed with vast natural resource wealth – performs poorly. Systemic corruption since independence in 1960, combined with countrywide instability and intermittent conflict that began in the early-90s, has reduced national output and government revenue and increased external debt. With the installation of a transitional government in 2003 after peace accords, economic conditions slowly improved as the government reopened relations with international financial institutions and international donors. President KABILA began implementing reforms.
Progress on implementing substantive economic reforms remains slow because of political instability, bureaucratic inefficiency, corruption, and patronage, which also dampen international investment prospects. The mining sector’s renewable activity, the source of most export income, boosted Kinshasa’s fiscal position and GDP growth until 2015. Still, low commodity prices have led to slower growth, volatile inflation, currency depreciation, and a growing fiscal deficit. An uncertain legal framework, corruption, and a lack of government policy transparency are long-term problems for the large mining sector and the economy.
Much economic activity still occurs in the informal sector and is not reflected in GDP data. Poverty remains widespread in DRC, and the country failed to meet any Millennium Development Goals by 2015. DRC also concluded its program with the IMF in 2015. The price of copper, the DRC’s primary export – plummeted in 2015 and remained at record lows during 2016-2017, reducing government revenues, expenditures, and foreign exchange reserves, while inflation reached nearly 50% mid-2017, its highest level since the early 2000s.
Natural resources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo: cobalt, copper, niobium, tantalum, petroleum, industrial and gem diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, uranium, coal, hydropower, timber.
When you visit this country in Africa, consider the natural hazards in Democratic Republic of the Congo: Periodic droughts in south, Congo River floods (seasonal), active volcanoes in the east along the Great Rift Valleyvolcanism: Nyiragongo (elevation 3,470 m), which erupted in 2002 and is experiencing ongoing activity, poses a significant threat to the city of Goma, home to a quarter million people, the volcano produces unusually fast-moving lava, known to travel up to 100 km/hr, Nyiragongo has been deemed a Decade Volcano by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations, its neighbor, Nyamuragira, which erupted in 2010, is Africa’s most active volcano, Visoke is the only other historically active volcano, while infectious diseases are degree of risk: very high food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and trypanosomiasis-gambiense (African sleeping sickness)water contact disease: schistosomiasisanimal contact disease: rabies (2016).
Also, note that the Democratic Republic of the Congo faces the following environmental issues: Poaching threatens wildlife populations, water pollution, Deforestation (forests endangered by fires set to clear the land for agricultural purposes, Forests also used as a source of fuel), Soil erosion, Mining (diamonds, gold, coltan – a mineral used in creating capacitors for electronic devices) causing environmental damage.