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Republic of the Congo

Congo, Republic of the (Africa)

Introduction ::Congo, Republic of the


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, but the calm is tenuous and refugees continue to present a humanitarian crisis. The Republic of Congo was once 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.

Geography ::Congo, Republic of the

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Western Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and Gabon

Geographic coordinates:
1 00 S, 15 00 E

Map references:



total: 342,000 sq km country comparison to the world: 63 land: 341,500 sq km

water: 500 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than Montana

Land boundaries:

total: 5,504 km

border countries: Angola 201 km, Cameroon 523 km, Central African Republic 467 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 2,410 km, Gabon 1,903 km


169 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 200 nm


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


coastal plain, southern basin, central plateau, northern basin

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Mount Berongou 903 m

Natural resources:

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

Land use:

arable land: 1.45%

permanent crops: 0.15%

other: 98.4% (2005)

Irrigated land:

20 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:

832 cu km (1987)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 0.03 cu km/yr (59%/29%/12%)

per capita: 8 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:

seasonal flooding

Environment - current issues:

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

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:

about 70% of the population lives in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, or along the railroad between them

People ::Congo, Republic of the


4,125,916 country comparison to the world: 126 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2010 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 45.9% (male 927,599/female 915,540)

15-64 years: 51.2% (male 1,021,975/female 1,034,119)

65 years and over: 2.8% (male 46,687/female 66,889) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 16.9 years

male: 16.7 years

female: 17.2 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.807% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 18

Birth rate:

41.01 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 12

Death rate:

11.75 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 35

Net migration rate:

-1.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 161


urban population: 61% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 2.7% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 77.93 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 17 male: 83.39 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 72.31 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 54.54 years country comparison to the world: 199 male: 53.27 years

female: 55.84 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

5.77 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 11

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

3.5% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 19

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

79,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 51

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

6,400 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 41

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: very high

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne disease: malaria and African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness)

animal contact disease: rabies

water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2009)


noun: Congolese (singular and plural)

adjective: Congolese or Congo

Ethnic groups:

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


Christian 50%, animist 48%, Muslim 2%


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


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 83.8%

male: 89.6%

female: 78.4% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 9 years

male: 10 years

female: 9 years (2003)

Education expenditures:

1.9% of GDP (2005) country comparison to the world: 174

Government ::Congo, Republic of the

Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of the Congo

conventional short form: Congo (Brazzaville)

local long form: Republique du Congo

local short form: none

former: Middle Congo, Congo/Brazzaville, Congo

Government type:



name: Brazzaville

geographic coordinates: 4 15 S, 15 17 E

time difference: UTC+1 (six hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:

10 regions (regions, singular - region) and 1 commune*; Bouenza, Brazzaville*, Cuvette, Cuvette-Ouest, Kouilou, Lekoumou, Likouala, Niari, Plateaux, Pool, Sangha


15 August 1960 (from France)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 15 August (1960)


approved by referendum 20 January 2002

Legal system:

based on French civil law system and customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal

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); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government

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 (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) 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)

election results: Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO reelected president; percent of vote - Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO 78.6%, Joseph Kignoumbi Kia MBOUNGOU 7.5%, Nicephore Fylla de SAINT-EUDES 7%

Legislative branch:

bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (72 seats; members elected by indirect vote to serve five-year terms) and the National Assembly (137 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)

elections: Senate - last held on 5 August 2008 (next to be held in 2013); National Assembly - last held on 24 June and 5 August 2007 (next to be held in 2012)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - RMP 33, FDU 23, UPADS 2, independents 7, other 7; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PCT 46, MCDDI 11, UPADS 11, MAR 5, MSD 5, independents 37, other 22

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court or Cour Supreme

Political parties and leaders:

Action Movement for Renewal or MAR; Congolese Labour Party or PCT;
Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development or MCDDI
[Michel MAMPOUYA]; Movement for Solidarity and Development or MSD;
Pan-African Union for Social Development or UPADS [Martin MBERI];
Rally for Democracy and the Republic or RDR [Raymond Damasge
NGOLLO]; Rally for Democracy and Social Progress or RDPS
[Jean-Pierre Thystere TCHICAYA, president]; Rally of the
Presidential Majority or RMP; Union for Democracy and Republic or
UDR; United Democratic Forces or FDU [Sebastian EBAO]; many less
important parties

Political pressure groups and leaders:

Congolese Trade Union Congress or CSC; General Union of Congolese Pupils and Students or UGEEC; Revolutionary Union of Congolese Women or URFC; Union of Congolese Socialist Youth or UJSC

International organization participation:

ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, UN,

Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Serge MOMBOULI

chancery: 4891 Colorado Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20011

telephone: [1] (202) 726-5500
FAX: [1] (202) 726-1860

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Allan EASTHAM

embassy: Boulevard de la Revolution, BDEAC Building, 4th Floor, Brazzaville; note - a new embassy is expected to open in 2009

mailing address: B.P. 1015, Brazzaville

telephone: [242] 281-1481, 281-3368; note - until the new embassy in Brazzaville becomes operational, some duties will still be handled in the US embassy in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Flag description:

divided diagonally from the lower hoist side by a yellow band; the upper triangle (hoist side) is green and the lower triangle is red; green symbolizes agriculture and forests, yellow the friendship and nobility of the people, red is unexplained but has been associated with the struggle for independence

note: uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia

National anthem:

name: "La Congolaise" (The Congolese)

lyrics/music: Jacques TONDRA and Georges KIBANGHI/Jean ROYER and Joseph SPADILIERE

note: originally adopted 1959, restored 1991

Economy ::Congo, Republic of the

Economy - overview:

The economy is a mixture of subsistence agriculture, 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. In the early 1980s, rapidly rising oil revenues enabled the government to finance large-scale development projects with GDP growth averaging 5% annually, one of the highest rates in Africa. Characterized by budget problems and overstaffing, the government has mortgaged a substantial portion of its oil earnings through oil-backed loans that have contributed to a growing debt burden and chronic revenue shortfalls. Economic reform efforts have been undertaken with the support of international organizations, notably the World Bank and the IMF. However, the reform program came to a halt in June 1997 when civil war erupted. Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO, who returned to power when the war ended in October 1997, publicly expressed interest in moving forward on economic reforms and privatization and in renewing cooperation with international financial institutions. 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 challenges of stimulating recovery and reducing poverty. The drop in oil prices during the global crisis reduced oil revenue by about 30%, but the subsequent recovery of oil prices has boosted the economy's GDP and near-term prospects. In March 2006, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) treatment for Congo, receiving $1.9 billion in debt relief under the program in 2010.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$17.45 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 131 $15.79 billion (2009 est.)

$14.67 billion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$11.88 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

10.5% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 4 7.6% (2009 est.)

5.6% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$4,200 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 157 $3,900 (2009 est.)

$3,800 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 4.4%

industry: 63.7%

services: 32% (2010 est.)

Labor force:

1.514 million (2007) country comparison to the world: 129

Unemployment rate:

Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.1%

highest 10%: 37.1% (2005)

Investment (gross fixed):

41.5% of GDP (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 2

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

5.2% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 147 4.3% (2009 est.)

Central bank discount rate:

4.25% (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 102 4.75% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

NA% (31 December 2009 est.)

NA% (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$2.403 billion (31 December 2010 est) country comparison to the world: 118 $1.887 billion (31 December 2009 est)

Stock of broad money:

$2.746 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 136 $2.178 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

$1.58 billion (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 133 $1.889 billion (31 December 2008)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Agriculture - products:

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


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

Industrial production growth rate:

12% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 8

Electricity - production:

400 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 163

Electricity - consumption:

471 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 163

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

449 million kWh (2007 est.)

Oil - production:

274,400 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 39

Oil - consumption:

10,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 150

Oil - exports:

241,100 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 48

Oil - imports:

2,136 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 175

Oil - proved reserves:

1.6 billion bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 37

Natural gas - production:

180 million cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 75

Natural gas - consumption:

180 million cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 100

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 185

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 187

Natural gas - proved reserves:

90.61 billion cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 55

Current account balance:

-$569 million (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 120 -$1.195 billion (2009 est.)


$9.2 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 90 $7.425 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - commodities:

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

Exports - partners:

US 40.08%, China 30.18%, France 8.17%, Taiwan 6.4%, India 4.2% (2009)


$3.607 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 133 $3.259 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - commodities:

capital equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs

Imports - partners:

France 20.64%, China 14.54%, Italy 9.56%, US 9.02%, India 5.55%,
Belgium 4.51% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$4.123 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 71 $3.806 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - external:

$5 billion (2000 est.) country comparison to the world: 105

Exchange rates:

Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs per US dollar - 507.71 (2010), 472.19 (2009), 447.81 (2008), 483.6 (2007), 522.59 (2006)

Communications ::Congo, Republic of the

Telephones - main lines in use:

24,300 (2009) country comparison to the world: 185

Telephones - mobile cellular:

2.171 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 131

Telephone system:

general assessment: primary network consists of microwave radio relay and coaxial cable with services barely adequate for government use; key exchanges are in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, and Loubomo; intercity lines frequently out of order

domestic: fixed-line infrastructure inadequate providing less than 1 connection per 100 persons; in the absence of an adequate fixed line infrastructure, mobile-cellular subscribership has surged and now exceeds 50 per 100 persons

international: country code - 242; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2009)

Broadcast media:

1 state-owned TV and 3 state-owned radio stations; several privately-owned TV and radio stations; satellite TV service is available; rebroadcasts of several international broadcasters are available (2007)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

42 (2010) country comparison to the world: 213

Internet users:

245,200 (2009) country comparison to the world: 136

Transportation ::Congo, Republic of the


25 (2010) country comparison to the world: 130

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 6

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 19

1,524 to 2,437 m: 8

914 to 1,523 m: 10

under 914 m: 1 (2010)


gas 7 km; oil 211 km (2009)


total: 795 km country comparison to the world: 103 narrow gauge: 795 km 1.067-m gauge (2008)


total: 17,289 km country comparison to the world: 118 paved: 864 km

unpaved: 16,425 km (2004)


1,120 km (commercially navigable on Congo and Oubanqui rivers above Brazzaville; there are many ferries across the river to Kinshasa; the Congo south of Brazzaville-Kinshasa to the coast is not navigable because of rapids, thereby necessitating a rail connection to Pointe Noire; other rivers are used for local traffic only) (2010) country comparison to the world: 62

Merchant marine:

registered in other countries: 1 (Democratic Republic of the Congo 1) (2010) country comparison to the world: 163

Ports and terminals:

Brazzaville, Djeno, Impfondo, Ouesso, Oyo, Pointe-Noire

Military ::Congo, Republic of the

Military branches:

Congolese Armed Forces (Forces Armees Congolaises, FAC): Army (Armee de Terre), Navy, Congolese Air Force (Armee de l'Air Congolaise), Gendarmerie, Special Presidential Security Guard (GSSP) (2009)

Military service age and obligation:

18 years of age for voluntary military service; women allowed to serve (2007)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 898,850

females age 16-49: 886,063 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 557,764

females age 16-49: 546,755 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 48,365

female: 47,874 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

0.9% of GDP (2009) country comparison to the world: 137

Transnational Issues ::Congo, Republic of the

Disputes - international:

the location of the boundary in the broad Congo River with the Democratic Republic of the Congo is indefinite except in the Pool Malebo/Stanley Pool area

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 46,341 (Democratic Republic of Congo); 6,564 (Rwanda)

IDPs: 48,000 (multiple civil wars since 1992; most IDPs are ethnic
Lari) (2007)

Trafficking in persons:

current situation: Republic of the Congo is a source and destination country for children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation; girls are trafficked from rural areas within the country for commercial sexual exploitation, forced street vending, and domestic servitude; children are trafficked from other African countries for domestic servitude, forced market vending, and forced labor in the fishing industry

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Republic of the Congo is on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to show evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons in 2007; struggling to recover from six years of civil conflict that ended in 2003, the Republic of the Congo's capacity to address trafficking is handicapped; the government neither monitors its borders for trafficking activity nor provides specialized anti-trafficking training for law enforcement officials; the government does not encourage victims to assist in trafficking investigations or prosecutions, and has not taken measures to reduce demand for commercial sex acts in the Republic of the Congo (2008)


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