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Democratic Republic of Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo

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Population: 71,712,867 (est.)

Language(s): French

Capital: Kinshasa

Interesting Facts: 

  • The Congolese franc is the official currency of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Christianity is the most prominant religion in the DRC, with Islam coming second
  • The religious make-up is as follows: Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim 10%, other 10%.
  • The DRC is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world.
  • The DRC is also the most populous officially Francophone country in the world.
  • The economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo – a nation endowed with vast potential wealth – is slowly recovering from decades of decline.
  • Systemic corruption since independence in 1960 and conflict that began in May 1997 has dramatically reduced national output and government revenue, increased external debt, and resulted in the deaths of more than 5 million people from violence, famine, and disease.
  • The climate in the DRC is tropical. Meaning it is largely hot and humid and is cooler and drier in southern highlands and cooler and wetter in eastern highlands. North of the Equator the wet season runs from April to October, and the dry season from December to February, and it is essentially opposite south of Equator.
  • The country was formally known as Zaire.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, commonly referred to as DR Congo, Congo-Kinshasa or the DRC, is a country located in central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world. With a population of over 71 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the nineteenth most populous nation in the world, the fourth most populous nation in Africa, as well as the most populous officially Francophone country.

It borders the Central African Republic and South Sudan to the north; Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi in the east; Zambia and Angola to the south; the Republic of the Congo, the Angolan exclave of Cabinda, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west; and is separated from Tanzania by Lake Tanganyika in the east. The country has access to the ocean through a 40-kilometre (25 mi) stretch of Atlantic coastline at Muanda and the roughly 9 km wide mouth of the Congo River which opens into the Gulf of Guinea. It has the second-highest total Christian population in Africa.

The Second Congo War, beginning in 1998, devastated the country and is sometimes referred to as the “African world war” because it involved nine African nations and some twenty armed groups. Despite the signing of peace accords in 2003, fighting continues in the east of the country. There, the prevalence of rape and other sexual violence is described as the worst in the world. The war is the world’s deadliest conflict since World War II, killing 5.4 million people since 1998. The vast majority died from conditions of malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo was formerly, in chronological order, the Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Congo-Léopoldville, Congo-Kinshasa, and Zaire (Zaïre in French). These former names are sometimes referred toas unofficial names, with the exception of Mobutu’s discredited Zaire, along with various abbreviations such as DR Congo and DRC. Though it is located in the Central African UN subregion, the nation is also economically and regionally affiliated with Southern Africa as a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

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