Africa :: Congo, Republic of the
page last updated on August 3, 2010
Flag of Congo, Republic of the
Map of Congo, Republic of the
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
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
Current Weather
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
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: 45.8% (male 950,354/female 937,848)
15-64 years: 51.4% (male 1,055,709/female 1,066,486)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 47,456/female 68,063) (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: 17
Birth rate:
41.01 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
Death rate:
11.75 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
Net migration rate:
-1.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124
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: 19
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: 200
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: 10
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: 8 years (2003)
Education expenditures:
1.9% of GDP (2005)
country comparison to the world: 170
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
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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:
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
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 a government characterized by budget problems and overstaffing. 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. 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. 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.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$16.41 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130
$15.39 billion (2008 est.)
$14.63 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$8.733 billion (2009 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
6.6% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
5.2% (2008 est.)
-1.6% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$4,100 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153
$3,900 (2008 est.)
$3,800 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 4.7%
industry: 63%
services: 32.2% (2006 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%
Investment (gross fixed):
40.1% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
revenues: $4.336 billion
expenditures: $2.893 billion (2009 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
4% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 128
7.3% (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
4.75% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 84
5.25% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 49
15% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money:
$1.811 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 93
$1.4 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money:
$268.4 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 144
$204.3 million (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit:
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:
13% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
Electricity - production:
400 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164
Electricity - consumption:
471 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164
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: 151
Oil - exports:
241,100 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 47
Oil - imports:
2,136 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 176
Oil - proved reserves:
1.6 billion bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
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: 187
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188
Natural gas - proved reserves:
90.61 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56
Current account balance:
-$405 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108
-$463 million (2008 est.)
$8.181 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88
$9.712 billion (2008 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)
$3.253 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 135
$3.476 billion (2008 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:
$3.938 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87
$3.873 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Debt - external:
$5 billion (2000 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101
Exchange rates:
Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per US dollar - 483.21 (2009), 447.81 (2008), 483.6 (2007), 522.59 (2006), 527.47 (2005)
note: since 1 January 1999, the Central African CFA franc (XAF) has been pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 CFA francs per euro; Central African CFA franc (XAF) coins and banknotes are not accepted in countries using West African CFA francs (XOF), and vice versa, even though the two currencies trade at par
Communications ::Congo, Republic of the
Telephones - main lines in use:
22,200 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 191
Telephones - mobile cellular:
1.807 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 127
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 is approaching 50 per 100 persons
international: country code - 242; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2008)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 3 (2001)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (2001)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
18 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 216
Internet users:
155,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 142
Transportation ::Congo, Republic of the
25 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 131
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 (2009)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 19
1,524 to 2,437 m: 8
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 1 (2009)
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) (2008)
country comparison to the world: 62
Merchant marine:
registered in other countries: 1 (Congo, Democratic Republic of the 1) (2008)
country comparison to the world: 162
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: 136
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)

Source: The World Factbook (CIA)