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Republic of the Congo

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Africa : Central Africa : Republic of the Congo
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Quick Facts
CapitalBrazzaville
Governmentrepublic
CurrencyCommunaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note - responsible authority is the Bank of the Central African States
Areatotal: 342,000 sq km
water: 500 sq km
land: 341,500 sq km
Population2,958,448
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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2002 est.)
LanguageFrench (official), Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages), many local languages and dialects (of which Kikongo has the most users)
ReligionChristian 50%, animist 48%, Muslim 2%

This article is an import from the CIA World Factbook 2002. It's a starting point for creating a real Wikitravel country article according to our country article template. Please plunge forward and edit it.

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 installed in 1992. A brief civil war in 1997 restored former Marxist President SASSOU-NGUESSO.


Geography

Cf-map.png
Map of Congo, Republic of the
Location 
Western Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and Gabon
Geographic coordinates 
1 00 S, 15 00 E
Map references 
Africa
Area 
total: 342,000 sq km
water: 500 sq km
land: 341,500 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
Coastline 
169 km
Maritime claims 
territorial sea: 200 NM
Climate 
tropical; rainy season (March to June); dry season (June to October); constantly high temperatures and humidity; particularly enervating climate astride the Equator
Terrain 
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, natural gas, hydropower
Land use 
arable land: 0.5%
permanent crops: 0.13%
other: 99.37% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land 
10 sq km (1998 est.)
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, Desertification, Endangered Species, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note 
about 70% of the population lives in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, or along the railroad between them

People

Population 
2,958,448
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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2002 est.)
Age structure 
0-14 years: 42.4% (male 630,985; female 622,024)
15-64 years: 54.3% (male 783,238; female 823,882)
65 years and over: 3.3% (male 39,369; female 58,950) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate 
2.18% (2002 est.)
Birth rate 
37.91 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate 
16.1 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate 
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio 
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate 
97.91 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth 
total population: 47.71 years
female: 51.24 years (2002 est.)
male: 44.27 years
Total fertility rate 
4.94 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 
6.43% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 
86,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths 
8,600 (1999 est.)
Nationality 
noun: Congolese (singular and plural)
adjective: Congolese or Congo
Ethnic groups 
Kongo 48%, Sangha 20%, M'Bochi 12%, Teke 17%, Europeans and other 3%
note: Europeans estimated at 8,500, mostly French, before the 1997 civil war; may be half that in 1998, following the widespread destruction of foreign businesses in 1997
Religions 
Christian 50%, animist 48%, Muslim 2%
Languages 
French (official), Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages), many local languages and dialects (of which Kikongo has the most users)
Literacy 
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 74.9%
male: 83.1%
female: 67.2% (1995 est.)

Government

Country name 
conventional long form: Republic of the Congo
conventional short form: Congo (Brazzaville)
local short form: none
former: Middle Congo, Congo/Brazzaville, Congo
local long form: Republique du Congo
Government type 
republic
Capital 
Brazzaville
Administrative divisions 
9 regions (regions, singular - region) and 1 commune*; Bouenza, Brazzaville*, Cuvette, Kouilou, Lekoumou, Likouala, Niari, Plateaux, Pool, Sangha
Independence 
15 August 1960 (from France)
National holiday 
Independence Day, 15 August (1960)
Constitution 
constitution approved by referendum in January 2002
Legal system 
based on French civil law system and customary law
Suffrage 
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, 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
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term (eligible for a second seven-year term); election last held 10 March 2002 (next to be held NA 2009)
election results: Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO reelected president; percent of vote - Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO 89.4%, Joseph Kignoumbi Kia MBOUNGOU 2.7%
Legislative branch 
bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (66 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and the National Assembly (137 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 11 July 2002 (next to be held NA July 2007); National Assembly - last held 27 May and 26 June 2002 (next to be held by NA May 2007)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - FDP 56, other 10; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - FDP 83, UDR 6, UPADS 3, other 45
Judicial branch 
Supreme Court or Cour Supreme
Political parties and leaders 
the most important of the many parties are the Democratic and Patriotic Forces or FDP (an alliance of Convention for Alternative Democracy, Congolese Labor Party or PCT, Liberal Republican Party, National Union for Democracy and Progress, Patriotic Union for the National Reconstruction, and Union for the National Renewal) [Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO, president]; Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development or MCDDI [Michel MAMPOUYA]; Pan-African Union for Social Development or UPADS [Martin MBERI]; Rally for Democracy and Social Progress or RDPS [Jean-Pierre Thystere TCHICAYA, president]; Rally for Democracy and the Republic or RDR [Raymond Damasge NGOLLO]; Union for Democracy and Republic or UDR [leader NA]; Union of Democratic Forces or UFD [Sebastian EBAO]
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 
ACCT, ACP, AfDB, BDEAC, CCC, CEEAC, CEMAC, ECA, FAO, FZ, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW (signatory), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US 
chief of mission: Ambassador Serge MOMBOULI
FAX: [1] (202) 726-1860
telephone: [1] (202) 726-5500
chancery: 4891 Colorado Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20011
Diplomatic representation from the US 
chief of mission: Ambassador Robin R. SANDERS
embassy: NA
mailing address: NA
telephone: [243] (88) 43608
note: the embassy is temporarily collocated with the US Embassy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (US Embassy Kinshasa, 310 Avenue des Aviateurs, Kinshasa)
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; uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia

Economy

Economy - overview 
The economy is a mixture of village agriculture and handicrafts, an industrial sector based largely on oil, 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, contributing to a shortage of revenues. The 12 January 1994 devaluation of Franc Zone currencies by 50% resulted in inflation of 61% in 1994, but inflation has subsided since. Economic reform efforts continued with the support of international organizations, notably the World Bank and the IMF. 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. However, 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. Given a fragile peace, agreements with the IMF and the World Bank, and general international support for reconstruction and development, prospects for structural reform and 4% growth in 2002-03 appear strong.
GDP 
purchasing power parity - $2.5 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 
4.2% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita 
purchasing power parity - $900 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector 
agriculture: 10%
industry: 48%
services: 42% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line 
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share 
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 
3% (2001 est.)
Labor force 
NA
Unemployment rate 
NA%
Budget 
revenues: $870 million
expenditures: $970 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997 est.)
Industries 
petroleum extraction, cement, lumber, brewing, sugar, palm oil, soap, flour, cigarettes
Industrial production growth rate 
NA%
Electricity - production 
302 million kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source 
fossil fuel: 1%
hydro: 99%
other: 0% (1999)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption 
406.9 million kWh (1999)
Electricity - exports 
0 kWh (1999)
Electricity - imports 
126 million kWh (1999)
Agriculture - products 
cassava (tapioca), sugar, rice, corn, peanuts, vegetables, coffee, cocoa; forest products
Exports 
$2.6 billion f.o.b. (2001)
Exports - commodities 
petroleum 90%, lumber, plywood, sugar, cocoa, coffee, diamonds
Exports - partners 
US 20.9%, South Korea 15.5%, China 6.7%, Germany 3.2% (2000)
Imports 
$725 million f.o.b. (2001)
Imports - commodities 
petroleum products, capital equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs
Imports - partners 
France 20.5%, US 9.8%, Italy 7.5%, Belgium 3.8% (2000)
Debt - external 
$5 billion (1999 est.)
Economic aid - recipient 
$159.1 million (1995) (1995)
Currency 
Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note - responsible authority is the Bank of the Central African States
Currency code 
XAF
Exchange rates 
Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XAF) per US dollar - 742.79 (January 2002), 733.04 (2001), 711.98 (2000), 615.70 (1999), 589.95 (1998), 583.67 (1997); note - from 1 January 1999, the XAF is pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 XAF per euro
Fiscal year 
calendar year

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use 
22,000 (1998)
Telephones - mobile cellular 
3,300 (1998)
Telephone system 
general assessment: services barely adequate for government use; key exchanges are in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, and Loubomo; intercity lines frequently out-of-order
domestic: primary network consists of microwave radio relay and coaxial cable
international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations 
AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 3 (2001)
Radios 
341,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations 
1 (2002)
Televisions 
33,000 (1997)
Internet country code 
.cg
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 
1 (2000)
Internet users 
500 (2001)

Transportation

Railways 
total: 894 km
narrow gauge: 894 km 1.067-m gauge (2000 est.)
Highways 
total: 12,800 km
paved: 1,242 km
unpaved: 11,558 km (1996)
Waterways 
1,120 km
note: the Congo and Ubangi (Oubangui) rivers provide 1,120 km of commercially navigable water transport; other rivers are used for local traffic only
Pipelines 
crude oil 25 km
Ports and harbors 
Brazzaville, Impfondo, Ouesso, Oyo, Pointe-Noire
Airports 
33 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways 
total: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways 
total: 27
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 11 (2002)

Military

Military branches 
Army, Air Force, Navy, Gendarmerie, National Police
Military manpower - military age 
20 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability 
males age 15-49: 702,048 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service 
males age 15-49: 356,388 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually 
males: 32,350 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure 
$84 million (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 
2.8% (FY01)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international 
most of the Congo River boundary with the Democratic Republic of the Congo is indefinite (no agreement has been reached on the division of the river or its islands, except in the Stanley Pool/Pool Malebo area)

Variants

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