Congo, Republic of the

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 10, 2011
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Introduction

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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.
 
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Geography

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Western Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and Gabon
 
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1 00 S, 15 00 E
 
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total: 342,000 sq km
country comparison to the world: 64
land: 341,500 sq km
water: 500 sq km
 
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slightly smaller than Montana
 
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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
 
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169 km
 
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territorial sea: 200 nm
 
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tropical; rainy season (March to June); dry season (June to October); persistent high temperatures and humidity; particularly enervating climate astride the Equator
 
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coastal plain, southern basin, central plateau, northern basin
 
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lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Berongou 903 m
 
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petroleum, timber, potash, lead, zinc, uranium, copper, phosphates, gold, magnesium, natural gas, hydropower
 
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arable land: 1.45%
permanent crops: 0.15%
other: 98.4% (2005)
 
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20 sq km (2008)
 
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832 cu km (1987)
 
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total: 0.03 cu km/yr (59%/29%/12%)
per capita: 8 cu m/yr (2000)
 
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seasonal flooding
 
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air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from the dumping of raw sewage; tap water is not potable; deforestation
 
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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
 
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about 70% of the population lives in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, or along the railroad between them
 
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People and Society

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noun: Congolese (singular and plural)
adjective: Congolese or Congo
 
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Kongo 48%, Sangha 20%, M'Bochi 12%, Teke 17%, Europeans and other 3%
 
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French (official), Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages), many local languages and dialects (of which Kikongo is the most widespread)
 
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Christian 50%, animist 48%, Muslim 2%
 
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4,243,929 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 127
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
 
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0-14 years: 45.6% (male 973,332/female 960,100)
15-64 years: 51.7% (male 1,091,531/female 1,101,057)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 48,383/female 69,526) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 17 years
male: 16.8 years
female: 17.2 years (2011 est.)
 
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2.835% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 14
 
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40.55 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
 
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11.49 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 34
 
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-0.71 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146
 
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urban population: 62% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 3% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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BRAZZAVILLE (capital) 1.292 million (2009)
 
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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 (2011 est.)
 
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580 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 19
 
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total: 76.05 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 18
male: 81.46 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 70.48 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 54.91 years
country comparison to the world: 200
male: 53.62 years
female: 56.25 years (2011 est.)
 
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5.68 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
 
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3% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 179
 
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0.095 physicians/1,000 population (2007)
country comparison to the world: 166
 
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1.6 beds/1,000 population (2005)
country comparison to the world: 119
 
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improved:
urban: 95% of population
rural: 34% of population
total: 71% of population
unimproved:
urban: 5% of population
rural: 66% of population
total: 29% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 31% of population
rural: 29% of population
total: 30% of population
unimproved:
urban: 69% of population
rural: 71% of population
total: 70% of population (2008)
 
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3.4% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18
 
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77,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 46
 
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5,100 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
 
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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)
 
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11.8% (2005)
country comparison to the world: 61
 
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1.9% of GDP (2005)
country comparison to the world: 157
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 83.8%
male: 89.6%
female: 78.4% (2003 est.)
 
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total: 10 years
male: 11 years
female: 10 years (2005)
 
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Government

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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
 
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republic
 
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name: Brazzaville
geographic coordinates: 4 15 S, 15 17 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
 
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10 regions (regions, singular - region) and 1 commune*; Bouenza, Brazzaville*, Cuvette, Cuvette-Ouest, Kouilou, Lekoumou, Likouala, Niari, Plateaux, Pool, Sangha
 
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15 August 1960 (from France)
 
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Independence Day, 15 August (1960)
 
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approved by referendum 20 January 2002
 
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mixed legal system of French civil law and customary law
 
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has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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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%, other 6i.9%
 
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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
 
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Supreme Court or Cour Supreme
 
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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 smaller parties
 
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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
 
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ACP, AfDB, AU, BDEAC, CEMAC, FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Serge MOMBOULI
chancery: 4891 Colorado Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20011
telephone: [1] (202) 726-5500
FAX: [1] (202) 726-1860
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Christopher W. MURRAY
embassy: 70-83 Section D, Maya-Maya Boulevard, Brazzaville;
mailing address: B.P. 1015, Brazzaville
telephone: [242] 612 6000
 
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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
 
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lion; elephant
 
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name: "La Congolaise" (The Congolese)
lyrics/music: Jacques TONDRA and Georges KIBANGHI/Jean ROYER and Joseph SPADILIERE
note: originally adopted 1959, restored 1991
 
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Economy

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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.
 
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$17.11 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
$15.68 billion (2009 est.)
$14.59 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$11.53 billion (2010 est.)
 
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9.1% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
7.5% (2009 est.)
5.6% (2008 est.)
 
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$4,100 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 158
$3,900 (2009 est.)
$3,700 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 4.3%
industry: 73%
services: 22.8% (2010 est.)
 
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1.514 million (2007)
country comparison to the world: 128
 
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NA%
 
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NA%
 
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lowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 37.1% (2005)
 
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36.4% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13
 
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revenues: $3.262 billion
expenditures: $2.376 billion (2010 est.)
 
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28.3% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
 
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7.7% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
 
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5.2% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153
5% (2009 est.)
 
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4.25% (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 81
4.75% (31 December 2008)
 
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14.8% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55
15% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$2.55 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 115
$1.957 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$2.882 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
$2.259 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$1.982 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130
$1.58 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$NA
 
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cassava (tapioca), sugar, rice, corn, peanuts, vegetables, coffee, cocoa; forest products
 
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petroleum extraction, cement, lumber, brewing, sugar, palm oil, soap, flour, cigarettes
 
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12% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 17
 
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452 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163
 
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534 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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436 million kWh (2008 est.)
 
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302,200 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
 
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11,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
 
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211,800 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 53
 
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2,832 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172
 
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1.6 billion bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
 
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530 million cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 69
 
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530 million cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 74
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 170
 
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90.61 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56
 
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$596.2 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 53
-$828.2 million (2009 est.)
 
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$9.621 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 89
$6.404 billion (2009 est.)
 
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petroleum, lumber, plywood, sugar, cocoa, coffee, diamonds
 
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US 31.1%, China 29%, France 6.8%, India 6.1%, Spain 4.4% (2010)
 
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$3.186 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137
$2.457 billion (2009 est.)
 
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capital equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs
 
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France 19.6%, China 11.7%, US 8.5%, Italy 8%, India 7.9% (2010)
 
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$4.465 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 89
$3.806 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$5 billion (2000 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110
 
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Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs per US dollar -
507.71 (2010)
472.19 (2009)
447.81 (2008)
483.6 (2007)
522.59 (2006)
 
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Communications

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9,800 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 203
 
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3.799 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 114
 
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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)
 
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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)
 
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.cg
 
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42 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 213
 
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245,200 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 136
 
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Transportation

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25 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 130
 
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total: 6
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (2010)
 
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total: 19
1,524 to 2,437 m: 8
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 1 (2010)
 
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gas 65 km; oil 273 km (2010)
 
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total: 886 km
country comparison to the world: 94
narrow gauge: 886 km 1.067-m gauge (2010)
 
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total: 17,289 km
country comparison to the world: 117
paved: 864 km
unpaved: 16,425 km (2004)
 
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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
 
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registered in other countries: 1 (Democratic Republic of the Congo 1) (2010)
country comparison to the world: 151
 
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Brazzaville, Djeno, Impfondo, Ouesso, Oyo, Pointe-Noire
 
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Military

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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) (2011)
 
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18 years of age for voluntary military service; women allowed to serve (2011)
 
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males age 16-49: 928,664
females age 16-49: 914,265 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 577,944
females age 16-49: 566,587 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 50,000
female: 49,641 (2010 est.)
 
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0.9% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 142
 
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Transnational Issues

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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
 
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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)
 
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current situation: Republic of the Congo is a source and destination country for children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor or, to a lesser extent, sex trafficking; most child trafficking victims are from Benin, though Togo, Mali, Guinea, Cameroon, Senegal, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are also sources of victims subjected to forced domestic labor, market vending, and fishing, as well as commercial sexual exploitation
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - the 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; the government enacted the Child Protection Code in June 2010, informally referred victims to foster care, and continued implementation of its 2009-10 National Action Plan; a lack of trained law enforcement personnel and adequate, consistent funding for prevention efforts seriously limited the government's ability to address trafficking and assist victims (2011)
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