Democratic Republic Of The Congo
The Kingdom of Kongo ruled the area around the mouth of the Congo River from the 14th to 19th centuries. To the center and east, the Kingdoms of Luba and Lunda ruled from the 16th and 17th centuries to the 19th century. in the 1870s, European exploration of the Congo Basin, sponsored by King Leopold II of Belgium, eventually allowed the ruler to acquire rights to the Congo territory and to make it his private property under the name of the Congo Free State. During the Free State, the king's colonial military forced the local population to produce rubber. From 1885 to 1908, millions of Congolese people died as a result of disease and exploitation. International condemnation finally forced Leopold to cede the land to Belgium, creating the Belgian Congo. The Republic of the Congo gained its independence from Belgium in 1960, but its early years were marred by political and social instability. Col. Joseph MOBUTU seized power and declared himself president in a November 1965 coup. He subsequently changed his name - to MOBUTU Sese Seko - as well as that of the country - to Zaire. MOBUTU retained his position for 32 years through several sham elections, as well as through brutal force. Ethnic strife and civil war, touched off by a massive inflow of refugees in 1994 from conflict in Rwanda and Burundi, led in May 1997 to the toppling of the MOBUTU regime by a rebellion backed by Rwanda and Uganda and fronted by Laurent KABILA. KABILA renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), but in August 1998 his regime was itself challenged by a second insurrection again backed by Rwanda and Uganda. Troops from Angola, Chad, Namibia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe intervened to support KABILA's regime. In January 2001, KABILA was assassinated and his son, Joseph KABILA, was named head of state. In October 2002, the new president was successful in negotiating the withdrawal of Rwandan forces occupying the eastern DRC; two months later, the Pretoria Accord was signed by all remaining warring parties to end the fighting and establish a government of national unity. Presidential, National Assembly, and provincial legislatures took place in 2006, with Joseph KABILA elected to office. National elections were held in November 2011 and disputed results allowed Joseph KABILA to be reelected to the presidency. While the DRC constitution barred President KABILA from running for a third term, the DRC Government delayed national elections originally slated for November 2016, to 30 December 2018. This failure to hold elections as scheduled fueled significant civil and political unrest, with sporadic street protests by KABILA’s opponents and exacerbation of tensions in the tumultuous eastern DRC regions. Presidential, legislative, and provincial elections were held in late December 2018 and early 2019 across most of the country. The DRC Government canceled presidential elections in the cities of Beni and Butembo (citing concerns over an ongoing Ebola outbreak in the region) as well as Yumbi (which had recently experienced heavy violence). Opposition candidate Felix TSHISEKEDI was announced the election winner on 10 January 2019 and inaugurated two weeks later. This was the first transfer of power to an opposition candidate without significant violence or a coup since the DRC's independence. The DRC, particularly in the East, continues to experience violence perpetrated by more than 100 armed groups active in the region, including the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), and assorted Mai Mai militias. The UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) has operated in the region since 1999 and is the largest and most expensive UN peacekeeping mission in the world.



0.0° N, 25. 0° E
Central Africa, northeast of Angola


2,344,858 sq km
2,267,048 sq km
77,810 sq km

land boundaries

10,481 km


37 km


tropical; hot and humid in equatorial river basin; cooler and drier in southern highlands; cooler and wetter in eastern highlands; north of Equator - wet season (April to October), dry season (December to February); south of Equator - wet season (November to March), dry season (April to October)


vast central basin is a low-lying plateau; mountains in east


726 m
lowest point
Atlantic Ocean
0 m
highest point
Pic Marguerite on Mont Ngaliema (Mount Stanley)
5,110 m

natural resources

  • cobalt
  • copper
  • niobium
  • tantalum
  • petroleum
  • industrial
  • gem diamonds
  • gold
  • silver
  • zinc
  • manganese
  • tin
  • uranium
  • coal
  • hydropower
  • timber

land use

arable land
3.1 %
permanent crops
0.3 %
permanent pasture
8 %
67.9 %
20.7 %

population distribution

urban clusters are spread throughout the country, particularly in the northeast along the boarder with Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi; the largest city is the capital, Kinshasha, located in the west along the Congo River; the south is least densely populated



  • 101,780,263
  • 15
    global rank


  • Congolese (singular and plural)
  • Congolese or Congo

ethnic groups

more than African ethnic groups of which the majority are Bantu; the four largest tribes - Mongo
200 %
and the Mangbetu-Azande - make up about of the population
45 %


  • French
  • Lingala
    a lingua franca trade language
  • Kingwana
    a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili
  • Kikongo
  • Tshiluba


Roman Catholic
29.9 %
26.7 %
2.8 %
other Christian
36.5 %
1.3 %
1.2 %
1.3 %
unspecified .2%

birth rate

  • 41
    per 1,000 population
  • 7
    global rank

death rate

  • 8.4
    per 1,000 population
  • 76
    global rank

urban population

45.6 %

major urban areas

  • Kinshasa
    pop. 14,342,000
  • Mbuji-Mayi
    pop. 2,525,000
  • Lubumbashi
    pop. 2,478,000
  • Kananga
    pop. 1,458,000
  • Kisangani
    pop. 1,261,000
  • Bukavu
    pop. 1,078,000

life expectancy

  • 61
    total population
  • 216
    global rank

adult obesity rate

  • 6.7%
    percent of adults
  • 164
    global rank


country name


  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
    long form
  • DRC
    short form


  • Republique Democratique du Congo
    long form
  • RDC
    short form

government type

semi-presidential republic


4.19 S, 15.18 E


national holidays

  • Independence Day
    30 June

legal system

civil law system primarily based on Belgian law, but also customary and tribal law

age of suffrage


flag description

sky blue field divided diagonally from the lower hoist corner to upper fly corner by a red stripe bordered by two narrow yellow stripes; a yellow, five-pointed star appears in the upper hoist corner; blue represents peace and hope, red the blood of the country's martyrs, and yellow the country's wealth and prosperity; the star symbolizes unity and the brilliant future for the country

national colors

  • sky blue
  • red
  • yellow

national anthem

"Debout Congolaise" (Arise Congolese)



The economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo - a nation endowed with vast natural resource wealth - continues to perform poorly. Systemic corruption since independence in 1960, combined with countrywide instability and intermittent conflict that began in the early-90s, has reduced national output and government revenue, and increased external debt. With the installation of a transitional government in 2003 after peace accords, economic conditions slowly began to improve as the government reopened relations with international financial institutions and international donors, and President KABILA began implementing reforms. Progress on implementing substantive economic reforms remains slow because of political instability, bureaucratic inefficiency, corruption, and patronage, which also dampen international investment prospects. Renewed activity in the mining sector, the source of most export income, boosted Kinshasa's fiscal position and GDP growth until 2015, but low commodity prices have led to slower growth, volatile inflation, currency depreciation, and a growing fiscal deficit. An uncertain legal framework, corruption, and a lack of transparency in government policy are long-term problems for the large mining sector and for the economy as a whole. Much economic activity still occurs in the informal sector and is not reflected in GDP data. Poverty remains widespread in DRC, and the country failed to meet any Millennium Development Goals by 2015. DRC also concluded its program with the IMF in 2015. The price of copper – the DRC’s primary export - plummeted in 2015 and remained at record lows during 2016-17, reducing government revenues, expenditures, and foreign exchange reserves, while inflation reached nearly 50% in mid-2017 – its highest level since the early 2000s.


68,599,999,999.99,999 USD

agriculture products

  • coffee
  • sugar
  • palm oil
  • rubber
  • tea
  • cotton
  • cocoa
  • quinine
  • cassava
  • manioc
  • tapioca
  • bananas
  • plantains
  • peanuts
  • root crops
  • corn
  • fruits
  • wood products

poverty level



  • 4,634,000,000
    revenue (USD)
  • 5,009,000,000
    expenditures (USD)



broadcast media

state-owned TV broadcast station with near national coverage; more than a dozen privately owned TV stations - 2 with near national coverage; 2 state-owned radio stations are supplemented by more than 100 private radio stations; transmissions of at least 2 international broadcasters are available


country code


  • 8,231,357
  • 8.62
    % of population
  • 59
    global rank


electricity access



air transport

    national system

  • 8
    registered air carriers
  • 476,352
    annual passenger traffic


  • 198
  • 26


4,007 km
total length


152,373 km
total length


15,000 km
total length



expenditures here

service age