|Form of government||Presidential Republic|
|Time zone||UTC +1 to +2|
|Telephone area code||00243 (Source: ALLCITYCODES)|
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (R¨¦publique d¨¦mocratique du Congo; Republic of Zaire or Zaïre until 1997) is located in Central Africa and, with an area of 2,345,410 km², is more than six times the size of Germany. The country on the equator is one of the most resource-rich countries on the African continent and is largely occupied by the Congo Basin, which is surrounded by outcrops.
The Congo basin consists of levels arranged in stages that rise from approx. 300 m to approx. 1,000 m above sea level. The river Congo with its numerous tributaries flows through the basin, with a length of approx. 4,370 km the Congo is the second longest river in Africa after the Nile. In the west of the country, the Congo flows into the Atlantic, the coastline of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is only 40 km.
The Asanda threshold delimits the Congo Basin in the north and the Central African threshold in the east. Here, the country on the border with neighboring Uganda has a share in the Ruwenzori Mountains, the highest point on the national territory is the Margherita with 5 109 m. In the southeast, the Lunda threshold with the Kundelungu and Mitumba mountains borders the basin, where the Congo River originates.
In the east of the country there are several large lakes, in which the Democratic Republic of the Congo participates: Lake Alberts (also: Mobuto-Sese-Seko-See), Edwardsee, Kivusee and Tanganyikasea. Other large lakes are in the western area of the Congo Basin (Lake Tumba, Mai-Ndombe-See). The capital Kinshasa is located in the west of the country on the banks of the Congo.
The climate in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is tropical with year-round high temperatures, although the temperature differences are more pronounced in the south of the country: in January, the capital Kinshasa averages 27 °C (July: 20 °C), in Lubumbashi in the southeast of the country Landes mean January values are 24 °C, in July about 17.5 °C. In the Congo Basin, which occupies the northwest of the country, the air humidity is usually over 90%, with an average of 2,000 to 2,400 mm of precipitation. The amount of precipitation decreases significantly in the southern parts of the country (Lubumbashi, average 1 230 mm).As in the north, there is a rainy season (April to November in the north and October to May in the south), while in the central part of the country, rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year.
Flora and fauna
The largest remaining rainforest areas on the African continent are in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, almost half of the entire country is covered by this evergreen forest with its countless plant species. At higher altitudes, the lowland rain forest changes into mountain rain or cloud forest. Woody plants with long, thin-barked trunks and dark green, firm foliage (such as the rubber tree) are characteristic. There are also hardwood trees such as teak and mahogany, ebony, oil palm, strangling plants such as the strangler fig and so-called epiphytes that grow on the stems and branches of other plants (such as orchids). To the north and south, the rainforest goes from damp forest and wet savannah to dry forest (Miombowald in the south of the country) and dry savannah.
The extensive forest areas offer ideal living conditions for a variety of animal species. Chimpanzees and mountain gorillas (Ruwenzori Mountains), okapis and forest buffalo live in the rainforests. Big cats (lions, leopards), rhinos, elephants, zebras, jackals, hyenas and numerous species of antelope live partly in the forests and partly in the savannah regions. Both the bird and insect worlds are extremely diverse. Some of the numerous protected areas and national parks on the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Around 58.3 million people live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the majority of them in poverty. Around a third of the total population lives in cities; With around 7.8 million residents, Kinshasa is the largest city in the country, followed by Lubumbashi with 1.36 million people. Around 250 different ethnic groups live in the country, the largest proportion being Bantu peoples with about 80%. These include, for example, the Luba, Congo, Hutu and Rwanda. About 15% of the total population belong to the Sudan people (eg Ubangi), about 2% are Nilotes. Minorities form the approximately 20,000 to 50,000 pygmies and Europeans; in addition there are several hundred thousand refugees from neighboring countries. Check ALLCITYPOPULATION to see other large cities in Democratic Republic of the Congo by population.
According to COUNTRYAAH, 94.5% of the population belong to Christianity (49% of them Catholics), about 3.4% are animists. Followers of Islam are only a minority. The official language is French, and the languages and dialects of the larger ethnic groups are also spoken (eg Tshiluba, Kikongo, Lingala, Kisuaheli).
The average life expectancy of the Congolese is 49 years. population growth at 3%; almost half of the population is younger than 15 years. This is due to the high number of war victims, the numerous illnesses due to completely inadequate medical care, the killing by landmines and the high HIV / AIDS infection rate of 4.2%. Literacy is estimated at around 65.5%.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is – according to the 2006 constitution – a presidential republic. The head of state is the president (since January 2001 Joseph Kabila). He is elected directly every five years (one-time re-election possible). The Prime Minister (since May 2012 Augustin Matata Ponyo) is proposed by the majority group in Parliament and appointed by the President.
The Parliament consists of the National Assembly (Assembl¨¦e Nationale) with 500 members elected for five years and the Senate (S¨¦nat). The 108 senators are also elected indirectly every five years.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is divided into eleven provinces. The administration is strictly centralized.
Despite the abundance of raw materials and strong growth rates in recent years, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the poorest countries in the world, with large sections of the population living below the poverty line.
Around 65% of the workforce is employed in agriculture, 46% of the gross domestic product is generated here. Coffee, sugar cane, rubber, tea, fruit, oil palms and cassava are mainly produced for personal use. Inland fishing also plays an important role in self-sufficiency. The large forest stands are used for the export of tropical wood, thereby and through palm oil plantations the tropical rain forest is destroyed.
Industry contributes about a fifth of GDP. The main locations are in the province of Shaba and in the greater Kinshasa and Kisangani areas. The raw materials industry is a growing branch: The mining sector (copper, cobalt, gold diamonds, coltan, kasserite, rare earths) makes a decisive contribution to economic growth. In addition to coffee and palm oil, these breakdown products are also the most important export goods that are bought by China, Belgium and the USA. Imports, mainly food, mining technology and fuels mostly come from South Africa, Belgium and France. Other important branches of industry are the processing of metal and food and the wood and textile industry.
International airports are located at Kinshasa, Kisangani, Lubumbashi, Goma and Bukavu.
Currency is the Congo Franc (FC).