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Congo, Republic of the



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Introduction

Background: 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

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
  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

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%
  permanent crops: 0%
  permanent pastures: 29%
  forests and woodland: 62%
  other: 9% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 10 sq km (1993 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: 2,830,961 (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 2000 est.))

Age structure
  0-14 years: 42% (male 605,546; female 596,971)
  15-64 years: 54% (male 748,217; female 785,278)
  65 years and over: 4% (male 38,170; female 56,779) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.23% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 38.61 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 16.35 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 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 (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 101.55 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
  total population: 47.43 years
  male: 44.49 years
  female: 50.47 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.06 children born/woman (2000 est.)

Nationality
  noun: Congolese (singular and plural)
  adjective: Congolese or Congo

Ethnic groups: Kongo 48%, Sangha 20%, M'Bochi 12%, Teke 17%, Europeans NA%; note - Europeans estimated at 8,500, mostly French, before the 1997 civil war; may be half of 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: none
  local long form: Republique du Congo
  local short form: none
  former: Middle Congo, Congo/Brazzaville, Congo

Data code: CF

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: Congolese National Day, 15 August (1960)

Constitution: new constitution approved by referendum March 1992 but is now being redrafted by President SASSOU-NGUESSO

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 five-year term; election last held 16 August 1992 (next was to be held 27 July 1997 but will be delayed for several years pending the drafting of a new constitution)
  election results: Pascal LISSOUBA elected president in 1992; percent of vote - Pascal LISSOUBA 61.3%, Bernard KOLELAS 38.7%; note - LISSOUBA was deposed in 1997, replaced by Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO

Legislative branch: unicameral National Transitional Council (75 seats, members elected by reconciliation forum of 1,420 delegates on NA January 1998); note - the National Transitional Council replaced the bicameral Parliament
  elections: National Transitional Council - last held NA January 1998 (next to be held NA 2001); note - at that election the National Transitional Council is to be replaced by a bicameral assembly
  election results: National Transitional Council - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Cour Supreme)

Political parties and leaders: the most important of the many parties are the Congolese Labor Party or PCT [Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO, president]; Association for Democracy and Social Progress or RDPS [Jean-Pierre Thystere TCHICAYA, president]; Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development or MCDDI [Michel MAMPOUYA]; Pan-African Union for Social Development or UPADS [Martin MBERI]; 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, ECA, FAO, FZ, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW, UDEAC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US
  chief of mission: (vacant); Charge d'Affaires ad interim 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 David H. KAEUPER
  embassy: NA
  mailing address: NA
  telephone: [242] 81-14-73 (temporary)
  FAX: [242] 88-40524 (temporary) (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. Moreover, the government has mortgaged a substantial portion of its oil earnings, contributing to the government's 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 in 1998, which worsened the Republic of the Congo's budget deficit. A second blow was the resumption of armed conflict in December 1998. Even with high world oil prices, Congo is unlikely to realize growth of more than 5% in 2000-01.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $4.15 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 5% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,530 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector
  agriculture: 10%
  industry: 59%
  services: 31% (1997 est.)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share
  lowest 10%: NA%
  highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4% (1999 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 kilning, lumbering, brewing, sugar milling, palm oil, soap, cigarette making

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - production: 503 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source
  fossil fuel: 0.6%
  hydro: 99.4%
  nuclear: 0%
  other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 588 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 120 million kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: cassava (tapioca), sugar, rice, corn, peanuts, vegetables, coffee, cocoa; forest products

Exports: $1.7 billion (f.o.b., 1999)

Exports - commodities: petroleum 50%, lumber, plywood, sugar, cocoa, coffee, diamonds

Exports - partners: US 23%, Benelux 14%, Germany, Italy, Taiwan, China (1998)

Imports: $770 million (f.o.b., 1999)

Imports - commodities: petroleum products, capital equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs

Imports - partners: France 23%, US 9%, Belgium 8%, UK 7%, Italy (1997 est.)

Debt - external: $5 billion (1997)

Economic aid - recipient: $159.1 million (1995)

Currency: 1 Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (CFAF) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (CFAF) per US$1 - 647.25 (January 2000), 615.70 (1999), 589.95 (1998), 583.67 (1997), 511.55 (1996), 499.15 (1995)

Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use: 21,000 (1995)

Telephones - mobile cellular: NA

Telephone system: 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 1 (1999)

Radios: 341,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 1 (1999)

Televisions: 33,000 (1997)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): NA

Transportation

Railways
  total: 795 km (includes 285 km private track)
  narrow gauge: 795 km 1.067-m gauge (1995 est.)

Highways
  total: 12,800 km
  paved: 1,242 km
  unpaved: 11,558 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: 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: 36 (1999 est.)

Airports - with paved runways
  total: 4
  over 3,047 m: 1
  1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (1999 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways
  total: 32
  1,524 to 2,437 m: 8
  914 to 1,523 m: 14
  under 914 m: 10 (1999 est.)

Military

Military branches: Army, Air Force, Navy, Gendarmerie

Military manpower - military age: 20 years of age

Military manpower - availability
  males age 15-49: 668,163 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service
  males age 15-49: 339,687 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually
  males: 30,775 (2000 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $110 million (FY93)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 3.8% (FY93)

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)

 

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