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The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)


The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is Africa’s 3rd largest country and is home to over 68 million people

Since 1998, violent conflict, disease and poverty in the DRC have killed over 5 million men, women, and children—more than any war since World War II. As the conflict continues to simmer, more than 1.3 million people who have been forced from their homes live in crowded camps and with host families across the DRC.

The humanitarian crisis is especially severe in eastern Congo. In some areas of eastern Congo, 2 out of 3 women have been victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence. Tens of thousands of children are recruited to become soldiers, and millions of people are denied the chance to earn a living and provide for their families due to continuing instability and poverty.

The Eastern Congo Initiative was founded by Ben Affleck and other leading philanthropists to bring to light these atrocities, while advocating for action that will allow the people of Congo to forge their own path to stability and peace.

No matter how long the night the day is sure to come—Congolese Proverb

Despite overwhelming odds, there is hope across eastern Congo today. Communities are working together to help those in need, create economic opportunity and advocate for peace. Leaders from around the world are working in partnership with the people of the DRC, and people from around the world are learning about and advocating for a new future for the region.

Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Established as a Belgian colony in 1908, the then-Republic of the Congo gained its independence 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 fighting 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. He 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. A cease-fire was signed in July 1999 by the DRC, Congolese armed rebel groups, Angola, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe but sporadic fighting continued. Laurent KABILA was assassinated in January 2001 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 eastern Congo; two months later, the Pretoria Accord was signed by all remaining warring parties to end the fighting and establish a government of national unity. A transitional government was set up in July 2003. Joseph KABILA as president and four vice presidents represented the former government, former rebel groups, the political opposition, and civil society. The transitional government held a successful constitutional referendum in December 2005 and elections for the presidency, National Assembly, and provincial legislatures in 2006. The National Assembly was installed in September 2006 and KABILA was inaugurated president in December 2006. Provincial assemblies were constituted in early 2007, and elected governors and national senators in January 2007. The next national elections are scheduled for November 2011.

In the wake of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, in which 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed, millions of Rwandan refugees flooded into the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. As a new Tutsi government was established in Rwanda after the genocide, more than two million Hutus sought refuge in eastern Congo. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that only 7% of these refugees were perpetrators of the genocide (often referred to as Interhamwe or FDLR—the Federation for the Liberation of Rwanda).

In 1996, Rwanda and Uganda invaded the eastern DRC (then called Zaire) in an effort to root out the remaining perpetrators of the genocide hiding there. A coalition comprised of the Ugandan and Rwandan armies, along with Congolese opposition leader Laurent Desiree Kabila, eventually defeated dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and the Congolese army, and Laurent Desiré Kabila became president. In 1998, President Laurent Kabila ordered Rwandan and Ugandan forces to leave the eastern DRC, fearing annexation of the mineral-rich territory by the two regional powers. Kabila’s government received military support from Angola and Zimbabwe and other regional partners—the ensuing conflict has often been referred to as Africa’s World War with nine countries fighting each other on Congolese soil.

President Laurent Kabila was assassinated in 2001 and his son Joseph Kabila was appointed president at the age of 29. In 2006, Joseph Kabila won the presidency in the DRC’s first democratic elections in 40 years. It was during this period that the Tutsi-led militia group, the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) representing the interests of Tutsis in Congo and led by Laurent Nkunda, became more active in pursuing the FDLR in eastern Congo.

Despite the signing of a peace agreement between 22 armed groups, including the CNDP, in January of 2008, fighting between the Congolese army, FDLR, CNDP, and other armed militias continued. Rwandan officials arrested Laurent Nkunda in January 2009, and he remains under house arrest in Rwanda today.

The Rwandan and Congolese governments began cooperating in early 2009 in joint military operations focused on rooting out the remaining FDLR genocide perpetrators still in eastern Congo. Although the FDLR have been weakened through this intervention, they continue to perpetuate instability in eastern Congo. In the northeastern region, the Lord’s Resistance Army, an armed militia active in Uganda for the last several years, continues to cause terror and unrest. The peace process in eastern Congo continues to be fragile with multiple armed groups operating throughout the region, terrorizing civilians and blocking the path to long-term peace.

Geography ::Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Central Africa, northeast of Angola

Geographic coordinates:
0 00 N, 25 00 E

Map references:

total: 2,344,858 sq km
country comparison to the world: 12
land: 2,267,048 sq km
water: 77,810 sq km

Area - comparative:
slightly less than one-fourth the size of the US

Land boundaries:
total: 10,730 km
border countries: Angola 2,511 km (of which 225 km is the boundary of Angola's discontiguous Cabinda Province), Burundi 233 km, Central African Republic 1,577 km, Republic of the Congo 2,410 km, Rwanda 217 km, Sudan 628 km, Tanzania 459 km, Uganda 765 km, Zambia 1,930 km

37 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: boundaries with neighbors

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

Elevation extremes:
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 and gem diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, uranium, coal, hydropower, timber

Land use:
arable land: 2.86%
permanent crops: 0.47%
other: 96.67% (2005)

Irrigated land:
110 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:
1,283 cu km (2001)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.36 cu km/yr (53%/17%/31%)
per capita: 6 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:
periodic droughts in south; Congo River floods (seasonal); in the east, in the Great Rift Valley, there are active volcanoes
volcanism: Nyiragongo (elev. 3,470 m, 11,384 ft), which erupted in 2002 and is experiencing ongoing activity, poses a major threat to the city of Goma, home to a quarter of a million people; the volcano produces unusually fast-moving lava, known to travel up to 100 km (60 mi)/hr; Nyiragongo has been deemed a "Decade Volcano" by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; its neighbor, Nyamuragira, which erupted in 2010, is Africa's most active volcano; Visoke is the only other historically active volcano

Environment - current issues:
poaching threatens wildlife populations; water pollution; deforestation; refugees responsible for significant deforestation, soil erosion, and wildlife poaching; mining of minerals (coltan - a mineral used in creating capacitors, diamonds, and gold) causing environmental damage

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification

Geography - note:
straddles equator; has narrow strip of land that controls the lower Congo River and is only outlet to South Atlantic Ocean; dense tropical rain forest in central river basin and eastern highlands

People ::Congo, Democratic Republic of the
country comparison to the world: 19
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 (July 2011 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 44.4% (male 16,031,347/female 15,811,818)
15-64 years: 53% (male 18,919,942/female 19,116,204)
65 years and over: 2.6% (male 767,119/female 1,066,437) (2011 est.)

Median age:
total: 17.4 years
male: 17.2 years
female: 17.6 years (2011 est.)

Population growth rate:
2.614% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24

Birth rate:
37.74 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18

Death rate:
11.06 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36

Net migration rate:
-0.54 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140

urban population: 35% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 4.5% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major cities - population:
KINSHASA (capital) 8.401 million; Lubumbashi 1.543 million; Mbuji-Mayi 1.488 million; Kananga 878,000; Kisangani 812,000 (2009)

Sex ratio:
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: 0.69 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 78.43 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 13
male: 82.2 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 74.55 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 55.33 years
country comparison to the world: 200
male: 53.9 years
female: 56.8 years (2011 est.)

Total fertility rate:
5.24 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 15

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria, plague, and African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness)
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2009)

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

Ethnic groups:
over 200 African ethnic groups of which the majority are Bantu; the four largest tribes - Mongo, Luba, Kongo (all Bantu), and the Mangbetu-Azande (Hamitic) make up about 45% of the population

Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim 10%, other (includes syncretic sects and indigenous beliefs) 10%

French (official), Lingala (a lingua franca trade language), Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili), Kikongo, Tshiluba

definition: age 15 and over can read and write French, Lingala, Kingwana, or Tshiluba
total population: 67.2%
male: 80.9%
female: 54.1% (2001 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 8 years
male: 9 years
female: 7 years (2009)

Education expenditures:

Government ::Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Country name:
conventional long form: Democratic Republic of the Congo
conventional short form: DRC
local long form: Republique Democratique du Congo
local short form: RDC
former: Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Congo/Leopoldville, Congo/Kinshasa, Zaire
abbreviation: DRC

Government type:

name: Kinshasa
geographic coordinates: 4 19 S, 15 18 E
time difference: UTC+1 (six hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:
10 provinces (provinces, singular - province) and 1 city* (ville); Bandundu, Bas-Congo, Equateur, Kasai-Occidental, Kasai-Oriental, Katanga, Kinshasa*, Maniema, Nord-Kivu, Orientale, Sud-Kivu
note: according to the Constitution adopted in December 2005, the current administrative divisions should have been subdivided into 26 new provinces by 2009 but Kabila's administration has delayed that move

30 June 1960 (from Belgium)

National holiday:
Independence Day, 30 June (1960)

18 February 2006

Legal system:
civil law based on Belgian law with Napoleonic Civil Code influence; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Joseph KABILA (since 17 January 2001);
head of government: Prime Minister Adolphe MUZITO (since 10 October 2008)
cabinet: Ministers of State appointed by the president
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
elections: under the new constitution the president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); elections last held on 30 July 2006 and on 29 October 2006 (next to be held on 27 November 2011); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Joseph KABILA elected president; percent of vote (second round) - Joseph KABILA 58%, Jean-Pierre BEMBA Gombo 42%
note: Joseph KABILA succeeded his father, Laurent Desire KABILA, following the latter's assassination in January 2001; negotiations with rebel leaders led to the establishment of a transitional government in July 2003 with free elections held on 30 July 2006 and a run-off on 29 October 2006 confirming Joseph KABILA as president

Legislative branch:
bicameral legislature consists of a Senate (108 seats; members elected by provincial assemblies to serve five-year terms) and a National Assembly (500 seats; 61 members elected by majority vote in single-member constituencies, 439 members elected by open list proportional-representation in multi-member constituencies to serve five-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 19 January 2007 (next to be held on 27 November 2011); National Assembly - last held on 30 July 2006 (next to be held on 27 November 2011)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PPRD 22, MLC 14, FR 7, RCD 7, PDC 6, CDC 3, MSR 3, PALU 2, independents 26, others 18 (political parties that won a single seat); National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PPRD 111, MLC 64, PALU 34, MSR 27, FR 26, RCD 15, independents 63, others 160 (includes 63 political parties that won 10 or fewer seats)

Judicial branch:
Constitutional Court; Appeals Court or Cour de Cassation; Council of State; High Military Court; plus civil and military courts and tribunals

Political parties and leaders:
Christian Democrat Party or PDC [Jose ENDUNDO]; Congolese Rally for Democracy or RCD [Azarias RUBERWA]; Convention of Christian Democrats or CDC; Forces of Renewal or FR [Mbusa NYAMWISI]; Movement for the Liberation of the Congo or MLC [Jean-Pierre BEMBA]; People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy or PPRD [Joseph KABILA]; Social Movement for Renewal or MSR [Pierre LUMBI]; Unified Lumumbist Party or PALU [Antoine GIZENGA]; Union for Democracy and Social Progress or UDPS [Etienne TSHISEKEDI]; Union of Mobutuist Democrats or UDEMO [MOBUTU Nzanga]

Political pressure groups and leaders:
MONUSCO - UN peacekeeping force; FARDC (Forces Arm?es de la R?publique D?mocratique du Congo) - Army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo which commits atrocities on citizens; FDLR (Forces Democratiques de Liberation du Rwanda) - Rwandan militia group made up of some of the perpetrators of Rwanda's Genocide in 1994; CNDP (National Congress for the Defense of the People) - mainly Congolese Tutsis who want refugees returned and more representation in government

International organization participation:

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Faida MITIFU
chancery: Suite 601, 1726 M Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 234-7690 through 7691
FAX: [1] (202) 234-2609

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador James F. ENTWISTLE
embassy: 310 Avenue des Aviateurs, Kinshasa
mailing address: Unit 31550, APO AE 09828
telephone: [243] (81) 225-5872
FAX: [243] (81) 301-0561

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 anthem:
name: "Debout Congolaise" (Arise Congolese)
lyrics/music: Joseph LUTUMBA/Simon-Pierre BOKA di Mpasi Londi
note: adopted 1960; the anthem was replaced during the period in which the country was known as Zaire, but was readopted in 1997

Economy ::Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Economy - overview:
The economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo - a nation endowed with vast potential wealth - is slowly recovering from decades of decline. Systemic corruption since independence in 1960 and conflict that began in May 1997 has dramatically reduced national output and government revenue, increased external debt, and resulted in the deaths of more than 5 million people from violence, famine, and disease. Foreign businesses curtailed operations due to uncertainty about the outcome of the conflict, lack of infrastructure, and the difficult operating environment. Conditions began to improve in late 2002 with the withdrawal of a large portion of the invading foreign troops. The transitional government reopened relations with international financial institutions and international donors, and President KABILA began implementing reforms. Progress has been slow and the International Monetary Fund curtailed their program for the DRC at the end of March 2006 because of fiscal overruns. Much economic activity still occurs in the informal sector, and is not reflected in GDP data. Renewed activity in the mining sector, the source of most export income, boosted Kinshasa's fiscal position and GDP growth from 2006-2008, however, the government's review of mining contracts that began in 2006, combined with a fall in world market prices for the DRC's key mineral exports temporarily weakened output in 2009, leading to a balance of payments crisis. The recovery in mineral prices beginning in mid 2009 boosted mineral exports, and emergency funds from the IMF boosted foreign reserves. An uncertain legal framework, corruption, a lack of transparency in government policy are long-term problems for the mining sector and the economy as a whole. The global recession cut economic growth in 2009 to less than half its 2008 level, but growth returned to 3% in 2010. The DRC signed a Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility with the IMF in 2009 and received $12 billion in multilateral and bilateral debt relief in 2010.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$22.92 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119
$22.25 billion (2009 est.)
$21.64 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$12.6 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
3% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120
2.8% (2009 est.)
6.2% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$300 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 229
$300 (2009 est.)
$300 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 37.4%
industry: 26%
services: 36.6% (2008 est.)

Labor force:
23.53 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Unemployment rate:

Population below poverty line:
71% (2006 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.3%
highest 10%: 34.7% (2006)

revenues: $700 million
expenditures: $2 billion (2006 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
26.2% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 223
46.2% (2009 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
70% (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 2
40% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
65.42% (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
43.15% (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of narrow money:
$613.9 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 152
$597 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of broad money:
$1.562 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
$1.275 billion (31 December 2007 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$NA (31 December 2008)
$928.5 million (31 December 2008)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Agriculture - products:
coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber, tea, quinine, cassava (tapioca), palm oil, bananas, root crops, corn, fruits; wood products

mining (diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt, coltan, zinc, tin, diamonds), mineral processing, consumer products (including textiles, footwear, cigarettes, processed foods and beverages), cement, commercial ship repair

Industrial production growth rate:

Electricity - production:
8.217 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97

Electricity - consumption:
5.997 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106

Electricity - exports:
1.916 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - imports:
6 million kWh (2007 est.)

Oil - production:
16,360 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 77

Oil - consumption:
10,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148

Oil - exports:
20,090 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 89

Oil - imports:
11,350 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136

Oil - proved reserves:
180 million bbl (1 January 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 60

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 183

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 195

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 187

Natural gas - proved reserves:
991.1 million cu m (1 January 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98

Current account balance:
-$1.47 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
-$402 million (2007 est.)

$3.8 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117
$6.6 billion (2008 est.)

Exports - commodities:
diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt, wood products, crude oil, coffee

Exports - partners:
China 46.75%, US 15.35%, Belgium 10.68%, Zambia 5.78%, Finland 4.38% (2009)

$5.2 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111
$6.7 billion (2008 est.)

Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, mining and other machinery, transport equipment, fuels

Imports - partners:
South Africa 18.22%, Belgium 10.2%, China 8.34%, Zambia 7.77%, France 7.28%, Zimbabwe 6.52%, Kenya 5.48%, Netherlands 4.13%, Italy 3.96% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$1.01 billion (March 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
$1 billion (December 2009 est.)

Debt - external:
$4.3 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114
$12.7 billion (2008 est.)

Exchange rates:
Congolese francs (CDF) per US dollar - 930 (2010), 810 (2009), 559 (2008), 516 (2007), 464.69 (2006)

Communications ::Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Telephones - main lines in use:
40,000 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 167

Telephones - mobile cellular:
10.163 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 63

Telephone system:
general assessment: barely adequate wire and microwave radio relay service in and between urban areas; domestic satellite system with 14 earth stations; inadequate fixed line infrastructure
domestic: state-owned operator providing less than 1 fixed-line connection per 1000 persons; given the backdrop of a wholly inadequate fixed-line infrastructure, the use of mobile-cellular services has surged and subscribership in 2009 exceeded 10 million - roughly 15 per 100 persons
international: country code - 243; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2009)

Broadcast media:
state-owned TV broadcast station with near national coverage; more than a dozen privately-owned TV stations with 2 having 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 (2007)

Internet country code:

Internet hosts:
3,006 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 146

Internet users:
290,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 131

Transportation ::Congo, Democratic Republic of the
198 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 31

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 26
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 17
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 172
1,524 to 2,437 m: 20
914 to 1,523 m: 91
under 914 m: 61 (2010)

gas 37 km; oil 39 km; refined products 756 km (2009)

total: 4,007 km
country comparison to the world: 42
narrow gauge: 3,882 km 1.067-m gauge (858 km electrified); 125 km 1.000-m gauge (2008)

total: 153,497 km
country comparison to the world: 34
paved: 2,794 km
unpaved: 150,703 km (2004)

15,000 km (including the Congo, its tributaries, and unconnected lakes) (2009)
country comparison to the world: 8

Merchant marine:
total: 1
country comparison to the world: 158
by type: petroleum tanker 1
foreign-owned: 1 (Republic of the Congo 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals:
Banana, Boma, Bukavu, Bumba, Goma, Kalemie, Kindu, Kinshasa, Kisangani, Matadi, Mbandaka

Military ::Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Military branches:
Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Forces d'Armees de la Republique Democratique du Congo, FARDC): Army, National Navy (La Marine Nationale), Congolese Air Force (Force Aerienne Congolaise, FAC) (2010)

Military service age and obligation:
18-45 years of age for voluntary military service (2009)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 15,980,106 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 10,168,258
females age 16-49: 10,331,693 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 877,684
female: 871,880 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:
2.5% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 59

Transnational Issues ::Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Disputes - international:
heads of the Great Lakes states and UN pledged in 2004 to abate tribal, rebel, and militia fighting in the region, including northeast Congo, where the UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), organized in 1999, maintains over 16,500 uniformed peacekeepers; members of Uganda's Lords Resistance Army forces continue to seek refuge in Congo's Garamba National Park as peace talks with the Uganda government evolve; the location of the boundary in the broad Congo River with the Republic of the Congo is indefinite except in the Pool Malebo/Stanley Pool area; Uganda and DROC dispute Rukwanzi island in Lake Albert and other areas on the Semliki River with hydrocarbon potential; boundary commission continues discussions over Congolese-administered triangle of land on the right bank of the Lunkinda river claimed by Zambia near the DROC village of Pweto

Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 132,295 (Angola); 37,313 (Rwanda); 17,777 (Burundi); 13,904 (Uganda); 6,181 (Sudan); 5,243 (Republic of Congo)
IDPs: 1.4 million (fighting between government forces and rebels since mid-1990s; most IDPs are in eastern provinces) (2007)

Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Democratic Republic of the Congo is a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking for the purposes of forced labor and forced prostitution; the majority of this trafficking is internal, and much of it is perpetrated by armed groups and government forces outside government control within the country's unstable eastern provinces
tier rating: Tier 3 - Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government did not show evidence of progress in prosecuting and punishing labor or sex trafficking offenders, including members of its own armed forces; providing protective services for the vast majority of trafficking victims; or raising public awareness of human trafficking; in addition, the government's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts decreased during the reporting period (2010)

Illicit drugs:
one of Africa's biggest producers of cannabis, but mostly for domestic consumption; traffickers exploit lax shipping controls to transit pseudoephedrine through the capital; while rampant corruption and inadequate supervision leaves the banking system vulnerable to money laundering, the lack of a well-developed financial system limits the country's utility as a money-laundering center (2008)


Founded by Ben Affleck, the Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI) is the first U.S. based advocacy and grant-making initiative wholly focused on working with and for the people of eastern Congo. We envision an eastern Congo vibrant with abundant opportunities for economic and social development, where a robust civil society can flourish. ECI believes that local, community-based approaches are essential to creating a sustainable and successful society in eastern Congo.

Credit: CIA, Eastern Congo Initiative