The Democratic Republic of the Congo , is located in Central Africa. The DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo ) borders the Central African Republic, and South Sudan to the north; Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania to the east; Zambia and Angola to the south; the Republic of the Congo to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest. It is the second-largest country in Africa by area and eleventh largest in the world. With a population of over 80 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most populated officially Francophone country, the fourth most-populated nation in Africa and the eighteenth most populated country in the world.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is extremely rich in natural resources, but is politically unstable, has a lack of infrastructure, deep rooted corruption, and centuries of both commercial and colonial extraction and exploitation with little holistic development. As of 2015, according to the Human Development Index (HDI), DR Congo has a low level of human development, ranking 176 out of 187 countries.
|Virunga National Park|
As a result of its equatorial location, the DRC experiences high precipitation and has the highest frequency of thunderstorms in the world. The annual rainfall can total upwards of 2,000 millimetres (80 in) in some places, and the area sustains the Congo Rainforest, the second-largest rain forest in the world after the Amazon. This massive expanse of lush jungle covers most of the vast, low-lying central basin of the river, which slopes toward the Atlantic Ocean in the west. This area is surrounded by plateaus merging into savannas in the south and southwest, by mountainous terraces in the west, and dense grasslands extending beyond the Congo River in the north. High, glaciated mountains (Ruwenzori Mountains) are found in the extreme eastern region. The name for the Congo state is derived in part from the river. The river basin occupies nearly the entire country and an area of nearly 1,000,000 km2 (390,000 sq mi). The river and its tributaries form the backbone of Congolese economics and transportation. Major tributaries include the Kasai, Sangha, Ubangi, Ruzizi, Aruwimi, and Lulonga.
The sources of the Congo are in the Albertine Rift Mountains that flank the western branch of the East African Rift, as well as Lake Tanganyika and Lake Mweru. The river flows generally west from Kisangani just below Boyoma Falls, then gradually bends southwest, passing by Mbandaka, joining with the Ubangi River, and running into the Pool Malebo (Stanley Pool). Kinshasa and Brazzaville are on opposite sides of the river at the Pool. Then the river narrows and falls through a number of cataracts in deep canyons, collectively known as the Livingstone Falls, and runs past Boma into the Atlantic Ocean. The river also has the second-largest flow and the second-largest watershed of any river in the world (trailing the Amazon in both respects). The river and a 37 kilometers wide strip of coastline on its north bank provide the country's only outlet to the Atlantic.
The Albertine Rift plays a key role in shaping the Congo's geography. Not only is the northeastern section of the country much more mountainous, but due to the rift's tectonic activity, this area also experiences volcanic activity, occasionally with loss of life. The geologic activity in this area also created the famous African Great Lakes, three of which lie on the Congo's eastern frontier: Lake Albert, Lake Edward, and Lake Tanganyika. Lake Edward and Lake Albert are connected by the Semliki River.
The Rift valley has exposed an enormous amount of mineral wealth throughout the south and east of the Congo, making it accessible to mining. Cobalt, copper, cadmium, industrial and gem-quality diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, germanium, uranium, radium, bauxite, iron ore, and coal are all found in plentiful supply, especially in the Congo's southeastern Katanga region.
On 2002 Mount Nyiragongo erupted in Congo, with the lava running out wide. One of the three streams of extremely fluid lava flowed through the nearby city of Goma, killing 45 and leaving 120,000 homeless. Four hundred thousand people were evacuated from the city during the eruption. The lava poisoned the water of Lake Kivu, killing fish. Only two planes left the local airport because of the possibility of the explosion of stored petrol. The lava passed the airport but ruined the runway, trapping several airplanes. Six months after the 2002 eruption, nearby Mount Nyamulagira also erupted. Mount Nyamulagira also erupted in 2006 and again in January 2010.World Heritage Sites located in Democratic Republic of Congo are: Virunga National Park, Garamba National Park, Kahuzi-Biega National Park, Salonga National Park and Okapi Wildlife Reserve.
|Garamba National Park|
The rainforests of the Congo contain great biodiversity, including many rare and endemic species, such as the common chimpanzee and the bonobo, the African forest elephant, the mountain gorilla, the okapi and the white rhino. Five of the country's national parks are listed as World Heritage Sites: the Garumba, Kahuzi-Biega, Salonga and Virunga National Parks, and the Okapi Wildlife Reserve. The Congo is the most biodiverse African country.
The civil war and resulting poor economic conditions have endangered much of this biodiversity. Many park wardens were either killed or could not afford to continue their work. All five sites listed by UNESCO as World Heritage were in Danger.
Conservationists have particularly worried about primates. The Congo is inhabited by several great ape species — the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), the bonobo (Pan paniscus), the eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei), and possibly the western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla). It is the only country in the world in which bonobos are found in the wild. Much concern has been raised about great ape extinction. Because of hunting and habitat destruction, the chimpanzee, the bonobo and the gorilla, each of whose populations once numbered in the millions, have now dwindled down to only about 200,000 gorillas, 100,000 chimpanzees and possibly only about 10,000 bonobos. Gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos are all classified as endangered by the World Conservation Union, as well as the okapi, which is also native to the area.
Over the past century or so, the DRC has become the center of what has been called the Central African "bushmeat" problem, regarded by many as a major environmental and socio-economic crisis. "Bushmeat" is another word for the meat of wild animals, typically obtained through trapping, usually with wire snares, or else with shotguns, poisoned arrows or arms originally intended for use in the DRC's numerous military conflicts.
The bushmeat crisis emerged mainly as a result of the poor living conditions of the Congolese people and a lack of education about the dangers of eating it. A rising population combined with deplorable economic conditions made many Congolese dependent on bushmeat, either as an income source (selling the meat), or for food. Unemployment and urbanization throughout Central Africa have exacerbated the problem further by turning cities like the urban sprawl of Kinshasa into prime markets for commercial bushmeat.
This combination has caused widespread endangerment of local fauna, and has forced humans to trudge deeper into the wilderness in search of the desired animal meat. This overhunting results in the deaths of more animals and makes resources even more scarce for humans. The hunting has also been facilitated by the extensive logging prevalent throughout the Congo's rainforests from both corporate logging, and farmers clearing forest land for agriculture. Logging allows hunters much easier access to previously-unreachable jungle terrain, while simultaneously eroding away the habitats of animals.
Mobutu Sese Seko ruled the DRC, which he renamed Zaire, from 1965 to 1997. A relative explained how the government illicitly collected revenue: "Mobutu would ask one of us to go to the bank and take out a million. We'd go to an intermediary and tell him to get five million. He would go to the bank with Mobutu's authority, and take out ten. Mobutu got one, and we took the other nine." Mobutu institutionalized corruption to prevent political rivals from challenging his control, leading to an economic collapse in 1996.
Mobutu allegedly stole as much as US$4–5 billion while in office; in July 2009, a Swiss court determined that the statute of limitations had run out on an international asset recovery case of about $6.7 million of deposits of Mobutu's in a Swiss bank, and therefore the assets should be returned to Mobutu's family.
President Joseph Kabila established the Commission of Repression of Economic Crimes upon his ascension to power in 2001
Child soldiers have been used on a large scale in DRC, and in 2011 it was estimated that 30,000 children were still operating with armed groups.
Instances of child labor and forced labor have been observed and reported in the U.S. Department of Labor's Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor in the DRC in 2013
Violence against women seems to be perceived by large sectors of society to be normal. The 2013–2014 DHS survey found that 74.8% of women agreed that a husband is justified in beating his wife in certain circumstances.
The eastern part of the country in particular has been described as the "rape capital of the world" and the prevalence of sexual violence there described as the worst in the world.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is also practiced in DRC, although not on a large scale. The prevalence of FGM is estimated at about 5% of women.FGM is illegal: the law imposes a penalty of two to five years of prison and a fine of 200,000 Congolese francs on any person who violates the "physical or functional integrity" of the genital organs.
Locals believe that "Armed groups attack local communities, loot, rape, kidnap women and children, and make them work as sexual slaves". In December 2008, GuardianFilms of The Guardian released a film documenting the testimony of over 400 women and girls who had been abused by marauding militia.
|Social life of Congo people|
The Central Bank of the Congo is responsible for developing and maintaining the Congolese franc, which serves as the primary form of currency in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Democratic Republic of Congo is widely considered to be one of the world's richest countries in natural resources; its untapped deposits of raw minerals are estimated to be worth in excess of US$24 trillion. The Congo has 70% of the world's coltan, a third of its cobalt, more than 30% of its diamond reserves, and a tenth of its copper.
The country's woes mean that despite its potential its citizens are among the poorest people on earth. DR Congo consistently has the lowest, or nearly the lowest, nominal GDP per capita in the world. The DRC is also one of the twenty lowest-ranked countries on the Corruption Perception Index.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the world's largest producer of cobalt ore,and a major producer of copper and diamonds. The latter come from Kasai province in the west. By far the largest mines in the DRC are located in southern Katanga province (formerly Shaba), and are highly mechanized, with a capacity of several millions of tons per year of copper and cobalt ore, and refining capability for metal ore. The DRC is the second-largest diamond-producing nation in the world, and artisanal and small-scale miners account for most of its production.
|Child Labor in Congo|
At independence in 1960, DRC was the second-most industrialized country in Africa after South Africa; it boasted a thriving mining sector and a relatively productive agriculture sector. The First and Second Congo Wars began in 1996. These conflicts have dramatically reduced national output and government revenue, increased external debt, and resulted in deaths of more than five million people from war and associated famine and disease. Malnutrition affects approximately two thirds of the country's population.
Foreign businesses have curtailed operations due to uncertainty about the outcome of the conflict, lack of infrastructure, and the difficult operating environment. The war intensified the impact of such basic problems as an uncertain legal framework, corruption, inflation, and lack of openness in government economic policy and financial operations.
Conditions improved in late 2002, when a large portion of the invading foreign troops withdrew. A number of International Monetary Fund and World Bank missions met with the government to help it develop a coherent economic plan, and President Joseph Kabila began implementing reforms. Much economic activity still lies outside the GDP data. A United Nations Human Development Index report shows that the human development index of DRC is one of the worst it's had in decades. Through 2011 the DRC had the lowest Human Development Index of the 187 ranked countries.
The people living in the south and southwest were mostly San Bushmen and hunter-gatherer groups, whose technology involved only minimal use of metal technologies. The development of metal tools during this time period revolutionized agriculture and animal husbandry. This led to the displacement of the hunter-gatherer groups in the east and southeast.
Belgian exploration and administration took place from the 1870s until the 1920s. Leopold formally acquired rights to the Congo territory at the Conference of Berlin in 1885 and made the land his private property. He named it the Congo Free State. Leopold's rėgime began various infrastructure projects, such as construction of the railway that ran from the coast to the capital of Leopoldville (now Kinshasa), which took eight years to complete.
A constitutional referendum after Mobutu's coup of 1965 resulted in the country's official name being changed to the "Democratic Republic of the Congo." In 1971 Mobutu changed the name again, this time to "Republic of Zaire".
The economy of DRC, the second largest country in Africa, relies heavily on mining. However, the smaller-scale economic activity from artisanal mining occurs in the informal sector and is not reflected in GDP data. A third of the DRC's diamonds are believed to be smuggled out of the country, making it difficult to quantify diamond production levels.
In 2007 a World Bank report reviewed DR Congo's three biggest mining contracts, finding that the 2005 deals, including one with Global Enterprises Company, were approved with "a complete lack of transparency". In January 2008 Katanga Mining acquired Nikanor for $452 million.
Initiative suspended the country's candidacy for membership due to insufficient reporting, monitoring and independent audits, but in July 2013 the country improved its accounting and transparency practices to the point where the EITI gave the country full membership.
Ground transport in the Democratic Republic of Congo has always been difficult. The terrain and climate of the Congo Basin present serious barriers to road and rail construction, and the distances are enormous across this vast country. Chronic economic mismanagement and internal conflicts have led to long-term under-investment.
Rail transportation is provided by the Congo Railroad Company and the Office National des Transports (Congo) (ONATRA) and the Office of the Uele Railways (Office des Chemins de fer des Ueles, CFU).
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has fewer all-weather paved highways than any country of its population and size in Africa — a total of 2,250 km (1,400 mi), of which only 1,226 km (762 mi) is in good condition. To put this in perspective, the road distance across the country in any direction is more than 2,500 km (1,600 mi)
The Democratic Republic of Congo has thousands of kilometres of navigable waterways. Traditionally water transport has been the dominant means of moving around in approximately two-thirds of the country.
As of June 2016, DR Congo had one major national airline (Congo Airways) that offered flights inside DR Congo. Congo Airways was based at Kinshasa's international airport. All air carriers certified by the DRC have been banned from European Union airports by the European Commission, due to inadequate safety standards.
Several international airlines service Kinshasa's international airport and a few also offer international flights to Lubumbashi International Airport.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there are both coal and crude oil resources that were mainly used domestically in 2008. The Democratic Republic of Congo has infrastructure for hydro-electricity from the Congo River at the Inga dams. The Democratic Republic of Congo also possesses 50% of Africa's forests and a river system that could provide hydro-electric power to the entire continent, according to a UN report on the country's strategic significance and its potential role as an economic power in central Africa.
In 2014 the literacy rate for the population between the ages of 15 and 49 was estimated to be 75.9% (88.1% male and 63.8% female) according to a DHS nationwide survey. Primary education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is not free or compulsory, even though the Congolese constitution says it should be .As a result of the 6-year civil war in the late 1990s-early 2000s, over 5.2 million children in the country did not receive any education. Since the end of the civil war, the situation has improved tremendously, with the number of children enrolled in primary schools rising from 5.5 million in 2002 to 12 million in 2012, and the number of children enrolled in secondary schools rising from 2.8 million in 2007 to 3.9 million in 2012.
The hospitals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo include the General Hospital of Kinshasa. DRC has the world's second-highest rate of infant mortality (after Chad). In April 2011, through aid from Global Alliance for Vaccines, a new vaccine to prevent pneumococcal disease was introduced around Kinshasa.
In 2012, it was estimated that about 1.1% of adults aged 15–49 were living with HIV/AIDS. Malaria is also a problem. Yellow fever also affects DRC.
Maternal health is poor in DRC. DRC has the 17th highest maternal mortality rate in the world. According to UNICEF, 43.5% of children under five are stunted.
Over 200 ethnic groups populate the Democratic Republic of the Congo, of which the majority are Bantu peoples. Together, Mongo, Luba and Kongo peoples (Bantu) and Mangbetu-Azande peoples constitute around 45% of the population. The Kongo people are the largest ethnic group in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
As many as 250 ethnic groups have been identified and named. The most numerous people are the Kongo, Luba, and Mongo. About 600,000 Pygmies are the aboriginal people of the DR Congo. Although several hundred local languages and dialects are spoken, the linguistic variety is bridged both by widespread use of French and the national intermediary languages Kituba, Tshiluba, Swahili, and Lingala.
Given the situation in the country and the condition of state structures, it is extremely difficult to obtain reliable migration data. However, evidence suggests that DRC continues to be a destination country for immigrants, in spite of recent declines in their numbers. Immigration is very diverse in nature; refugees and asylum-seekers – products of the numerous and violent conflicts in the Great Lakes Region – constitute an important subset of the population. Additionally, the country's large mine operations attract migrant workers from Africa and beyond. There is also considerable migration for commercial activities from other African countries and the rest of the world, but these movements are not well studied. Transit migration towards South Africa and Europe also plays a role.
The DRC has produced a considerable number of refugees and asylum-seekers located in the region and beyond. These numbers peaked in 2004 when, there were more than 460,000 refugees from the DRC; in 2008, Congolese refugees numbered 367,995 in total, 68% of whom were living in other African countries.
Since 2003, more than 400,000 Congolese migrants have been expelled from Angola.
Christianity is the majority religion in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, followed by about 95% of the population according Indigenous beliefs account for about 1.8–10%, and Islam for 10–12%.
There are about 35 million Catholics in the country with six archdioceses and 41 dioceses. The impact of the Roman Catholic Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo is difficult to overestimate. Schatzberg has called it the country's "only truly national institution apart from the state." Its schools have educated over 60% of the nation's primary school students and more than 40% of its secondary students. The church owns and manages an extensive network of hospitals, schools, and clinics, as well as many diocesan economic enterprises, including farms, ranches, stores, and artisans' shops.
Kimbanguism was seen as a threat to the colonial regime and was banned by the Belgians. Kimbanguism, officially "the church of Christ on Earth by the prophet Simon Kimbangu", now has about three million members, primarily among the Bakongo of Bas-Congo and Kinshasa.
62 Protestant denominations are federated under the umbrella of the Church of Christ in Congo. It is often simply referred to as the Protestant Church, since it covers most of the DRC Protestants. With more than 25 million members, it constitutes one of the largest Protestant bodies in the world.
Islam was introduced and mainly spread by traders/merchants. Congolose Muslims are divided into Sunnis (50%), Shias (10%), Ahmadis (6%), and non-denominational Muslims (14%). In 2013 the Allied Democratic Forces, a group linked to Al-Qaeda, began carrying out attacks in Congo which killed civilians, mostly Christians.
Traditional religions embody such concepts as monotheism, animism, vitalism, spirit and ancestor worship, witchcraft, and sorcery and vary widely among ethnic groups. The syncretic sects often merge elements of Christianity with traditional beliefs and rituals and are not recognized by mainstream churches as part of Christianity. New variants of ancient beliefs have become widespread, led by US-inspired Pentecostal churches which have been in the forefront of witchcraft accusations, particularly against children and the elderly. Children accused of witchcraft are sent away from homes and family, often to live on the street, which can lead to physical violence against these children. The usual term for these children is enfants sorciers (child witches) or enfants dits sorciers (children accused of witchcraft). Non-denominational church organizations have been formed to capitalize on this belief by charging exorbitant fees for exorcisms. Though recently outlawed, children have been subjected in these exorcisms to often-violent abuse at the hands of self-proclaimed prophets and priests.
French is the official language of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is culturally accepted as the lingua franca facilitating communication among the many different ethnic groups of the Congo. According to a 2014 OIF report, 33 million Congolese people (47% of the population) can read and write in French. In the capital city Kinshasa, 67% of the population can read and write French, and 68.5% can speak and understand it.
Approximately 242 languages are spoken in the country, but only four have the status of national languages: Kituba ("Kikongo ya leta"), Lingala, Tshiluba, and Swahili. Although some people speak these regional, or trade languages as first languages, most of the population speak them as a second language after their own tribal language. Lingala was the official language of the colonial army, the "Force Publique", under Belgian colonial rule, and remains to this day the predominant language in the armed forces. Since the recent rebellions, a good part of the army in the East also uses Swahili where it is prevalent.
The culture of the Democratic Republic of the Congo reflects the diversity of its hundreds of ethnic groups and their differing ways of life throughout the country — from the mouth of the River Congo on the coast, upriver through the rainforest and savanna in its centre, to the more densely populated mountains in the far east. Since the late 19th century, traditional ways of life have undergone changes brought about by colonialism, the struggle for independence, the stagnation of the Mobutu era, and most recently, the First and Second Congo Wars. Despite these pressures, the customs and cultures of the Congo have retained much of their individuality. The country's 81 million inhabitants (at close of 2016) are mainly rural. The 30% who live in urban areas have been the most open to Western influences.
Another feature in Congo culture is its music. The DRC has blended its ethnic musical sources with Cuban rumba, and merengue to give birth to soukous.Other African nations produce music genres that are derived from Congolese soukous. Some of the African bands sing in Lingala, one of the main languages in the DRC. The same Congolese soukous, under the guidance of "le sapeur", Papa Wemba, has set the tone for a generation of young men always dressed up in expensive designer clothes. They came to be known as the fourth generation of Congolese music and mostly come from the former well-known band Wenge Musica.
Many sports are played in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including football, basketball and rugby. The sports are played in numerous stadiums throughout the country, including the Stade Frederic Kibassa Maliba.
Internationally, the country is especially famous for its NBA players. Dikembe Mutombo is one of the best African basketball players to ever play the game. Mutombo is well known for humanitarian projects in his home country. Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo, Christian Eyenga and Emmanuel Mudiay are others who gained significant international attention.
Since 1968 the Democratic Republic of the Congo has participated in the Olympic Games.
A dense tropical rainforest in the DRC's central river basin and eastern highlands is bordered on the west by the Albertine Rift (the western branch of Africa's Great Rift System). It includes several of Africa's Great Lakes.
Displaced refugees cause or are otherwise responsible for significant deforestation, soil erosion and wildlife poaching. Another significant issue is environmental damage from mining of minerals, especially diamonds, gold and coltan – a mineral used to manufacture capacitors.
Because of sunlight, potential for solar development is very high in the DRC. There are already about 836 solar power systems in the DRC, with a total power of 83 kW.
Democratic Republic of Congo, despite its economical and political issues, it is very rich country in its natural resources. If the government is stable this country will rank in top of the worlds countries.