• H.E. Joseph Kabila

  • President

  • “Over the last decade, our trade has increased by 600%. These exchanges could grow even more if we consolidate these achievements and complete the ongoing reforms.”
Full name Democratic Republic of Congo
Capital Kinshasa
Area 2,344,858 km2
Location Central Africa, northeast of Angola
Geographic coordinates 0 00 N, 25 00 E
Population 79,375,136
Languages
  • French (official)
  • Lingala (a lingua franca trade language),
  • Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili)
  • Kikongo
  • Tshiluba
Religion
  • Roman Catholic 50%
  • Protestant 20%
  • Kimbanguist 10%
  • Muslim 10%
  • other includes syncretic sects and indigenous beliefs 10%
Demonym Congolese (singular and plural)
Currency Congolese Franc (CDF)
Country code +243
Internet code .cd
Industry Mining (diamonds, copper, zinc), mineral processing, consumer products
Agriculture Coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber, wood products
Exports Diamonds, copper, crude oil, coffee, cobalt
Government website www.presidentrdc.cd
Geographic note The Congo River that flows through the forest is the second largest river in the world.

Source: CIA World Factbook & National Geographic

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Introduction

The Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaïre) is Africa's second largest nation. Carpeted by huge swathes of rainforest and punctuated by gushing rivers and smoking volcanoes, DR Congo is the ultimate African adventure.

Recovering from the scars of the past, the country still has a long way to go, but new roads, enormous untapped mineral wealth and the world's largest UN peacekeeping force have bred optimism among its resilient population. There is absolutely nothing soft nor easy about DR Congo but for an African immersion, you'll never forget this is the place to be.

Source: Lonely Planet

Economy

In 2015, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s economic growth was 7.7% which was supported by the extractive and manufacturing industries, transport, and telecommunications. Inflation was held at 0.8% and the exchange rate of the Congolese franc (CDF) to the United States dollar (USD) remained stable, fluctuating by 0.2%. Despite the drastic fall in the price of raw materials, macroeconomic stability was preserved due to a tightening of tax revenue, international reserves, and an increase in the current account deficit. Economic activity is expected to slow slightly to 7.0% in 2016 before climbing to 8.0% in 2017. This is due to a recovery of mining prices expected from 2017, the positive effects of structural reforms, and the rebuilding of infrastructure. To strengthen the economy’s stability and resilience to shocks, the government adopted 28 urgent measures in January 2016. As part of the strategic national plan for development (PNSD) currently being drawn up, it decided to diversify the country’s economy and to broaden the value creation chain.

Despite the fragile political and security context, the incidence of poverty fell from 80% in 1990 to 63.4% in 2012. The continual increase in the national budget allocated to social sectors led to an increase in the enrolment, literacy, and primary school completion rates, a significant reduction in infant and maternal mortality, and an improved electricity provision and access to water, sanitation, and housing. This progress led to the country improving on the Human Development Index (HDI), moving from 0.329 in 2000 to 0.439 in 2014, thus climbing 11 spots in the 2014 world ranking.

Successes

Despite voter registration irregularities and allegations of vote buying, the 2006 National Assembly elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo marked a significant departure from 40 years of authoritarian rule. Considering the logistical challenges of holding an election in a country like the DRC, a voter turnout of around 70% is a remarkable achievement.

DRC has also achieved strong economic growth since the present administration took over. It was over 6% in 2007 and 2008. Even during the ongoing global economic downturn, the country maintained a positive growth rate of 2.7% in 2009, a year in which many of the world’s major economies have seen negative growth. GDP growth in 2010 stood at 7.2%.