Congo, Republic of the

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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 took office in 1992. A brief civil war in 1997 restored former Marxist President Denis SASSOU-Nguesso, and ushered in a period of ethnic and political unrest. Southern-based rebel groups agreed to a final peace accord in March 2003. The Republic of Congo is one of Africa's largest petroleum producers, but with declining production it will need new offshore oil finds to sustain its oil earnings over the long term.

Geography

Location

Central Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and Gabon

Geographic coordinates

1.00° S, 15.00° E

Area 64/257

total: 342,000 sq km

land: 341,500 sq km

water: 500 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Montana

Land boundaries

total: 5,008 km

border countries (5): Angola 231 km, Cameroon 494 km, Central African Republic 487 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 1,229 km, Gabon 2,567 km

Coastline

169 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate

tropical; rainy season (March to June); dry season (June to October); persistent high temperatures and humidity; particularly enervating climate astride the Equator

Terrain

coastal plain, southern basin, central plateau, northern basin

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Mount Berongou 903 m

Natural resources

petroleum, timber, potash, lead, zinc, uranium, copper, phosphates, gold, magnesium, natural gas, hydropower

Land use

agricultural land: 31.1%

arable land 1.6%; permanent crops 0.2%; permanent pasture 29.3%

forest: 65.6%

other: 3.3% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

20 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

832 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 0.05 cu km/yr (69%/26%/4%)

per capita: 13.99 cu m/yr (2005)

Natural hazards

seasonal flooding

Environment - current issues

air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; tap water is not potable; deforestation

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

about 70% of the population lives in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, or along the railroad between them

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Congolese (singular and plural)

adjective: Congolese or Congo

Ethnic groups

Kongo 48%, Sangha 20%, M'Bochi 12%, Teke 17%, Europeans and other 3%

Languages

French (official), Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages), many local languages and dialects (of which Kikongo is the most widespread)

Religions

Roman Catholic 33.1%, Awakening Churches/Christian Revival 22.3%, Protestant 19.9%, Salutiste 2.2%, Muslim 1.6%, Kimbanguiste 1.5%, other 8.1%, none 11.3% (2010 est.)

Population 125/238

4,755,097

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 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 41.33% (male 991,327/female 973,745)

15-24 years: 17.48% (male 415,282/female 415,817)

25-54 years: 34.12% (male 819,204/female 803,062)

55-64 years: 4.08% (male 95,755/female 98,295)

65 years and over: 3% (male 62,332/female 80,278) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 86.2%

youth dependency ratio: 79.4%

elderly dependency ratio: 6.8%

potential support ratio: 14.7% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 19.8 years

male: 19.6 years

female: 19.9 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 50/233

2% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 20/224

35.85 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 45/225

10 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 197/222

-5.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 65.4% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 3.22% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

BRAZZAVILLE (capital) 1.888 million; Pointe-Noire 969,000 (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

19.7

note: median age at first birth among women 20-24 (2011/12 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 16/184

442 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 24/224

total: 57.92 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 62.97 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 52.71 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 200/224

total population: 58.79 years

male: 57.64 years

female: 59.98 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 22/224

4.68 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

44.7% (2011/12)

Health expenditures 179/191

4.1% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

0.1 physicians/1,000 population (2007)

Hospital bed density

1.6 beds/1,000 population (2005)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 95.8% of population

rural: 40% of population

total: 76.5% of population

unimproved:

urban: 4.2% of population

rural: 60% of population

total: 23.5% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 20% of population

rural: 5.6% of population

total: 15% of population

unimproved:

urban: 80% of population

rural: 94.4% of population

total: 85% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

2.75% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

80,700 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

4,400 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 163/191

9.7% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 61/138

11.8% (2012)

Education expenditures 39/173

6.2% of GDP (2010)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 11 years

male: 11 years

female: 11 years (2012)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of the Congo

conventional short form: Congo (Brazzaville)

local long form: Republique du Congo

local short form: Congo

former: French Congo, Middle Congo, People's Republic of the Congo, Congo/Brazzaville

Government type

republic

Capital

name: Brazzaville

geographic coordinates: 4.15° S, 15.17° E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

12 departments (departments, singular - department); Bouenza, Brazzaville, Cuvette, Cuvette-Ouest, Kouilou, Lekoumou, Likouala, Niari, Plateaux, Pointe-Noire, Pool, Sangha

Independence

15 August 1960 (from France)

National holiday

Independence Day, 15 August (1960)

Constitution

previous 1992; latest approved by referendum 20 January 2002 (2015)

Legal system

mixed legal system of French civil law and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of the Republic of the Congo

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years

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 chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Denis SASSOU-Nguesso (since 25 October 1997); note - the position of prime minister was abolished in September 2009

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for 2 additional terms); election last held on 12 July 2009 (next to be held in 2016)

election results: Denis SASSOU-Nguesso reelected president; percent of vote - Denis SASSOU-Nguesso (FDU) 78.6%, Joseph Kignoumbi Kia MBOUNGOU (independent) 7.5%, Nicephore Fylla de SAINT-EUDES 7%, other 6.9%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate (72 seats; members indirectly elected by regional councils by simple majority vote to serve 6-year terms with one-half of membership renewed every three years) and the National Assembly (139 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by absolute majority popular vote in two rounds if needed; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: Senate - last held on 12 October 2014 for 36 of the expiry seats (next to be held in 2020); National Assembly - last held on 15 July and 5 August 2012 (next to be held in July 2017)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - RMP 33, FDU 23, UPADS 2, other 7, independent 7; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PCT 89, MCDDI 7, UPADS 7, RDPS 5, MAR 4, RC 3, MUST 2, UPDP 2, CPR 1, PRL 1, PUR 1, UFD 1, UR 1, independent 12, vacant 3

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of NA judges); note - the High Court of Justice, outside the judicial authority, tries cases involving treason by the president of the republic

judge selection and term of office: judges elected by parliament and serve until retirement age

subordinate courts: courts of appeal; regional and district courts; employment tribunals; juvenile courts

Political parties and leaders

Action Movement for Renewal or MAR [Roland BOUITI-VIAUDO]

Citizen's Rally or RC

Congolese Labour Party or PCT [Denis SASSOY-NGUESSO]

Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development or MCDDI [Guy Price Parfait KO]

Movement for Unity, Solidarity, and Work or MUST [Claudine MUNARI]

Pan-African Union for Social Development or UPADS [Pascal Tsaty MABIALA]

Party for the Unity of the Republic or PUR

Patriotic Union for Democracy and Progress or UPDP [Auguste-Celestin GONGARD NKOUA

Prospects and Realities Club or CPR

Rally for Democracy and Social Progress or RDPS [Bernard BATCHI]

Rally of the Presidential Majority or RMP

Republican and Liberal Party or PRL

Union for the Republic or UR

Union of Democratic Forces

Union for Democracy and Republic or UDR

United Democratic Forces or FDU [Sebastian EBAO]; many smaller parties

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

ACP, AfDB, AU, BDEAC, CEMAC, EITI (compliant country), FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

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; green symbolizes agriculture and forests, yellow the friendship and nobility of the people, red is unexplained but has been associated with the struggle for independence

note: uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia

National symbol(s)

lion, elephant; national colors: green, yellow, red

National anthem

name: "La Congolaise" (The Congolese)

lyrics/music: Jacques TONDRA and Georges KIBANGHI/Jean ROYER and Joseph SPADILIERE

note: originally adopted 1959, restored 1991

Economy

Economy - overview

The economy is a mixture of subsistence farming and hunting, an industrial sector based largely on oil and support services, and government spending. Oil has supplanted forestry as the mainstay of the economy, providing a major share of government revenues and exports. Natural gas is increasingly being converted to electricity rather than being flared, greatly improving energy prospects. New mining projects, particularly iron ore, which entered production in late 2013, may add as much as $1 billion to annual government revenue.

Economic reform efforts have been undertaken with the support of international organizations, notably the World Bank and the IMF, including recently concluded Article IV consultations. The current administration faces difficult economic challenges of stimulating recovery and reducing poverty. The recent drop in oil prices has constrained government spending; lower oil prices forced the government to cut more than $1 billion in planned spending. However, the government increased infrastructure spending for the September 2015 All-Africa Games and is also increasing election spending ahead of the July 2016 presidential election, putting further pressure on the budget.

Officially the country became a net external creditor as of 2011, with external debt representing only about 16% of GDP and debt servicing less than 3% of government revenue.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 130/230

$28.92 billion (2015 est.)

$28.64 billion (2014 est.)

$26.8 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$8.871 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 173/225

1% (2015 est.)

6.8% (2014 est.)

3.3% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 154/230

$6,800 (2015 est.)

$6,700 (2014 est.)

$6,300 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 40/179

26.5% of GDP (2015 est.)

32.8% of GDP (2014 est.)

26.5% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 48.2%

government consumption: 14%

investment in fixed capital: 43.8%

investment in inventories: 0.1%

exports of goods and services: 61.6%

imports of goods and services: -67.7%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 4.9%

industry: 68.8%

services: 26.3% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

cassava (manioc, tapioca), sugar, rice, corn, peanuts, vegetables, coffee, cocoa; forest products

Industries

petroleum extraction, cement, lumber, brewing, sugar, palm oil, soap, flour, cigarettes

Industrial production growth rate 136/202

1.3% (2015 est.)

Labor force 125/233

1.807 million (2013 est.)

Unemployment rate 201/207

53% (2012 est.)

Population below poverty line

46.5% (2011 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.1%

highest 10%: 37.1% (2005)

Budget

revenues: $3.896 billion

expenditures: $4.747 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 29/219

43.9% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 201/220

-9.6% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 89/176

47.3% of GDP (2015 est.)

36.5% of GDP (2014 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 113/226

2.1% (2015 est.)

0.1% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 96/156

4.25% (31 December 2009)

4.75% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 43/184

14.8% (31 December 2015 est.)

14.8% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 104/192

$4.08 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$4.223 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 132/193

$4.875 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$4.858 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 177/191

$362.9 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$44.13 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$NA

Current account balance 129/197

-$1.346 billion (2015 est.)

-$1.273 billion (2014 est.)

Exports 104/224

$5.855 billion (2015 est.)

$9.12 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

petroleum, lumber, plywood, sugar, cocoa, coffee, diamonds

Exports - partners

China 52%, Australia 8.3%, Italy 8.2%, US 4% (2014)

Imports 135/223

$3.779 billion (2015 est.)

$4.939 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

capital equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs

Imports - partners

Algeria 47.8%, China 10.6%, France 9%, Italy 4.3% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 98/170

$4.407 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$4.939 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 136/206

$3.763 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$3.452 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Exchange rates

Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per US dollar -

580.5 (2015 est.)

494.42 (2014 est.)

494.42 (2013 est.)

510.53 (2012 est.)

471.87 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 146/220

1.303 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 162/219

740 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 119/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 102/219

55 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 158/214

238,000 kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 197/214

12.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 65/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 15/214

87.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 166/212

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 33/214

250,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 27/214

278,400 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 171/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 37/215

1.6 billion bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 95/214

17,740 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 142/212

15,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 94/214

5,160 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 178/213

2,571 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 60/216

1.65 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 83/215

1.65 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 48/215

39 million cu m (2012 est.)

Natural gas - imports 176/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 56/212

90.61 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 116/212

6.691 million Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 193/219

total subscriptions: 16,300

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 118/217

total: 4.9 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 106 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: primary network consists of microwave radio relay and coaxial cable with services barely adequate for government use; key exchanges are in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, and Loubomo; intercity lines frequently out of order

domestic: fixed-line infrastructure inadequate, providing less than 1 connection per 100 persons; in the absence of an adequate fixed-line infrastructure, mobile-cellular subscribership has surged to 90 per 100 persons

international: country code - 242; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2011)

Broadcast media

1 state-owned TV and 3 state-owned radio stations; several privately owned TV and radio stations; satellite TV service is available; rebroadcasts of several international broadcasters are available (2007)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 3 (2001)

Television broadcast stations

1 (2001)

Internet country code

.cg

Internet hosts 215/232

45 (2012)

Internet users 171/217

total: 89,500

percent of population: 1.9% (2014 est.)

Transportation

Airports 125/236

27 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 8

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 5 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 19

1,524 to 2,437 m: 8

914 to 1,523 m: 9

under 914 m: 2 (2013)

Pipelines

gas 232 km; liquid petroleum gas 4 km; oil 982 km (2013)

Railways 94/136

total: 510 km

narrow gauge: 510 km 1.067-m gauge (2014)

Roadways 118/223

total: 17,000 km

paved: 1,212 km

unpaved: 15,788 km (2006)

Waterways 61/107

1,120 km (commercially navigable on Congo and Oubanqui Rivers above Brazzaville; there are many ferries across the river to Kinshasa; the Congo south of Brazzaville-Kinshasa to the coast is not navigable because of rapids, necessitating a rail connection to Pointe Noire; other rivers are used for local traffic only) (2011)

Merchant marine 148/156

registered in other countries: 1 (Democratic Republic of the Congo 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Pointe-Noire

river port(s): Brazzaville (Congo); Impfondo (Oubangi); Ouesso (Sangha); Oyo (Alima)

oil terminal(s): Djeno

Military and Security

Military branches

Congolese Armed Forces (Forces Armees Congolaises, FAC): Army (Armee de Terre), Navy, Congolese Air Force (Armee de l'Air Congolaise); Gendarmerie; Special Presidential Security Guard (GSSP) (2013)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service; women may serve in the Armed Forces (2012)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

the location of the boundary in the broad Congo River with the Democratic Republic of the Congo is undefined except in the Pool Malebo/Stanley Pool area

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 23,376 (Democratic Republic of the Congo); 9,104 (Rwanda) (2014); 29,884 (Central African Republic) (2015)

IDPs: 7,800 (multiple civil wars since 1992) (2014)