Congo, Republic of the [Country Flag of Congo, Republic of the]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Congo, Democratic Republic of the]

Congo, Republic of the


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Location: Western Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and Gabon

Geographic coordinates: 1 00 S, 15 00 E

Map references: Africa

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

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, Endangered Species, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified: Desertification, Law of the Sea

Geography—note: about 70% of the population lives in Brazzaville, Pointe Noire, or along the railroad between them


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Population: 2,658,123 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 43% (male 569,382; female 563,327)
15-64 years: 54% (male 700,507; female 734,447)
65 years and over: 3% (male 36,383; female 54,077) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.21% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 38.5 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 16.45 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 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 (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 102.69 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 47.07 years
male: 45.29 years
female: 48.89 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.98 children born/woman (1998 est.)

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)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 74.9%
male: 83.1%
female: 67.2% (1995 est.)


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Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of the Congo
conventional short form: none
local long form: Republique du Congo
local short form: none
former: Congo/Brazzaville, Congo

Data code: CF

Government type: republic

National 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 (inaugurated on 25 October 1997)
head of government: prime minister (vacant) appointed from the majority party by the president
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister
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 which will change term to seven years)
election results: Pascal LISSOUBA elected president; percent of vote—Pascal LISSOUBA 61%, Bernard KOLELAS 39%

Legislative branch: bicameral parliament consists of an Assemblee Nationale or National Assembly (125 seats, members are elected by direct popular vote for five-year terms) and a Senat or Senate (60 seats, members are elected by direct popular vote for six-year terms); note—the National Assembly which was elected on 3 October 1993 was dissolved; it has been replaced by a transitional advisory parliament of 75 members named by the National Reconciliation Forum of January 1998
elections: National Assembly—last held 3 October 1993 (next to be held NA); Senate - last held November 1996 (next to be held NA)
election results: National Assembly—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party - UPADS 64, URD/PCT 58, others 3; Senate—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—UPADS 23, MCDDI 14, RDD 8, RDPS 5, PCT 2, others 8

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Cour Supreme)

Political parties and leaders: the most important of the many political parties are Congolese Labor Party or PCT [Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO, president]; Association for Democracy and Development or RDD [Joachim YHOMBI-OPANGO, 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, leader]; Pan-African Union for Social Development or UPADS [Martin MBERI, leader]; Union of Democratic Forces or UFD [Sebastian EBAO, leader]; Union for Democratic Renewal or URD; Union for Development and Social Progress or UDPS [Jean-Michael BOKAMBA-YANGOUMA, leader]

Political pressure groups and leaders: Union of Congolese Socialist Youth or UJSC; Congolese Trade Union Congress or CSC; Revolutionary Union of Congolese Women or URFC; General Union of Congolese Pupils and Students or UGEEC

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, ITU, NAM, OAU, UDEAC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: (vacant); Charge d'Affaires ad interim Serge MONBOULI
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 J. Aubrey HOOKS
embassy: Avenue Amilcar Cabral, Brazzaville
mailing address: B. P. 1015, Brazzaville
telephone: [242] 83 20 70
FAX: [242] 83 63 38
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


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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 about 90% 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. Subsequently, falling oil prices cut GDP growth by half. 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 continue with the support of international organizations, notably the World Bank and the IMF.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$5.25 billion (1996 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 4% (1996 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$2,000 (1996 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 11.4%
industry: 35.2%
services: 53.4% (1993)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 3% (1996 est.)

Labor force: NA

Unemployment rate: NA%

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—capacity: 118,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 438 million kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 220 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: cassava (tapioca) accounts for 90% of food output, sugar, rice, corn, peanuts, vegetables, coffee, cocoa; forest products

total value: $1.2 billion (f.o.b., 1995)
commodities: crude oil 90%, lumber, plywood, sugar, cocoa, coffee, diamonds
partners: Belgium-Luxembourg 24.3%, Taiwan 20.2%, US 14.9%, Italy 14.8% (1995 est.)

total value: $670 million (f.o.b. 1995)
commodities: intermediate manufactures, capital equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs, petroleum products
partners: France 31.2%, Netherlands 24.6%, Italy 11.4%, US 6.9% (1995 est.)

Debt—external: $5.3 billion (1996)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA

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

Exchange rates: CFA francs (CFAF) per US$1—608.36 (January 1998), 583.67 (1997), 511.55 (1996), 499.15 (1995), 555.20 (1994), 283.16 (1993)
note: beginning 12 January 1994, the CFA franc was devalued to CFAF 100 per French franc from CFAF 50 at which it had been fixed since 1948

Fiscal year: calendar year


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Telephones: 18,000 (1983 est.)

Telephone system: services barely adequate for government use; key exchanges are in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, and Loubomo; inter-city 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 4, FM 1, shortwave 0

Radios: NA

Television broadcast stations: 4 (1987 est.)

Televisions: 8,500 (1993 est.)


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

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

Merchant marine:
total: 1 cargo ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 2,918 GRT/4,100 DWT (1997 est.)

Airports: 37 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 33
1,524 to 2,437 m: 8
914 to 1,523 m: 15
under 914 m: 10 (1997 est.)


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Military branches: Army, Navy (includes Marines), Air Force, National Police

Military manpower—military age: 20 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 623,924 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 317,997 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 27,354 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $110 million (1993)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 3.8% (1993)

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: long segment of the boundary with Democratic Republic of the Congo along the Congo River is indefinite (no division of the river or its islands has been made)