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Congo, Republic of the (2008)

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Congo, Republic of the 2008 year

 Congo, Republic of the
Administrative divisions 10 regions (regions, singular - region) and 1 commune*; Bouenza, Brazzaville*, Cuvette, Cuvette-Ouest, Kouilou, Lekoumou, Likouala, Niari, Plateaux, Pool, Sangha
Age structure 0-14 years: 46.3% (male 885,039/female 873,753)

15-64 years: 50.8% (male 958,992/female 973,445)

65 years and over: 2.9% (male 44,994/female 64,387) (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products cassava (tapioca), sugar, rice, corn, peanuts, vegetables, coffee, cocoa; forest products
Airports 31 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways total: 5

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 26

1,524 to 2,437 m: 7

914 to 1,523 m: 10

under 914 m: 9 (2007)
Area total: 342,000 sq km

land: 341,500 sq km

water: 500 sq km
Area - comparative slightly smaller than Montana
Background 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, but the calm is tenuous and refugees continue to present a humanitarian crisis. The Republic of Congo was once one of Africa's largest petroleum producers, but with declining production it will need to hope for new offshore oil finds to sustain its oil earnings over the long term.
Birth rate 42.16 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Budget revenues: $3.639 billion

expenditures: $2.104 billion (2007 est.)
Capital name: Brazzaville

geographic coordinates: 4 15 S, 15 17 E

time difference: UTC+1 (six hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Climate tropical; rainy season (March to June); dry season (June to October); persistent high temperatures and humidity; particularly enervating climate astride the Equator
Coastline 169 km
Constitution approved by referendum 20 January 2002
Country name conventional long form: Republic of the Congo

conventional short form: Congo (Brazzaville)

local long form: Republique du Congo

local short form: none

former: Middle Congo, Congo/Brazzaville, Congo
Death rate 12.59 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Debt - external $5 billion (2000 est.)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission: Ambassador Robert WEISBERG

embassy: BDEAC Building, 4th Floor, Brazzaville

mailing address: NA

telephone: [242] 81-1480

FAX:: [243] 81-5324
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission: Ambassador Serge MOMBOULI

chancery: 4891 Colorado Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20011

telephone: [1] (202) 726-5500

FAX: [1] (202) 726-1860
Disputes - international Congo hosts about 63,000 refugees from neighboring states, primarily from the Pool border area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; the location of the boundary in the broad Congo River with the Democratic Republic of the Congo is indefinite except in the Pool Malebo/Stanley Pool area
Economic aid - recipient $1.449 billion (2005)
Economy - overview The economy is a mixture of subsistance agriculture, an industrial sector based largely on oil, and support services, and a government characterized by budget problems and overstaffing. Oil has supplanted forestry as the mainstay of the economy, providing a major share 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. The government has mortgaged a substantial portion of its oil earnings through oil-backed loans that have contributed to a growing debt burden and chronic revenue shortfalls. Economic reform efforts have been undertaken with the support of international organizations, notably the World Bank and the IMF. However, the reform program came to a halt in June 1997 when civil war erupted. Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO, who returned to power when the war ended in October 1997, publicly expressed interest in moving forward on economic reforms and privatization and in renewing cooperation with international financial institutions. Economic progress was badly hurt by slumping oil prices and the resumption of armed conflict in December 1998, which worsened the republic's budget deficit. The current administration presides over an uneasy internal peace and faces difficult economic challenges of stimulating recovery and reducing poverty. Recovery of oil prices has boosted the economy's GDP and near-term prospects. In March 2006, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) treatment for Congo.
Electricity - consumption 5.272 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports 1.8 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports 6 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - production 7.341 billion kWh (2005)
Elevation extremes lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Mount Berongou 903 m
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, Desertification, Endangered Species, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Ethnic groups Kongo 48%, Sangha 20%, M'Bochi 12%, Teke 17%, Europeans and other 3%
Exchange rates Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XAF) per US dollar - 483.6 (2007), 522.59 (2006), 527.47 (2005), 528.29 (2004), 581.2 (2003)
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);

head of government: Prime Minister Isidore MVOUBA (since 7 January 2005)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 10 March 2002 (next to be held in 2009)

election results: Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO reelected president; percent of vote - Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO 89.4%, Joseph Kignoumbi Kia MBOUNGOU 2.7%
Exports 1.8 billion kWh (2005)
Exports $6.455 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Exports 20,750 bbl/day (2004)
Exports - commodities petroleum, lumber, plywood, sugar, cocoa, coffee, diamonds
Exports - partners US 35.9%, China 31.4%, Taiwan 9.9%, South Korea 8% (2006)
Fiscal year calendar year
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

note: uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 5.6%

industry: 57.1%

services: 37.3% (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 2.8% (2007 est.)
Geographic coordinates 1 00 S, 15 00 E
Geography - note about 70% of the population lives in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, or along the railroad between them
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%
Imports 6 million kWh (2005)
Imports $1.724 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports 0 cu m (2005)
Imports 11,410 bbl/day (2004)
Imports - commodities capital equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs
Imports - partners France 23.5%, China 13.2%, US 7.6%, India 7%, Italy 5.6%, Belgium 5.3% (2006)
Independence 15 August 1960 (from France)
Industrial production growth rate -1% (2007 est.)
Industries petroleum extraction, cement, lumber, brewing, sugar, palm oil, soap, flour, cigarettes
Infant mortality rate total: 83.26 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 88.93 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 77.42 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 7% (2007 est.)
Irrigated land 20 sq km (2003)
Judicial branch Supreme Court or Cour Supreme
Labor force NA
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
Land use arable land: 1.45%

permanent crops: 0.15%

other: 98.4% (2005)
Languages French (official), Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages), many local languages and dialects (of which Kikongo is the most widespread)
Legal system based on French civil law system and customary law
Legislative branch bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (66 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and the National Assembly (137 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)

elections: Senate - last held 11 July 2002 (next to be held in 2008); National Assembly - last held 24 June and 5 August 2007 (next to be held in 2012)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FDP 56, other 10; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PCT 46, MCDDI 11, UPADS 11, MAR 5, MSD 5, independents 37, other 22
Life expectancy at birth total population: 53.29 years

male: 52.1 years

female: 54.52 years (2007 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 83.8%

male: 89.6%

female: 78.4% (2003 est.)
Location Western Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and Gabon
Map references Africa
Maritime claims territorial sea: 200 nm
Merchant marine registered in other countries: 1 (Congo, Democratic Republic of the 1) (2007)
Military branches Congolese Armed Forces (Forces Armees Congolaises, FAC): Army, Navy, Congolese Air Force (Armee de l'Air Congolaise), Gendarmerie, Special Presidential Security Guard (GSSP) (2008)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 3.1% (2006)
National holiday Independence Day, 15 August (1960)
Nationality noun: Congolese (singular and plural)

adjective: Congolese or Congo
Natural hazards seasonal flooding
Natural resources petroleum, timber, potash, lead, zinc, uranium, copper, phosphates, gold, magnesium, natural gas, hydropower
Net migration rate -3.17 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Pipelines gas 89 km; liquid petroleum gas 4 km; oil 758 km (2007)
Political parties and leaders Action Movement for Renewal or MAR; Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development or MCDDI [Michel MAMPOUYA]; Congolese Labour Party or PCT; Movement for Solidarity and Development or MSD; Pan-African Union for Social Development or UPADS [Martin MBERI]; Rally for Democracy and Social Progress or RDPS [Jean-Pierre Thystere TCHICAYA, president]; Rally for Democracy and the Republic or RDR [Raymond Damasge NGOLLO]; Union for Democracy and Republic or UDR; Union of Democratic Forces or UFD [Sebastian EBAO]; many less important 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
Population 3,800,610

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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2007 est.)
Population below poverty line NA%
Population growth rate 2.639% (2007 est.)
Radio broadcast stations AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 3 (2001)
Railways total: 894 km

narrow gauge: 894 km 1.067-m gauge (2006)
Religions Christian 50%, animist 48%, Muslim 2%
Sex ratio at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.013 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.985 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.699 male(s)/female

total population: 0.988 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment: services barely adequate for government use; key exchanges are in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, and Loubomo; intercity lines frequently out of order; fixed-line infrastructure inadequate providing less than 1 connection per 100 persons; mobile-cellular subscribership has surged reaching 16 per 100 persons

domestic: primary network consists of microwave radio relay and coaxial cable

international: country code - 242; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Telephones - main lines in use 15,900 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular 490,000 (2005)
Television broadcast stations 1 (2001)
Terrain coastal plain, southern basin, central plateau, northern basin
Total fertility rate 5.99 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Unemployment rate NA%
Waterways 1,125 km (commercially navigable on Congo and Oubanqui rivers) (2006)
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