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Congo Dem. Rep. of

Established as a Belgian colony in 1908, the Republic of the Congo gained its independence in 1960, but its early years were marred by political and social instability. Col. Joseph MOBUTU seized power and declared himself president in a November 1965 coup. He subsequently changed his name - to MOBUTU Sese Seko - as well as that of the country - to Zaire. MOBUTU retained his position for 32 years through several sham elections, as well as through the use of brutal force. Ethnic strife and civil war, touched off by a massive inflow of refugees in 1994 from fighting in Rwanda and Burundi, led in May 1997 to the toppling of the MOBUTU regime by a rebellion backed by Rwanda and Uganda and fronted by Laurent KABILA. He renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), but in August 1998 his regime was itself challenged by a second insurrection again backed by Rwanda and Uganda. Troops from Angola, Chad, Namibia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe intervened to support KABILA's regime. A cease-fire was signed in July 1999 by the DRC, Congolese armed rebel groups, Angola, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe but sporadic fighting continued. Laurent KABILA was assassinated in January 2001 and his son, Joseph KABILA, was named head of state. In October 2002, the new president was successful in negotiating the withdrawal of Rwandan forces occupying eastern Congo; two months later, the Pretoria Accord was signed by all remaining warring parties to end the fighting and establish a government of national unity. A transitional government was set up in July 2003. Joseph KABILA as president and four vice presidents represented the former government, former rebel groups, and the political opposition. The transitional government held a successful constitutional referendum in December 2005 and elections for the presidency, National Assembly, and provincial legislatures in 2006. KABILA was inaugurated president in December 2006. The National Assembly was installed in September 2006. Its president, Vital KAMERHE, was chosen in December. Provincial assemblies were constituted in early 2007, and elected governors and national senators in January 2007.

Languages & Population

Approximate Population: 65,751,512 (July 2007 est.)

Nationality (Noun): Congolese (singular and plural)

Nationality (Adjective): Congolese or Congo

Official Language(s): French

Major Languages Spoken: French, Lingala, Otetela

Map of Congo Dem. Rep. of

Country Facts

Country Name (long form): Democratic Republic of the Congo

Country Name (short form): none

Country Name (local long form): Republique Democratique du Congo

Country Name (local short form): none

Name of Capital: Kinshasa

UTC Time Difference (from capital): UTC+1 (six hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Countries Near by, and Bordering Congo Dem. Rep. of: Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Rwanda, Sudan, Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo

Land Area: 2267600 sq km

Water Area: 77810 sq km

Comparative Area: slightly less than one-fourth the size of the US

Total Land Boundry: 10,730 km

Coastline: 37 km

National Holiday: Independence Day, 30 June (1960)

International Phone Code: 243

Currency Code: Congolese franc (CDF)

Internet Country Code: .cd

US Embassy Location: 310 Avenue des Aviateurs, Kinshasa

US Embassy Mailing Address: Unit 31550, APO AE 09828

 

Congo Dem. Rep. of flag

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