[Country map of Congo]



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

Map references: Africa

total area: 342,000 sq km
land area: 341,500 sq km
comparative area: slightly smaller than Montana

Land boundaries: total 5,504 km, Angola 201 km, Cameroon 523 km, Central African Republic 467 km, Gabon 1,903 km, Zaire 2,410 km

Coastline: 169 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 200 nm

International disputes: long segment of boundary with Zaire along the Congo River is indefinite (no division of the river or its islands has been made)

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

Natural resources: petroleum, timber, potash, lead, zinc, uranium, copper, phosphates, natural gas

Land use:
arable land: 2%
permanent crops: 0%
meadows and pastures: 29%
forest and woodland: 62%
other: 7%

Irrigated land: 40 sq km (1989)

current issues: air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from the dumping of raw sewage; tap water is not potable; deforestation
natural hazards: seasonal flooding
international agreements: party to - Endangered Species, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83; signed, but not ratified - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Tropical Timber 94

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


Population: 2,504,996 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 44% (female 543,324; male 548,840)
15-64 years: 53% (female 682,927; male 645,045)
65 years and over: 3% (female 49,879; male 34,981) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.32% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 39.86 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 16.7 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 109.4 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 47.09 years
male: 45.23 years
female: 49 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.23 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Congolese (singular and plural)
adjective: Congolese or Congo

Ethnic divisions:
south: Kongo 48%
north: Sangha 20%, M'Bochi 12%
center: Teke 17%, Europeans 8,500 (mostly French)

Religions: Christian 50%, animist 48%, Muslim 2%

Languages: French (official), African languages (Lingala and Kikongo are the most widely used)

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1984)
total population: 60%
male: 71%
female: 49%

Labor force: 79,100 wage earners
by occupation: agriculture 75%, commerce, industry, and government 25%


conventional long form: Republic of the Congo
conventional short form: Congo
local long form: Republique Populaire du Congo
local short form: Congo
former: Congo/Brazzaville

Digraph: CF

Type: republic

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

Legal system: based on French civil law system and customary law

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Pascal LISSOUBA (since August 1992); election last held August 1992 (next to be held August 1997); results - President Pascal LISSOUBA won with 61% of the vote
head of government: Prime Minister Jacques Joachim YHOMBI-OPANGO (since 23 June 1993)
cabinet: Council of Ministers; named by the president

Legislative branch: bicameral
National Assembly (Assemblee Nationale): election last held 3 October 1993; results - percentage vote by party NA; seats - (125 total) UPADS 64, URD/PCT 58, others 3
Senate: election last held 26 July 1992 (next to be held July 1998); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (60 total) UPADS 23, MCDDI 14, RDD 8, RDPS 5, PCT 2, others 8

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Cour Supreme)

Political parties and leaders: Congolese Labor Party (PCT), Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO, president; Pan-African Union for Social Development (UPADS), Pascal LISSOUBA, leader; Association for Democracy and Development (RDD), Joachim Yhombi OPANGO, president; Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development (MCDDI), Bernard KOLELAS, leader; Association for Democracy and Social Progress (RDPS), Jean-Pierre Thystere TCHICAYA, president; Union of Democratic Forces (UFD), David Charles GANAO, leader; Union for Development and Social Progress (UDPS), Jean-Michael BOKAMBA-YANGOUMA, leader
note: Congo has many political parties of which these are among the most important

Other political or pressure groups: Union of Congolese Socialist Youth (UJSC); Congolese Trade Union Congress (CSC); Revolutionary Union of Congolese Women (URFC); General Union of Congolese Pupils and Students (UGEEC)


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Pierre Damien BOUSSOUKOU-BOUMBA
chancery: 4891 Colorado Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20011
telephone: [1] (202) 726-0825
FAX: [1] (202) 726-1860

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador William C. RAMSEY
embassy: Avenue Amilcar Cabral, Brazzaville
mailing address: B. P. 1015, Brazzaville
telephone: [242] 83 20 70
FAX: [242] 83 63 38

Flag: red, 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


Overview: Congo's 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. A reform program, supported by the IMF and World Bank, ran into difficulties in 1990-91 because of problems in changing to a democratic political regime and a heavy debt-servicing burden. Oil has supplanted forestry as the mainstay of the economy, providing about two-thirds of government revenues and exports. In the early 1980s rapidly rising oil revenues enabled Congo to finance large-scale development projects with growth averaging 5% annually, one of the highest rates in Africa. Subsequently, growth has slowed to an average of roughly 1.5% annually, only two-thirds of the population growth rate. Political turmoil and misguided government investment have derailed economic reform programs sponsored by the IMF and World Bank. Even with these difficulties Congo enjoys one of the highest incomes per capita in sub-Saharan Africa

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $6.7 billion (1993 est.)

National product real growth rate: -2.1% (1993 est.)

National product per capita: $2,820 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.2% (1992 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $765 million
expenditures: $952 million, including capital expenditures of $65 million (1990)

Exports: $1.1 billion (f.o.b., 1993)
commodities: crude oil 83%, lumber, plywood, sugar, cocoa, coffee, diamonds
partners: US, Italy, France, Spain, other EC countries

Imports: $472 million (c.i.f., 1991)
commodities: intermediate manufactures, capital equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs
partners: France, US, Italy, Japan, other EC countries

External debt: $4 billion (1993)

Industrial production: growth rate 8% (1993 est.); accounts for 35% of GDP; includes petroleum

capacity: 120,000 kW
production: 400 million kWh
consumption per capita: 201 kWh (1993)

Industries: petroleum, cement, lumbering, brewing, sugar milling, palm oil, soap, cigarette

Agriculture: accounts for 12% of GDP (including fishing and forestry); cassava accounts for 90% of food output; other crops - rice, corn, peanuts, vegetables; cash crops include coffee and cocoa; forest products important export earner; imports over 90% of food needs

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-90), $63 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-90), $2.5 billion; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $15 million; Communist countries (1970-89), $338 million

Currency: 1 CFA franc (CFAF) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (CFAF) per US$1 - 529.43 (January 1994), 555.20 (1994), 283.16 (1993), 264.69 (1992), 282.11 (1991), 272.26 (1990)
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


total: 797 km (includes 285 km that are privately owned)
narrow gauge: 797 km 1.067-m gauge

total: 11,960 km
paved: 560 km
unpaved: gravel or crushed stone 850 km; improved earth 5,350 km; unimproved earth 5,200 km

Inland waterways: the Congo and Ubangi (Oubangui) Rivers provide 1,120 km of commercially navigable water transport; the rest are used for local traffic only

Pipelines: crude oil 25 km

Ports: Brazzaville, Impfondo, Ouesso, Oyo, Pointe-Noire

Merchant marine: none

total: 41
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 1
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
with paved runways under 914 m: 11
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 8
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 18


Telephone system: 18,100 telephones; 7 telephones/1,000 persons; services adequate for government use; key centers are Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, and Loubomo
local: NA
intercity: primary network consists of microwave radio relay and coaxial cable
international: 1 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT earth station

broadcast stations: AM 4, FM 1, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 4
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

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

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 568,663; males fit for military service 289,335; males reach military age (20) annually 24,749 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $110 million, 3.8% of GDP (1993)