- Brief History
Africa Facts Zone presents Facts About Democratic Republic Of Congo.
Founded as a trading post in 1881 and named Leopoldville in honor of King Leopold II of the Belgians, who controlled the Congo Free State, the vast central African territory that became the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1960;
Facts About Democratic Republic Of Congo – Brief History
The history of Democratic Rebuplic of congo dates back to the Rise of Kongo Empire, centred in modern northern Angola and including extreme western Congo and territories round lakes Kisale and Upemba in central Katanga (now Shaba).
In the 16th-17th centuries – British, Dutch, Portuguese and French merchants engage in slave trade through Kongo intermediaries, while from 1870s – Belgian King Leopold II sets up a private venture to colonise Kongo.
The Democratic Republic Of 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 brutal force. Ethnic strife and civil war, touched off by a massive inflow of refugees in 1994 from conflict 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.
KABILA 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. In January 2001, KABILA was assassinated 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 the eastern DRC; two months later, the Pretoria Accord was signed by all remaining warring parties to end the fighting and establish a government of national unity. Presidential, National Assembly, and provincial legislatures took place in 2006, with Joseph KABILA elected to office.
National elections were held in November 2011 and disputed results allowed Joseph KABILA to be reelected to the presidency. While the DRC constitution barred President KABILA from running for a third term, the DRC Government delayed national elections originally slated for November 2016, to 30 December 2018. This failure to hold elections as scheduled fueled significant civil and political unrest, with sporadic street protests by KABILA’s opponents and exacerbation of tensions in the tumultuous eastern DRC regions. Presidential, legislative, and provincial elections were held in late December 2018 and early 2019 across most of the country. The DRC Government canceled presidential elections in the cities of Beni and Butembo (citing concerns over an ongoing Ebola outbreak in the region) as well as Yumbi (which had recently experienced heavy violence).
Opposition candidate Felix TSHISEKEDI was announced the election winner on 10 January 2019 and inaugurated two weeks later. This was the first transfer of power to an opposition candidate without significant violence or a coup since the DRC’s independence.
The DRC, particularly in the East, continues to experience violence perpetrated by more than 100 armed groups active in the region, including the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), and assorted Mai Mai militias. The UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) has operated in the region since 1999 and is the largest and most expensive UN peacekeeping mission in the world.
Facts About Democratic Republic Of Congo: Geograpghy
One other Facts About Democratic Republic Of Congo is that it is second largest country in Africa. It borders nine countries: Angola 2646 km (of which 225 km is the boundary of Angola’s discontiguous Cabinda Province), Burundi 236 km, Central African Republic 1747 km, Republic of the Congo 1229 km, Rwanda 221 km, South Sudan 714 km, Tanzania 479 km, Uganda 877 km, Zambia 2332 km.
Tropical; hot and humid in equatorial river basin; cooler and drier in southern highlands; cooler and wetter in eastern highlands; north of Equator – wet season (April to October), dry season (December to February); south of Equator – wet season (November to March), dry season (April to October).
Cobalt, copper, niobium, tantalum, petroleum, industrial and gem diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, uranium, coal, hydropower, timber.
Urban clusters are spread throughout the country, particularly in the northeast along the boarder with Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi; the largest city is the capital, Kinshasha, located in the west along the Congo River; the south is least densely populated.
People And Society
More than 200 African ethnic groups of which the majority are Bantu; the four largest tribes – Mongo, Luba, Kongo (all Bantu), and the Mangbetu-Azande (Hamitic) – make up about 45% of the population.
French (official), Lingala (a lingua franca trade language), Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili), Kikongo, Tshiluba.
Roman Catholic 29.9%, Protestant 26.7%, Kimbanguist 2.8%, other Christian 36.5%, Muslim 1.3%, other (includes syncretic sects and indigenous beliefs) 1.2%, none 1.3%, unspecified .2% (2014 est.).
The economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo – a nation endowed with vast natural resource wealth – continues to perform poorly. Systemic corruption since independence in 1960, combined with countrywide instability and intermittent conflict that began in the early-90s, has reduced national output and government revenue, and increased external debt. With the installation of a transitional government in 2003 after peace accords, economic conditions slowly began to improve as the government reopened relations with international financial institutions and international donors, and President KABILA began implementing reforms. Progress on implementing substantive economic reforms remains slow because of political instability, bureaucratic inefficiency, corruption, and patronage, which also dampen international investment prospects.
Renewed activity in the mining sector, the source of most export income, boosted Kinshasa’s fiscal position and GDP growth until 2015, but low commodity prices have led to slower growth, volatile inflation, currency depreciation, and a growing fiscal deficit. An uncertain legal framework, corruption, and a lack of transparency in government policy are long-term problems for the large mining sector and for the economy as a whole. Much economic activity still occurs in the informal sector and is not reflected in GDP data.
Poverty remains widespread in DRC, and the country failed to meet any Millennium Development Goals by 2015. DRC also concluded its program with the IMF in 2015. The price of copper – the DRC’s primary export – plummeted in 2015 and remained at record lows during 2016-17, reducing government revenues, expenditures, and foreign exchange reserves, while inflation reached nearly 50% in mid-2017 – its highest level since the early 2000s.
Coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber, tea, cotton, cocoa, quinine, cassava (manioc, tapioca), bananas, plantains, peanuts, root crops, corn, fruits; wood products.
mining (copper, cobalt, gold, diamonds, coltan, zinc, tin, tungsten), mineral processing, consumer products (textiles, plastics, footwear, cigarettes), metal products, processed foods and beverages, timber, cement, commercial ship repair.
Military & Security
Estimates of the size of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) vary widely, ranging from approximately 80,000 to 130,000 active troops (63-103,000 Land Forces; 7,000 Navy; 2-2,500 Air Force; 8-15,000 Republican Guard) (2019 est.)
The FARDC is equipped mostly with a mix of second-hand Russian and Soviet-era weapons acquired from Ukraine and other former Warsaw Pact nations, as well as some equipment provided by Brazil and France; most equipment was acquired between 1970 and 2000; since 2010, Ukraine is the largest supplier of arms to the FARDC (2019 est.)
Other Facts About Democratic Republic Of Congo From Facts City
The oldest national park in Africa is the Congo’s Virunga National Park. It is home to rare mountain gorillas, lions, and elephants. The park is currently under threat by the UK oil company, Soco, which has begun oil exploration there.
Former NBA All-Star Dikembe Mutombo was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 1997, he founded a humanitarian foundation to improve the health, education and quality of life for the people in the DRC.
Should you fancy a Ray Mears style trek through the DRC jungle, head for the coordinates 2.8800° S, 23.6560°
Whilst you’re visiting, make sure you don’t take any pictures of the locals; it is believed to remove their spirit, so they may not be too happy!
Residents here enjoy a topical climate with wet and dry seasons split above and below the equator – north of the equator has a dry season from December to February and wet from April to October, whilst south of the equator is the opposite, how strange!
Several species of animal are endemic to DRC, including the Bonobos and Eastern Lowland Gorilla.
The official currency of this country is the Congolese Franc.
French is the official language of DRC, however, around 700 native languages and dialects including Lingala, Kingwana, Kikongo and Tshiluba are also spoken here.
The international dialling code is +243