Careers, Jobs and Education Resources for: Congo, Democratic Republic of the


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, the political opposition, and civil society. 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. (from the CIA)
 
 

 

Economic Overview

The economy of the democratic republic of the congo - a nation endowed with vast potential wealth - is slowly recovering from two decades of decline. conflict, which began in august 1998, dramatically reduced national output and government revenue, increased external debt, and resulted in the deaths of more than 3.5 million people from violence, famine, and disease. foreign businesses curtailed operations due to uncertainty about the outcome of the conflict, lack of infrastructure, and the difficult operating environment. conditions began to improve in late 2002 with the withdrawal of a large portion of the invading foreign troops. the transitional government reopened relations with international financial institutions and international donors, and president kabila has begun implementing reforms, although progress is slow and the international monetary fund curtailed their program for the drc at the end of march 2006 because of fiscal overruns. much economic activity still occurs in the informal sector, and is not reflected in gdp data. renewed activity in the mining sector, the source of most export income, boosted kinshasa's fiscal position and gdp growth. government reforms and improved security may lead to increased government revenues, outside budget assistance, and foreign direct investment, although an uncertain legal framework, corruption, and a lack of transparency in government policy are continuing long-term problems.

Environmental Issues

Poaching threatens wildlife populations; water pollution; deforestation; refugees responsible for significant deforestation, soil erosion, and wildlife poaching; mining of minerals (coltan - a mineral used in creating capacitors, diamonds, and gold) causing environmental damage

Government Type

Republic

Population

66,514,504 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, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (july 2008 est.)

Location

Central africa, northeast of angola

Area

Total: 2,345,410 sq km land: 2,267,600 sq km water: 77,810 sq km

Slightly less than one-fourth the size of the us

Country Aliases

Conventional long form: democratic republic of the congo conventional short form: none local long form: republique democratique du congo local short form: none former: congo free state, belgian congo, congo/leopoldville, congo/kinshasa, zaire abbreviation: drc

Capital

Name: kinshasa geographic coordinates: 4 19 s, 15 18 e time difference: utc+1 (six hours ahead of washington, dc during standard time)

Military Service

18-45 years of age for military service

International Disputes

Heads of the great lakes states and un pledged in 2004 to abate tribal, rebel, and militia fighting in the region, including northeast congo, where the un organization mission in the democratic republic of the congo (monuc), organized in 1999, maintains over 16,500 uniformed peacekeepers; members of uganda's lords resistance army forces continue to seek refuge in congo's garamba national park as peace talks with the uganda government evolve; the location of the boundary in the broad congo river with the republic of the congo is indefinite except in the pool malebo/stanley pool area; uganda and droc dispute rukwanzi island in lake albert and other areas on the semliki river with hydrocarbon potential; boundary commission continues discussions over congolese-administered triangle of land on the right bank of the lunkinda river claimed by zambia near the droc village of pweto

Sources: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

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