Democratic Republic of the Congo Overview

According to shoefrantics, Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state of equatorial Africa (342,000 km 2 and 1,300,100 residents in 1974) independent since 1960 and associated with the EEC, formerly a French colony with the name of Moyen Congo, which later became one of the four overseas territories into which the French equatorial Africa in 1946, and called the People’s Republic of Congo in 1970. It is divided into nine regions and has Brazzaville as its capital.

More than half of the territory is made up of that part of the Congolese basin that lies to the right of the Congo and Ubangui, on which the long border with Zaire runs. This basin, formed mainly by recent floods, is emerging towards the west in a plateau of secondary and tertiary sandstones that lean to the west on a largely crystalline ridge parallel to the coast, from which they descend towards the Congo and Ubangui and towards the coastal plain there are streams of great erosive force, so that the shapes of the relief are characterized by sunken valleys and deep gorges.

The ridge ends on a coastal plain, bordered by dunes and lagoons. Being cut in half by the Equator, it falls within the domain of the equatorial climate, barely mitigated by the altitude on the mountains and the Benguela current on the coast, so that the rains are abundant everywhere and high temperatures (in Brazzaville, at 309 m. S. m., 25 ° 7 in January and 22 ° in July, 1400 mm of rain), the regime of the rivers is very regular and the rainforest is quite widespread, if we exclude some areas in the north of the country, in the area close to the Massif of Maiumbe and in the coastal plain, where the savannah is present. The Congo-Ubangui is the great inland navigable artery, but most of their tributaries are also navigable for long stretches and integrate the land transport network.

The population has a high annual growth rate (2.2%), so much so that it has gone from about 800,000 residents in 1960 to 1,300,000 in 1974, and consists mainly of Bantu (Bakongo 40%; Bateke 16%).

Brazzaville, capital since 1910 of French equatorial Africa and then of Democratic Republic of the Congo, is the main urban center, in rapid development (310,500 residents In 1974, but 136,000 in 1962). The second city is Pointe Noire (80,000 residents In 1962), the port of the country, connected with Brazzaville by rail, one of the two railways that on the opposite sides of the Democratic Republic of the Congo allow you to bypass the floodgates of the great river from Stanley Pool to sea. The official language is French, but dialects of the Bantu group are commonly used. Apart from the Catholic and Protestant minorities, pagan cults are practiced. Democratic Republic of the Congo is among the most developed countries in equatorial Africa, having made significant progress in health, education and transport.

Agriculture is based, in addition to cereals (millet, corn, rice), on cassava, yam and bananas, while the crops for export products are cotton, coffee, peanuts, which have spread mainly in recent decades. The forest, burned over large areas, is still flourishing in the south of the country and yields large quantities of valuable timber (over 2 million m 3in 1971), which constitutes the main export item (56%). The industry is essentially linked to the processing of soil products (oil mills, sawmills), while the subsoil gives modest quantities of diamonds, gold, copper, zinc, and seems to contain large quantities of hydrocarbons. The hydroelectric possibilities are noteworthy, only partially exploited (plants on the Niari), but recent projects foresee a strong increase in the production of electricity for industrial purposes, especially for the processing of copper and aluminum (Pointe Noire). The new cooperation treaty with France (1974) should contribute to a more rapid development of the country. Communications are difficult, as in any equatorial environment, but they make use of the port of Pointe Noire on the sea and that of Brazzaville in the interior.

Democratic Republic of the Congo Overview