The Democratic Republic of the Congo (/ˈkɒŋɡ/French pronunciation: [kɔ̃ɡo]; French: République démocratique du Congo), also known as DR CongoDRCDROCCongo-Kinshasa, or simply the Congo[6][7] is acountry located in Central Africa. From 1971 to 1997 it was named Zaire, and from 1908 to 1960 it was called the Belgian Congo. The DRC borders the Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, and South Sudan to the north; UgandaRwandaBurundi and Tanzania to the east; Zambia and Angola to the south; and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and southwest. It is the second largest country in Africa by area, the largest inSubsaharan Africa, and the eleventh largest in the world. With a population of over 80 million,[1] the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most populated officially Francophone country, the fourth most populated nation in Africa and the eighteenth most populated country in the world.

The Congolese Civil Wars, which began in 1996, brought about the end of Mobutu Sese Seko's 32-year reign[1] and devastated the country. The wars ultimately involved nine African nations, multiple groups of UN peacekeepers and twenty armed groups,[8][9] and resulted in the deaths of 5.4 million people.[10][11][12][13]

The Democratic Republic of Congo is extremely rich in natural resources, but political instability, a lack of infrastructure, deep rooted corruption, and centuries of both commercial and colonial extraction and exploitation have limited holistic development. Besides the capital, Kinshasa, the other major cities, Lubumbashi and Mbuji-Mayi, are both mining communities. DR Congo's largest export is raw minerals, with China accepting over 50% of DRC's exports in 2012. As of 2013, according to the Human Development Index (HDI), DR Congo has a low level of human development, ranking 176 out of 187 countries.[5]

 

The Republic of the Congo (FrenchRépublique du Congo), also known as the Congo Republic,[5] Congo-Brazzaville or simply Congo, is a country located in Central Africa. It is bordered by five countries: Gabonand the Atlantic Ocean to the west; Cameroon to the northwest; the Central African Republic to the northeast; the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the east and south; and the Angolan exclave of Cabinda to the southwest.

The region was dominated by Bantu-speaking tribes, who built trade links leading into the Congo River basin. Congo-Brazzaville was formerly part of the French colony of Equatorial Africa.[1] Upon independence in 1960, the former colony of French Congo became the Republic of the Congo. The People's Republic of the Congo was a Marxist–Leninist one-party state from 1970 to 1991. Multi-party elections have been held since 1992, although a democratically elected government was ousted in the 1997 Republic of the Congo Civil War and President Denis Sassou Nguesso has ruled for 26 of the past 36 years.

 

The political stability and development of hydrocarbon production made Republic of the Congo the fourth largest oil producer in the Gulf of Guinea and provided the country with a relative prosperity despite the poor state of its infrastructure and public services and an unequal distribution of oil revenues.

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