Democratic Republic of Congo
|République Démocratique du Congo (French)
Republiki ya Kongó Demokratiki (Kikongo)
Ditunga dia Kongu wa Mungalaata ( Tschiluba )
Republika ya Kongo ya Dimokalasi (Lingála)
Jamhuri ya Kidemokrasia ya Kongo (Swahili)
|Democratic Republic of Congo|
Motto : " Paix, Justice, Travail "
French for "Peace, Justice, Work"
next Kikongo , Lingala , Swahili and Tshiluba as national languages
|Form of government||republic|
|Government system||Semi-presidential system of government|
|Head of state||
|Head of government||
|population||85,281,024 (2018; estimate)|
|Population density||36 inhabitants per km²|
|Population development||+ 2.77% per year|
gross domestic product
|Human Development Index||0.457 ( 176th ) (2017)|
|currency||Congo Franc (CDF)|
|independence||June 30, 1960 (from Belgium )|
|National anthem||Debout Congolais|
|National holiday||June 30th (Independence Day)|
UTC + 1
UTC + 2
|ISO 3166||CD , COD, 180|
The Democratic Republic of the Congo ( German [ ˈkʰɔŋgo ], French [ kɔ̃ˈgo ], abbreviated DR Congo ), from 1971 to 1997 Zaire (French Zaïre ), also known as Congo-Kinshasa or simply Congo , is a republic in Central Africa . It borders (clockwise from the north) with the Central African Republic , South Sudan , Uganda , Rwanda , Burundi , Tanzania , Zambia , Angola , the Atlantic and the Republic of the Congo . The DR Congo is the second largest in area (behind Algeria ) and the fourth largest in population in Africa . The country is crossed by the equator ; there is a tropical climate. Large parts of the national territory are covered by tropical rainforest .
The approximately 80 million inhabitants can be divided into more than 200 ethnic groups. There is a great variety of languages, the lingua franca is French . About half of the population professes the Catholic Church , the other half is divided between Kimbanguists , other Christian churches, traditional religions and Islam . The capital Kinshasa is the third largest city in Africa with over 13 million inhabitants . Cities with over a million inhabitants are Lubumbashi , Mbuji-Mayi , Mbandaka , Kananga and Kisangani .
The area of the current state came under Belgian colonial rule in 1885 . The rule of the Belgian King Leopold II is considered to be one of the cruellest colonial regimes . After independence in 1960, the country was ruled by Mobutu Sese Seko for 32 years after several years of internal political conflicts . In 1997 Mobutu was overthrown by the rebel leader Laurent-Désiré Kabila . The change in power was followed by another civil war , known as the African World War due to the involvement of numerous African states . A peace agreement was signed in 2002. But fighting continues to this day in the east of the country. For the first time since 1965, free elections were held in 2006 . In the 2019 Democracy Index, however, the country only ranks 166th out of 167.
Despite its wealth of raw materials, the state is one of the poorest countries in the world today, due to decades of exploitation, corruption, years of wars and constant population growth. The country was ranked 179th out of 189 states on the United Nations Human Development Index in 2019.
The name of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has changed several times in the past. At times the country used the same official name as the neighboring state of the Republic of the Congo. The following table gives an overview of the historical names:
|Historical naming of the territories of the Congo|
|former Belgian colony||former French colony (A)||former Portuguese protectorate|
|1877 colonized||1880 colonized (G)||
|from 1885 Congo Free State||from 1903 Central Congo|
from 1908 Belgian Congo
||1910 French Congo|
|from 1958 Republic of the Congo||
under joint administration with Angola
|June 30, 1960 independence||August 15, 1960 independence|
1960 Republic of the Congo (called Congo-Léopoldville )
1960 Proclamation of the Free Republic of Congo by lumumbist insurgents
(recognized by 26 states, after about a year smashed by government troops)
1960 Congolese Republic
(called Congo-Brazzaville )
1961 Federal Republic of the Congo (called Congo-Léopoldville )  , 
1964 Proclamation of the People's Republic of the Congo by insurgents in Stanleyville
(only recognized by 7 states, smashed by government troops after a few months)
|1964 Democratic Republic of the Congo (called Congo-Léopoldville ) ||
1965 Republic of the Congo
(called Congo-Brazzaville )
|1966 Democratic Republic of the Congo (called Congo-Kinshasa )|
|1971 Republic of Zaire||
1969 People's Republic of the Congo
occupied by Angola
draft constitution of the National Sovereign Conference suspended by Mobutu
since 1997 Democratic Republic of the Congo
since 1991 Republic of the Congo
since 1975 Cabinda ,
province ( exclave ) of Angola
As the second largest country in Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo covers an area of 2,344,885 km² and is thus 6.6 times as large as Germany and 76.9 times as large as the area of the former colonial power Belgium .
It is located on the equator in Central Africa . Because flora and fauna are very diverse, the country has a very high natural spatial potential. That is why the opinion of many experts is that the Democratic Republic of the Congo would be one of the leading African states today had it not been for colonial exploitation and ethnic conflicts.
The Congo Basin with its tropical rainforests takes up around 60 percent of the country . It is bounded in all directions by mountain ranges with heights of 500 to 1000 meters. In the south it is bounded by the Katanga mountain country (former name: Shaba mountain country ), which is part of the Lundaschwelle . In the south and east of the country, the mountain ranges rise to high mountains like the Mitumba Mountains and the Kundelungu Mountains in the south and the Central African Sill and Virunga volcanoes in the east. They reach heights of up to 4,500 meters and are rich in mineral resources such as copper and uranium . The highest point is the Margherita Peak at 5109 meters in the Ruwenzori Mountains on the border with Uganda.
The largest and longest river that flows through the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the Congo at 4,374 kilometers in length. It is the second longest river on the African continent after the Nile . Measured by its water flow of 39,160 m³ / s, it is the largest river in Africa and the second largest river in the world. The Congo rises in the south of the country in the province of Haut-Katanga in the Mitumba Mountains and flows about 1000 kilometers to the north, from where it is diverted to the west-southwest. There is also an inland delta here . He then forms the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo , before finally into the Atlantic Ocean flows . Numerous rivers flow into the Congo. With a water flow of 9,873 m³ / s by far the largest of these tributaries is the Kasai coming from Angola , which also has several tributaries and rises in the mountains in the south. A left tributary of the Congo, the Lomami , which also rises in the south , has its headwaters in the province of Haut-Lomami . The largest tributary of the Congo coming from the north is the Ubangi , which almost over its entire length forms the border with the Central African Republic and the Republic of the Congo. The 40 km long coast north of the confluence of the Congo into the ocean is the only opening to the Atlantic Ocean. The two port cities Muanda and Banana are located here ; there are also oil deposits there. In the east of the country is the chain of lakes of the Great African Rift , which forms the eastern border. These include (from north to south) Lake Albert , Lake Eduard , Lake Kiwu and Lake Tanganyika . It also harbors important natural resources. Natural gas was found here, for example, and gold and tin in the east and northeast.
The oxisol soils in the Congo Basin are often heavily weathered and show only low fertility, while the higher areas in the north and south are fertile and are used for agriculture.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, due to its geographic location, there is an equatorial climate. In most parts of the country there is therefore a very warm, tropical, humid climate with an average temperature of around 20 ° C in the dry season and around 30 ° C in the rainy season . The climate is relatively little influenced by seasons such as dry and rainy seasons. Nevertheless, there are regional disparities due to the very large land area .
The equator runs through the northern center of the country, in which the cities of Mbandaka and Kisangani are located. In this area, which is around 300 kilometers wide, there is heavy rainfall all year round, averaging around 1500–2000 mm, while the temperature remains constant at around 26 ° C.
Kinshasa's climate is characterized by an annual average temperature of over 25 ° C and an alternation between the dry seasons (four months in total) and the rainy seasons, which are most extreme in the months of November and April. A total of around 1400 mm of rain falls in Kinshasa throughout the year.
In the north of the country, the large proportion of forest, which is typical of the equatorial climate, leaves room for tree savannah . The dry season begins there, contrary to the south, usually two to three months before the turn of the year and ends around two to three months after the turn of the year. This is why around 90% of the annual precipitation falls here between March and November.
A zone of the tropical climate begins in the south, with a dry season (three to six months, usually May to September) and a rainy season (six to nine months, usually October to April). In Lubumbashi in the Haut-Katanga province, for example, there are even six months of relative dryness and very pronounced day-night temperature fluctuations.
The mountainous eastern part of the country is characterized by an altitude climate and is significantly cooler compared to the other areas. Since the temperature there drops by an average of 1 ° C for every 80 meters of altitude, there are significant climatic and ecological differences in the rise of the mountains in the Virunga National Park and the slope of the Ruwenzori Mountains . Even snowfall is not uncommon at the highest points in these areas . This is also where most of the country's precipitation falls.
There is also a small zone of maritime climate . In the small coastal area in the far west, where the Congo River flows into, the cold Benguela Current lowers the temperature and amount of precipitation significantly, so that in the city of Boma, for example, there is an average of less than 800 mm of precipitation per year.
Flora and fauna
The largest remaining rainforest areas in Africa are located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since there is a very large number of endemic species, genera and families of plants and animals and diverse ecosystems , in addition to a very large variety of species and biodiversity , the state is counted among the megadiversity countries of this earth. The Ruwenzori Mountains are listed as a biodiversity hotspot due to their high risk .
Around two thirds of the country's area is covered by tropical rain and mountain forests. At higher altitudes near the equator there are mainly mountain rainforests , cloud forests and cloud forests . Here you will mainly find trees and plants with long trunks, thin tree bark and firm leaves. Examples are the rubber tree and hardwood plants such as the teak tree and mahogany plants . There are also oil palms , strangler figs and epiphytes such as orchids . North and south of the rainforest region are strips of wet savannah that are 200 and 500 kilometers wide . This distribution is due to precipitation and is based on the intra-tropical convergence zone (ITC). One genus of plants found in the wet savannah area is the milkweed . The wet savannah finally changes into the dry savannah with Miombo forest areas . The typical vegetation there consists mainly of acacias and succulents .
Although some mammals like the lion , the leopard , the rhinoceros , the elephant , the zebra , the jackal , the hyena and a number of antelope species prefer to live in the savannah regions, there are many different mammal species, mainly due to the high proportion of forest with a total of 415 in the country. In particular, five as a UNESCO World Heritage excellent reserves, four national parks Garamba , Kahuzi-Biéga , Salonga and Virunga and the Okapi Wildlife Reserve , are an important habitat for many mammals such as bonobos , eastern gorillas , okapi and African buffalo . Especially the variety of Great apes is remarkable: The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the only country in the world to be home to three great ape species: in addition to gorillas and bonobos, there are also chimpanzees . However, these can hardly be found there and are acutely threatened with extinction. The situation of the bonobos is also threatening: The population of the animal species, which cannot be observed in freedom anywhere else in the world, is currently estimated at around 3,000 animals in the national territory. Before the 1980s, that number was over 100,000. The main reason for the extinction of the great apes are poachers who sell the bushmeat as a delicacy in the cities.
The problem of species extinction also exists in other mammals . However, in contrast to the delicacy of monkey meat, other threatened animal species are hunted mainly because of the immense protein requirement of the rapidly growing population due to the very high fertility rate of women. Hunting protected animal species is often vital for rural residents. But in this way, the populations of some wild animal species have shrunk so much that some species could be extinct in around 50 years, according to research forecasts.
The other animal classes can also be found in large numbers. There are 268 different reptile species and over a thousand fish and bird species each . The number of insect species is also very large . There are over 1300 different types of butterflies alone . In no other country in the world is this value higher.
The indigenous population of today's state consisted of pygmies , who are now only a small minority. Bantu peoples immigrated for centuries . Different forms of society emerged: from hunters and gatherers to arable populations to larger states.
Among the states there, the Kingdom of the Congo , founded in the 14th century and one of the largest African states ever, emerged. In the 15th century, Portuguese sailors around Diogo Cão explored the area of the Congo estuary and established diplomatic relations with the Congo Empire in 1491. King Nzinga a Nkuwu († 1509) (later also João I of Congo) was baptized and sent emissaries to Lisbon . A brief phase of almost equal treatment began between the Congo and Portugal.
In modern times the Congo Empire delivered slaves to the American colonies, and the income from the slave trade gave rise to a wealthy upper class in the African port cities.
From the 16th century onwards, the Congo Empire was in decline. By the end of the 17th century, the kingdom was completely destroyed, as well as being exploited and looted by slave hunters. After this collapse, the Portuguese supremacy was replaced by that of the Dutch and British . At the beginning of the 18th century the Congo Empire had almost completely disintegrated. In 1866 the last Portuguese left.
In the 1870s, Henry Morton Stanley from Welsh was the first European to travel to the hinterland. He proposed that the Congo be incorporated into the British colonial empire . The British government refused because it was primarily interested in the sources of the Nile.
"Congo Free State" / Belgian colonial times
The Belgian King Leopold II, however, fascinated by the idea of a colonial empire for a long time, wanted to take the opportunity. In 1885, Leopold took over the Congo as his “private property” following the Congo Conference . In nominal terms, the newly created state was completely independent from the colonial power of Belgium. The Congo Free State had its own government in Boma , which only Leopold had to account for, its own army (the " Force Publique "), and its own diplomatic missions in other states. The local population was excluded from the state's political and military elites. This status beyond all international law was unique in all of colonial history. Since all of its inhabitants were viewed as unlawful private property along with the Congo, the economic exploitation ( rubber boom ) led to such cruel excesses that, as the so-called Congo Abominations in 1908 , they caused a stir and outrage around the world and Leopold for the surrender of the Congo as " normal “colony forced to the Belgian state.
Although conditions improved a little, the Congo and its people were still being exploited by the authoritarian colonial power Belgium.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo was originally administered as the Belgian Congo by a legislative assembly and regional assemblies made up of only Europeans appointed by colonial authorities. By the late 1950s there was a greater turnout of Africans, but not full voting rights until independence when the colony was renamed Zaire .
With the global striving for independence in the colonies, the pressure for state self-determination also grew in the Congo. After the first unrest in the capital Léopoldville and under pressure from the world’s public, Belgium suddenly withdrew from the Congo at the beginning of 1959, leaving behind a chaos.
Independence and the Congo Crisis
On June 30, 1960, the "Republic of the Congo" became independent. Joseph Kasavubu , leader of the Alliance des Bakongo (ABAKO), became president. The important Pan-Africanist and leader of the Congolese independence movement, Patrice Lumumba , became the first prime minister of the young country, which he was unable to hold together due to a lack of skilled workers and in view of secessionist aspirations, especially in the Katanga province . In particular, the continuous interventions of Belgium, the USA , but also the Soviet Union gradually tore the young nation apart. Lumumba was eventually deposed and arrested by the military. Although he was able to escape custody briefly, he was arrested again a short time later, handed over to his opponent Moïse Tschombé - the secessionist leader in Katanga - and then murdered. The involvement of the CIA and the Belgian secret service was confirmed in 2000, which is why the Belgian Public Prosecutor's Office opened an investigation in 2012.
In 1965, Lumumba's former assistant, Joseph Mobutu , launched one of the longest and most corrupt kleptocratic dictatorships in Africa in the decades that followed . Moïse Tschombé was able to rule over parts of the Congo with a mercenary army, which consisted mostly of Europeans. A high point of mercenary activity in the Congo was the occupation of Bukavu by Tschombé's European mercenaries from August to November 1967. Mobutu began to Africanize the country and tried to eliminate European influences in the country. European companies were nationalized.
The Referendum Act N ° 67-223 Enactment Act of May 3, 1967 recognized the right of all Congolese, regardless of gender, to participate in the constitutional referendum. This introduced women's suffrage . The law on the elections to the legislative assembly and the presidential elections of April 17, 1970 gave men and women explicitly the right to stand as a candidate, as was already provided for in the 1967 constitution.
In 1971 the country was renamed Zaire . Mobutu established a one-party state with a bizarre personality cult , which received considerable support from Western countries, and for it fought against the influence of the Soviet Union in Africa. In 1977/78 the Shaba invasion of the Front national de liberation du Congo of the rebel leader Nathaniel Mbumba from Angola was suppressed with international, including Belgian and French military aid for the government of Mobutu Sese Seko ( Battle of Kolwezi ).
Under the impression of the decline of the Zairean economy and the end of the East-West conflict, Mobutu agreed to a gradual democratization of the country from 1990 onwards , but this did not lead to success. Instead, the end of Mobutu's dictatorship began with the genocide in Rwanda , as a result of which hundreds of thousands of the Hutu involved in the genocide fled to Zaire. An alliance of the new Rwandan Tutsi government and various Mobutu opponents finally succeeded within a few months in conquering the whole of Zaire and overthrowing the seriously ill and internationally isolated Mobutu. The rebel leader Laurent-Désiré Kabila became the new president in 1997 and renamed Zaire to the Democratic Republic of the Congo . The former allies had quickly fallen out, and in 1998 rebel organizations supported by Rwanda tried again to conquer the country from the east. An intervention by Angola and Zimbabwe on the part of Kabila was able to avert the overthrow of the government, and years of trench warfare developed; the country was eventually split into several spheres of power. Lengthy negotiations ended the war in 2003, and all warring parties formed a joint transitional government.
The Congo War had a serious socio-economic impact on the country. The economy and social systems, which were already on the ground before the war, collapsed completely, and entire areas were largely depopulated. The number of victims is unknown; projections assume more than three million indirect war victims.
post war period
Laurent-Désiré Kabila was assassinated in January 2001 , and his son Joseph Kabila inherited his position as President. Joseph Kabila finally won the election provided for in the peace treaty in 2006 , making him the first freely elected President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1965. With Kabila, for the first time since 1960, a man is leading the state who is ready for talks to pacify and stabilize the region . In the way, however, stands the almost complete disintegration of the country's infrastructure, administration and economy and in particular the plundering of the extremely resource-rich eastern provinces of the Congo, in which the central government is almost completely powerless, by Uganda , Rwanda and various local rulers.
Conflict in Eastern Congo
Even after the end of the Second Congo War, an armed conflict continues in the Kivu and Ituri areas in the east because the local militias there were not involved in the peace negotiations.
The conflict escalated between August 2007 and January 2009: In the third Congo War , the Congolese armed forces, UN troops of MONUC and May-May militias fought against the rebels of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) led by Tutsi Laurent Nkunda , a former general of the rebel organization RCD . Nkunda claimed to be defending the local Tutsi population against Hutu extremists from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), who operate on Congolese territory and whom Nkunda accuses of collaborating with the Congolese government.
At the end of 2008 the CNDP conquered ever larger areas in North Kivu, negotiations between the government and the rebels, mediated by the UN, were unsuccessful. In December 2008, the Congolese government and Rwanda signed an agreement to jointly combat the FDLR. Rwandan soldiers marched into the Congo and arrested Nkunda, who had been declared deposed by the CNDP a few days earlier. In March 2009 the government and the CNDP signed a peace agreement. Hopes that after the end of the CNDP and the cooperation between the Congolese government and Rwanda in the fight against the FDLR a pacification of the eastern provinces would be possible, were not fulfilled.
From around 2010 dozens of armed groups operated in the Kivu provinces. Their strengths range from a few dozen to several thousand fighters. Deserted soldiers from the FARDC or other security forces are involved in many groups . The largest are the FDLR, the Raïa Mutomboki , the Alliance des patriotes pour un Congo libre et souverain and the Nyatura . The March 23 Movement was founded in April 2012 by former members of the CNDP out of dissatisfaction with the implementation of the peace agreement. She gained significant control in the Rutshuru territory and caused a sensation by taking the provincial capital Goma in the meantime . After several failed rounds of negotiations with the government and the establishment of a UN reaction force, it was finally defeated militarily in early November 2013.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo had just over 85 million inhabitants in 2018, making it the fourth most populous country in Africa. The population density is rather low with a little more than 30.2 inhabitants per km². At almost 3%, population growth is among the highest in the world; each woman has an average of 6.3 children. In 2016, 41.2% of the population was under 15 years old, the median age was 18.4 years. According to Fund For Peace , the country has the most problematic demographic development of all countries in a global comparison . In 2016 the population was already estimated at 81.3 million. The annual population growth was 2.4% or about 2 million people. For the middle of the century, the DR Congo will have 197 million inhabitants.
A census was last held in 1984; since then the population has more than doubled. The Congo therefore also has one of the youngest populations in the world: 46.9% of the population are younger than 15 years, only 2.5% are older than 65 years. The life expectancy is in the period from 2010 to 2015, 56.7 years for men and 59.5 years for women. During the civil wars from the mid-1990s onwards, there was a pronounced rural exodus that continues to this day ; between 2005 and 2010 the urban population grew by an average of 5.1% annually.
By far the largest agglomeration in the country is the capital Kinshasa with around 12 million inhabitants. This means that 14% of the population of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is concentrated in this area. In addition to the greater Kinshasa region, the population is mainly concentrated in the mining provinces of Katanga , Kasai-Occidental and Kasai-Oriental .
The urban population is increasing sharply in almost all major cities of the state due to ongoing rural exodus. In 2015, 42.5% of the population lived in urban areas; the growth rate between 2010 and 2015 was around 4% annually. In the east of the country, the number of inhabitants can fluctuate considerably due to the movement of refugees. In 2008, according to UN figures, between 500,000 and a million people were on the run there.
Ethnic groups were also constructed in the Congo during the colonial period. Some of these ethnic identities are based on premodern tribal affiliations, while others, such as the Baluba , have been completely redesigned. Today there are well over 200 ethnic groups in the DRC. About 80% of the members of these ethnic groups see themselves as Bantu . Most of the country’s inhabitants are attributed to only a few ethnic groups, including the four large Bantu peoples: The two largest groups are Bakongo (16%) and Baluba (18%), along with the Mongo (13%) and the Banjaruanda (10%) ) strong in numbers.
The remaining 20% of the country's inhabitants are made up of 18% Sudan-speaking peoples, 2% Nilots and 20,000 to 50,000 pygmies . Of the 100,000 or so Europeans (mostly Belgians) who lived in the country at the time of independence, around 20,000 have remained to this day.
Even before independence, the Belgian colonial power stoked rivalries between the ethnic groups; these are cited to this day as the main cause of the wars and conflicts in the country.
In 2017, 0.8% of the population was born abroad. 280,000 refugees from the Central African Republic live in the country. Other larger groups of foreigners come from Rwanda and Angola.
There is a linguistic diversity in the Democratic Republic that is as great as the diversity of ethnic groups in the country: Overall, the number of languages and dialects in the Congo is given as 214. Due to its colonial past, French is the official, literary and educational language. There are also four official national languages: Lingála , Kikongo , Tschiluba and a Congolese variant of Swahili , the spelling of which was regulated in 1974. These, too, were set by Belgium during the colonial era in order to limit the diversity of languages. Kikongo is the language of the former Congo Empire and is also widespread in the neighboring countries of the Republic of the Congo and Angola, while Tshiluba is mainly spoken in the two provinces of Kasai-Occidental and Kasai-Oriental . The origin of the Lingála is in the country itself. This language, which can be assigned to the Bangala ethnic group , spread along the rivers from the Équateur region . This spread was encouraged by the Europeans, who used it as a language of communication, later by the dictatorship of Mobutu, who addressed his people through the media on Lingala, and today by pop music. Swahili is a lingua franca in the whole of East Africa, which, although it has few native speakers in the Congo, also has this status in the east of the country. In addition, after the end of the Mobutu regime, Swahili became the official army language and thus increasingly popular throughout the country. Article 1 of the constitution defines French as the “official language”: “… langues nationales sont le kikongo, le lingala, le swahili et le tshiluba”. According to Article 142, all laws must be published in these languages within 60 days. In the east of the country, Swahili is the predominant language of communication and is also used in schools and government offices. Other languages are, for example, Kiluba , Chokwe and Kituba , which are closely related to Tschiluba .
In the national media there is largely equal distribution among the four languages; however, the regional language is preferred in the regional media. The written language is still French, but in the recent past French-language texts have often been linked with words in the local languages, which often have the function of a stylistic device.
|Religious community||Proportion of the
|Roman Catholic Church||50%|
Note: The values are
estimates by the German Foreign Office,
other information may differ significantly.
Indigenous belief systems mostly revolve around the spirits of the ancestors and witches and sorcerers (ndoki) who can communicate with them. Furthermore, one believes in the existence of spirits of water, fertility and similar powers (mbumba) , which are either invisible or in the form of natural objects (specially shaped rocks, trees or people with special properties such as albinos ) and accept them accordingly to be worshiped. The idea of demons to protect oneself from requires the creation of fetishes and other objects.
The dominant religion is Christianity and within it the Roman Catholic Church . Even after the first contact with the Portuguese explorers under Diogo Cão in 1482, missionaries stayed in the country. The first schools were built at the beginning of the 16th century, and the king and his immediate surroundings were persuaded to be baptized. Along with Angola and Mozambique, the region of the Congo Estuary is one of those areas in Africa where the Portuguese's missionary efforts were most successful.
After the collapse of the kingdom, there was a second phase of proselytizing in the 19th century. In 1878 Protestant missionaries established a first post in what is now the port city of Matadi . The earliest Catholic mission of this "second evangelization of the Congo" originated in 1880 in Boma . The Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae, CICM) took over the "Apostolic Vicariate of the Belgian Congo" founded in 1886 and established mission stations in Kwamouth (1888) and Leopoldville (1899). In 1892 Jesuits founded their first mission station in Kwango . Other orders followed. In 1906, an agreement between the Vatican and Leopold II guaranteed the Belgian Catholic missions 100 to 200 hectares of permanent land ownership. The condition was that each mission station had a school under state supervision for agricultural and craft training. After the First World War, 22 mission societies operated the Congo Mission from Belgium. The school system in particular was in Catholic hands. In 1926, all state schools in the Congo were entrusted to the Catholic missions, with the colonial government providing considerable sums for the operation. Non-Catholic schools did not receive state support until 1946. The prerequisite for the children's school attendance was baptism. In 1930 there were 640,000 Catholics (ten percent of the total population). In 1959 there were 5.5 million (40 percent). With the system of mission stations, which brought together church, school and hospital in one place, the Catholic Church developed an infrastructure throughout the country that has been preserved to this day. She grew into a powerful force in society.
The relationship between church and state was shaped by various tendencies until state independence. Due to their proximity to the local population, the first missionaries saw differences between the colonial system of economic exploitation and a development according to Christian-social ideas and were often critical of King Leopold II's enterprise. However, the large mission stations after the First World War tied the missionaries more closely into the colonial system. Leading church representatives were reluctant to approve the independence movement.
At the beginning of the 1970s, Mobutu stood up against Christianity and the Catholic Church with his campaign of “authenticity”. Christian first names were banned. The Catholic schools and the Catholic university were nationalized. The schools were later returned to the church, as the state apparatus was unable to cope with their administration and leadership. In the 1970s, local sister congregations came into being. More blacks were ordained priests, and leadership positions in the Church were filled with Africans. The Vatican officially recognized a specially designed Zairian mass rite .
The Catholic Church played an important role in the beginning of democratization in the early 1990s. Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya , then Archbishop of Kisangani and later Archbishop of Kinshasa, was elected President of the National Conference (Conférence Nationale Souveraine). When Mobutu dissolved the national conference in January 1992, large parts of the population protested with the famous “March of the Christians”. After the fall of Mobutu and the wars that followed, the leaders of religious communities called for peace and called for democratization processes. The Bishops' Conference has set up a permanent office to support the democratization process. In the conflict between African states, the Catholic Church is committed to dialogue and reconciliation at the level of the joint Bishops' Conference of Burundi, Rwanda and Congo. Financially and partly also in terms of personnel, she is still dependent on other countries. Since November 2010, the country has also had a cardinal entitled to a conclave, Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya .
In 1878 the first Protestant missionaries came to the Congo region. During the existence of the Congo Free State (1885-1908), some of them publicized the abusive treatment and exploitation of native workers by the colonial societies and the colonial administration. This led to the fact that Leopold II had to hand over his "Free State" to Belgium. In contrast to the Catholic Church, which was more closely linked to the state and colonial societies, the Protestant missionaries initially had less trust from the government and only received state support for the hospitals and schools they ran after the Second World War.
The colonial state had assigned different territories to the various mission societies. About 46 Protestant groups were active at the time of the declaration of independence, mostly from North America, Great Britain and Scandinavia. At first they were loosely connected in a committee. They later joined together to form the “Eglise du Christ” (“Church of Christ”). This network was heavily controlled by the dictator Mobutu. Since independence, mission society ownership and internal management positions increasingly passed into the hands of locals. The Mobutu government sought to counterbalance the criticism of the powerful Catholic Church through close ties to the leadership of the “Church of Christ”. In return, the government helped the Protestant Confederation of Churches to prevent new religious movements and splinter groups from spreading through legal and formal obstacles.
The Kimbanguist Church is counted among the African churches . It was founded during the colonial days by Simon Kimbangu , who posed as the savior of the blacks from Belgian oppression. The Kimbanguists survived the fight by the colonial power and today have between 5 million and 10 million followers, depending on the source.
The Pentecostal Combat Spirit, which has spread to Europe, has its center in the Congo and around 50,000 members in Kinshasa alone. President Joseph Kabila is the most prominent supporter of this religious group. The Combat Spirituel has been viewed critically by the public since it became known that isolated members carry out violent exorcism rites on children. The leadership of the church distances itself from these incidents, but professes a fundamental belief in the witchcraft of children.
Numerous other Christian micro-churches and sects have formed since independence, the number of which has increased from a dozen in the 1960s to over 1,000 today. They are often formed around charismatic, economically successful people, with magical practices playing an important role (e.g. invulnerability of warriors through the administration of holy water). There is often a close interweaving of religious and success-oriented material motives.
The population of the Congo is among the poorest in the world. A 2006 study by the Congolese government revealed the following figures: 76% of the population could not send their children to school, 79% were malnourished, 81% had insufficient housing and 82% had no access to medical care. In 2012, according to the World Bank, 77.1% of the population lived on less than $ 2 a day and thus in absolute poverty. Poverty is distributed quite differently , with the highest values recorded in the poorest province of Equateur or in the Kivu provinces particularly hard hit by the war .
In the provinces of Ituri, Kivu and Kasai in the east of the country, around five million people suffered from hunger in 2018; more than 13 million people in total are dependent on humanitarian assistance.
The country's social system is one of the worst in the world. In theory, the exemplary social security system from the colonial era is still in force. In fact, however, it is not functional, if only because there are hardly any permanent jobs today. From 1992 the government completely stopped the maintenance of the social systems for years. State employees no longer received salaries. After the fall of Mobutu, the new government tried to pay salaries again. However, this only happened irregularly and was not enough to make a living. It became common practice that every citizen paid direct for government services. Such payments are made to both teachers and doctors as well as to officials or police officers are in the Congolese French as la motivation referred. Attempts by the government to ban this practice and to re-pay civil servants' salaries have had little success: Neither citizens nor employees trust the government that they will be paid regularly. Social services are mainly run by the Catholic Church, which is one of the reasons that it enjoys a high reputation among the population.
|1950-1955||39.1 years||1985-1990||48.3 years|
|1955-1960||40.6 years||1990-1995||49.6 years|
|1960-1965||41.6 years||1995-2000||48.9 years|
|1965-1970||43.0 years||2000-2005||51.8 years|
|1970-1975||44.8 years||2005-2010||55.5 years|
|1975-1980||45.6 years||2010-2015||58.1 years|
The medical situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is very bad. There is hardly any public health system, and many of the facilities, which were already poorly developed, were destroyed as a result of the war. There is only one doctor per 10,000 people; in other countries this figure is sometimes 40 times as high. In 2005, central government spending on healthcare was less than $ 1 million. According to WHO data, health expenditure in 2009 amounted to around 2% of gross domestic product (around 220 million US dollars) or the equivalent of around 3 US dollars per inhabitant.
In addition to the poor supply situation, there is also the problem that only 29% of people in rural areas and 82% of people in cities have access to clean drinking water . According to a UN study from 2011, the number of Congolese without access to drinking water amounts to around 51 million, although the state has more than 50% of Africa's water resources. In addition, only about a third of the Congolese have the opportunity to use sanitary facilities. Due to the resulting lack of hygiene, various diarrheal diseases often occur , and other infectious diseases such as typhoid and hepatitis A are also widespread . The Democratic Republic of the Congo has one of the highest child mortality rates , according to the World Bank , it was around 94.3 deaths per 1,000 live births under five in 2017, according to The World Factbook of the CIA 68.2. Surveys from 2010 show 540,000 children under the age of five who die each year. Also very high values for are infants (126 deaths per 1,000 births) and maternal mortality (580 deaths per 100,000 births). According to statements made by the President of the Congolese Pediatricians Association in March 2013, there are around 85 paediatricians in the Congo, around 50 of them in the capital Kinshasa and 20 in the province of Katanga .
Furthermore, there is a very high risk of malaria all year round in the entire country, during the war this disease alone is said to have claimed hundreds of thousands of deaths per year, over a third of them children under five. Sleeping sickness is also very common, and in 1999 it affected almost two percent of the population. In February 2005, the pneumonic plague spread in Bas-Uele in the north-west of the country , the WHO reported 61 deaths. However, further spread could be prevented. In June 2006, another 100 plague deaths were reported in the Ituri district .
The Zaire Ebola virus was first discovered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and was named after the Ebola river near its place of origin. With a mortality rate of 60–90%, this is the most dangerous species of the Ebola virus , which has been recurring in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1976.
The HIV rate in the Congo in 2012 was around 1.1% of adults, which corresponds to almost half a million people. This value is rather low compared to the data from other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa . The disease kills around 30,000 people every year.
The literacy rate of around 77% (men 88.5%, women 66.5%, figures from 2016) is far better in the Congo than in countries like Mali or Niger . Nevertheless, as a result of the war and the associated dissolution of many state structures, it has sunk significantly since the mid-1990s, only to recover when the conflicts ended: In 1995, 77% of people were able to read and write.
Although basic education is formally prescribed (6 to 12 years of age) and guaranteed by the state, in fact there is hardly any public education system. Most schools do not receive any government support. Therefore, the parents have to pay the teachers directly. As a result of the war, the proportion of children attending school fell from around 70% to around 40%, as school fees have become unaffordable for large parts of the population . The quality of teaching is generally viewed as poor, so that the knowledge acquired is mostly inadequate and many school leavers do not have adequate reading and writing skills. Another problem is the lack of teaching staff. In 2008 there were 39 students for every teacher. Due to the demographic development, a further deterioration in the education system is to be expected.
Until the mid-1950s, there was no university education in what was then the Belgian Congo. There were some training centers for teachers, technical and medical professions, agricultural science and public administration, and religious seminars. However, these did not lead to recognized degrees. In 1953, the Lovanium Catholic University was founded in Kinshasa. It was closely associated with the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. In 1956 a state university was opened in Lubumbashi . In 1963 a third university was established near Kisangani under Protestant patronage. After independence, a number of technical colleges were created.
In August 1971 the three universities were merged to form the Université Nationale du Zaire with separate locations in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and Kisangani. Due to problems that this extreme centralization brought with it, the division into independent universities in these three locations took place again in 1981. However, the restored universities were now completely in state hands. Although the centralization of the university system was ultimately undone, some of the bodies created in 1971 to coordinate the Congolese university system still exist today.
In 1989, the state university monopoly was officially ended and private universities were able to be established. During this time there was also a general crisis in the Congolese education sector. Due to a general economic crisis in the state, educational institutions could hardly be supported and a large number of scholarships were canceled and tuition fees charged. Subsequent student protests were violently suppressed, resulting in the closure of all state universities for two years. With this decline in state universities, private institutions gained more and more popularity. Despite the official opening of the system to private institutions, their degrees are still formally not as valid as state universities. As a result, graduates from private universities cannot work in the public service and sometimes have problems continuing their studies abroad, for example.
The Congolese universities were once among the best in Africa. Today the quality of teaching is inadequate. There is a lack of both teaching material and qualified teaching staff. Corruption can also be found here. For example, degrees are often earned through bribery.
At the time of independence, a third of the working population was in permanent employment. By the 1990s, this proportion sank to 15–20%, with incomes falling considerably and no longer sufficient to sustain life. Since then, almost everyone has been forced to earn additional money in the informal sector; as early as the 1980s, real income was on average three times the officially paid salary. The number of permanent jobs has continued to decline since then, during the war their share was less than 5%, and a third of the population had no income at all.
The 2006 constitution defines the Congo as a secular, democratic constitutional state with a semi-presidential system of government . The president is directly elected by the people in general, free and equal elections for five years. A one-time re-election is possible. He appoints the prime minister and his cabinet. There is a bicameral system consisting of an upper house ( Senate ) and a lower house ( National Assembly ). The 108 members of the Senate are elected for five years by the provincial parliaments, the National Assembly with 500 members is elected by the people. 61 seats are determined by majority voting, the rest by proportional representation in open lists .
In practice, apart from the successful 2006 election, the state in no way fulfills the characteristics of a democracy and a constitutional state. Separation of powers only exists in theory, there is virtually no independent judiciary, and laws are not enforced. All government institutions are highly corrupt and unreliable and it has been common practice for decades that posts in government institutions and companies are used for personal gain. The state ranks 165th out of 167 on the Democracy Index of The Economist magazine and is assigned to the category of authoritarian regime . In the country report Freedom in the World 2017 by the US non-governmental organization Freedom House , the country's political system is rated as “unfree”. In the category “political rights”, the DR Congo received a grade of 7, for the protection of civil rights the country received a grade of 6 (grade 1 was the best and 7 the worst).
The government no longer has territorial sovereignty , particularly in the east of the country. Due to its instability, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is called a failed state , yet none of the numerous rebel groups that have existed since independence have ever questioned the legitimacy of the state or called secessionist demands.
On May 16, 2005, the transitional parliament, appointed in 2003, passed a draft of a new constitution. The power of the president is restricted. The prime minister is no longer responsible to the president but to the majority faction in parliament. On October 27, 2005, the people should vote on the new constitution.
The vote was preceded by a lengthy voter registration supported by the EU and UN . Every voter received a forgery-proof identity card, and despite various calls for boycotts, a total of 25,650,751 voters were registered, out of an estimated 28 million eligible voters. After voter registration took significantly longer than planned (in remote areas of Equateurs and Bandundus, the last voters were not registered until February 2006), the vote was finally postponed.
On December 18-19, 2005, 84.3% of the electorate voted for the adoption of the new constitution in a constitutional referendum, with a 62% turnout . The approval was distributed differently depending on the part of the country, in Kinshasa only a little more than 50% voted in favor due to the boycott campaigns there, in the Kivu provinces it was over 90%. On February 18, 2006, the new constitution came into force.
On July 30, 2006, the elections for the presidency and parliament took place. It was the first free election in the Congo since 1965. There were 43 candidates for president, including many former rebel leaders, and over 60 parties for parliament. The candidates had no different programs to offer, the only question was who would be allowed to rule the country in the future. The election campaign was overshadowed by violence, arbitrary arrests and hate speech by the press. In the event that the former warlords would not recognize the results, there were fears of serious unrest up to and including a renewed outbreak of civil war. To secure the election, the EU also sent its own military mission, EUFOR RD Congo, to the UN MONUC mission .
Election day itself was largely peaceful. In the first ballot, Kabila received 44.8%, Jean-Pierre Bemba 20.0% and Antoine Gizenga 13.1%, the proportions of all other candidates were well below 10%. The results of the parliamentary election were similar: the PPRD (Kabila) received 111 out of 500 seats, the MLC (Bemba) 64 and the PALU (Gizenga) 34, the rest went to numerous small parties and independent candidates. As with the constitutional referendum, the results were very unevenly distributed: in the eastern provinces that were under rebel control during the war, Kabila achieved very high results, while in the west the votes were more widely distributed. The feared unrest largely failed to materialize, with only limited fighting between Bemba's and Kabila's troops in Kinshasa.
Since none of the candidates for the presidency had achieved an absolute majority, a run-off election took place on October 29, 2006, which Kabila won with 58.05% of the vote. The results were again unevenly distributed, the western provinces of Equateur, Bas-Congo, Kinshasa and Kasai fell to Bemba, the east to Kabila.
The next election took place on November 27, 2011 . In the run-up to these elections, there were disputes about a constitutional amendment, which, in the opinion of the opposition, favored Kabila's re-election. On January 12, 2011, the National Assembly and the following day also the Senate voted to abolish the runoff election for the presidency. Accordingly, a simple majority is sufficient in the first ballot. In the election, in which there were individual indications of irregularities or electoral fraud, Kabila was re-elected with 48.95%, his main competitor Étienne Tshisekedi received 32.33%.
According to the constitution, presidential and parliamentary elections should be held again in 2016. The elections were postponed several times and finally took place on December 30, 2018 . The constitution did not allow Kabila to run again. In his place, the opposition politician Félix Tshisekedi - the son of Étienne Tshisekedis - was elected president. The election result was apparently grossly falsified: Both the data from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Congo (which had 40,000 election observers across the country) and the Céni electoral commission's records of 62,716 electronic voting machines (which recorded around 15 of the 18 million votes cast), which the Financial Times leaked clearly contradicted Tshisekedi's alleged election victory; according to these data, the Kabila critic Martin Fayulu received an absolute majority of the votes.
2006 to 2012
After the elections, Antoine Gizenga , the old Lumumbist leader of the 1960s, was appointed Prime Minister on December 30, 2006. On February 7, the new government consisting of 60 ministers and deputy ministers stood. For the first time in decades there was a government that at least attempted good governance . The success of the new government remained low, Gizenga was no longer up to the situation, power in the country remained with President Kabila and the military. On September 25, 2008, Gizenga submitted his resignation due to age, and was succeeded by Adolphe Muzito, Minister of the Budget on October 10, 2008 . He is also a member of the PALU ; Due to a coalition agreement between the governing parties PPRD, PALU and UDEMO, this was one of the conditions when the post was filled . Together with Muzito, 16 new ministers were appointed. The majority of the coalition ministers held Kabila's PPRD.
Muzito resigned on March 7, 2012. He was succeeded as Prime Minister on April 18, 2012 by Augustin Matata Ponyo , the previous Minister of Finance , who was replaced by Samy Badibanga in 2016 . From 2017 to 2019 Bruno Tshibala was Prime Minister.
The Congo is one of the countries in which human rights are neglected. This is particularly true in the war zones, where the warring parties show little consideration for the civilian population.
Rape was and is a weapon of war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Between 2006 and 2009 the aid organization “Heal Africa” cared for 12,000 women who had been raped. The organization assumes ten times the number of rapes. According to a study, around 39% of all women and 24% of all men in the country have been raped at least once in their life. There are repeated reports of mass rape, for example in 2010 in Luvungi .
Members of armed groups as well as state security forces routinely carried out torture and ill-treatment, especially against alleged political opponents. Torture methods included beatings, knife stab injuries, rape, and people being hung from bars. The conditions in most detention centers and prisons were so severe that they amounted to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Reports regularly said prisoners died of malnutrition and treatable diseases.
Another humanitarian focus of the crisis is the northeast region of the Orientale province , where the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) from Uganda has repeatedly carried out cruel attacks on the civilian population since December 2007 in the wake of a failed joint military operation by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan and Uganda. The LRA has been blamed for the deaths of over 1,200 people and the kidnapping of over 600 children since September 2008.
In 2008, military courts sentenced at least 50 people to death, including civilians. However, no executions were reported, according to Amnesty International. Government security forces and armed groups ambushed, abducted, intimidated and threatened human rights defenders with murder. In North Kivu, many who campaigned for human rights have had to go into hiding or flee. Others were targeted because they were involved in coming to terms with politically explosive human rights violations. In 2008 it is estimated that 3,000 to 4,000 children were still in the ranks of armed groups.
A report published by Human Rights Watch in December 2009 detailed the targeted killing of more than 1,400 civilians between January and September 2010 during two consecutive Congolese military operations against the Rwandan Hutu militia "Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda" (FDLR). Both Congolese government soldiers and FDLR rebel militias attacked civilians, accused them of collaborating with the enemy and “punished” them by hacking them to death with machetes. Both sides also shot dead civilians trying to escape or deliberately burned them in their homes. Some victims were handcuffed before their throats "slit like chickens", according to a witness. The majority of the victims were women, children and the elderly.
On October 1, 2010, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) published a detailed report on the most serious human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law on the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from March 1992 to June 2003. The government of Rwanda had requested changes in vain before this report was published. The background to this was that some of the most serious documented crimes had been committed by members of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) and the Alliance des forces démocratiques pour la libération du Congo-Zaïre (AFDL), allied with them . It could potentially be labeled genocide , according to the report .
Membership in international organizations
The Democratic Republic of the Congo belongs to a number of political and economic associations:
- AEC (African Economic Community)
- Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States
- AU (African Union)
- BAD (African Development Bank)
- COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa)
- G33 (association of various developing countries)
- ICGLR (International Conference of the Great Lakes Region)
- OIF (International Organization of Francophonie)
- SADC (South African Development Community )
- UN (United Nations)
In 2017, the country spent just under 0.7 percent of its economic output, or $ 295 million, on its armed forces.
The Congolese armed forces ( French Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo - FARDC ) emerged in their current form after the Second Congo War , when the government army was merged with the various rebel forces. In 2003, the government and rebels registered over 300,000 soldiers for integration into the new armed forces, but according to an independent estimate, the number was at most 200,000 soldiers. The nominal strength of the FARDC should be around 120,000 men. By 2008, however, only about 45,000 men in 15 brigades were ready for action. When the new armed forces were set up, “mixed” units were set up, that is, soldiers from different parties to the civil war serve in one and the same unit in the FARDC.
The rebuilding of the army is far from over, the old rebel structures still exist, tens of thousands of soldiers are outside the regular command structures under the command of former civil war generals. This is especially the case in the east of the country, in the Kivu provinces, where various local militias still wield power today.
The FARDC faces severe organizational as well as moral problems. The soldiers are inadequately trained and equipped, wages are only paid out irregularly and are not sufficient to make a living. The morale of the troops is correspondingly bad and the desertion rate is high. During the fighting in the Kivu , there were repeated mass deserts of thousands of soldiers. Numerous human rights violations can be traced back to the forces of the FARDC, there are regular attacks on civilians with looting and rape on the part of the members of the FARDC.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there has traditionally been a strictly centralized administration. The country was divided into ten provinces and the capital district until 2015. The constitution passed in 2005 provided for a decentralization in which the 11 regional authorities were to be divided into 26 new provinces with their own parliaments. 40% of the taxes collected on the territory of a new province should remain there in the future. This administrative reform should not have been fully implemented until 2011. In January 2011, the redistribution of the country was canceled due to a constitutional amendment, but the reorganization was implemented in 2015.
The following table shows the current provinces of the country with area and former province affiliation. Kinshasa is officially referred to as the capital district rather than a province .
Decades of mismanagement, extreme corruption and years of civil war made the Congo, which shortly after independence was one of the most economically developed countries in Africa and has the greatest natural wealth of the continent, to one of the poorest countries in the world, which is ranked far behind in all development indicators is.
The gross domestic product ( adjusted for purchasing power ) ( GDP ) is around 41.61 billion US dollars , the GDP per inhabitant around 495 US dollars (around 450 euros). The female employment rate is around 71%. Despite years of economic boom during the reign of Joseph Kabila, the DR Congo is the second poorest country in the world.
The inflation rate is consistently high and was 13.3% in 2011, so the US dollar has served as a second currency and store of value for decades.
The country is characterized by the large informal sector that is not included in the calculation of GDP. As early as the 1980s, the informal economy is said to have been three times the size of the official one. The reason for this development was and is the extreme corruption and the ineffectiveness of state organs, which make solid economic activity extremely difficult. Efforts have only recently been made by the state to change the situation.
The country's economy has experienced varied developments over the past few decades. In pre-colonial times, today's territory was an important source for slave traders . The Islamic slave traders operating from Zanzibar and supported by local rulers and militias exploited the country far more seriously than the Europeans in the west of the country . European colonization from 1876 onwards set the goal of ending the slave trade. The resistance of the slave traders was bloodily put down. After the establishment of the Congo Free State by Belgium, a plundering of the country began unprecedented in colonial history. Forced labor was imposed on the population in order to export cotton , ivory , palm oil and, above all, rubber ( Congo horror ).
With the founding of the Belgian Congo in 1908, mining became the main branch of the economy, with copper and diamonds in particular being mined. After King Leopold ceded the Congo to the Belgian government, it rose to become the fourth largest copper producer in the world until the 1950s . Its other mineral resources were also vital for the Western powers: cobalt , tantalum - and uranium . The Katanga uranium from the Shinkolobwe mine near Jadotville helped determine the outcome of World War II ; the Manhattan project and the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were filled with uranium from this mine. The UMHK Shinkolobwe mine produced uranium for US nuclear weapons until 1960.
A modern, dense road network and an efficient health system were created, which also raised the standard of living of the locals. In the last years before independence, the colony was one of the most economically developed African states, but the prosperity was extremely distributed in favor of the increasing number of Belgian settlers: half of the national income was with the 1% Europeans; the Congolese, on the other hand, were largely excluded from social and political participation.
The turmoil after independence ( Congo crisis ) and the departure of many Belgians initially resulted in an economic slump, from which the country recovered within a few years. Large, but unprofitable construction projects such as the Inga Dam and the HVDC Inga-Shaba were made possible by high raw material prices, some of them double-digit growth rates in the late 1960s and early 1970s . It was expected that the country would develop into an industrial nation within a few years. When raw material prices began to fall as a result of the oil crisis in 1973, the decline of the Zairean economy began. The ever-escalating corruption of Mobutu and his kleptocratic ruling clique ensured that export revenues were no longer reinvested and that business operations fell into disrepair. During the 1980s and early 1990s the economy was in free fall, between 1990 and 1994 gross domestic product had almost halved, copper production had fallen by over 90% and the rate of inflation was in the three digits. Ever larger parts of the economy migrated to the informal sector. Although the situation stabilized again for a short time, the wars from 1996 led to a further decline in economic output.
After the end of the war, a renewed upswing began, supported by high raw material prices and international investments in the important mining sector. The outbreak of the financial crisis in 2008, with falling raw material prices and declining investments, also had an extremely heavy impact on the Congolese economy.
All GDP values are given in US dollars ( purchasing power parity ).
(purchasing power parity)
|19.62 billion||27.16 billion||31.58 billion||24.37 billion||20.34 billion||27.55 billion||29.90 billion||32.61 billion||35.33 billion||36.62 billion||39.70 billion||43.30 billion||47.22 billion||52.05 billion||58.01 billion||62.70 billion||65.02 billion||68.45 billion|
GDP per capita
(purchasing power parity)
(as a percentage of GDP)
The Congo is one of the most resource-rich countries in the world. Mining products have therefore been the main export good, the most important source of foreign currency in the country and the main source of income for the state for decades. Above all, diamonds ( Kasai ), gold ( Kivu , Ituri ), copper ( Katanga ), coltan (Kivu) as well as manganese , lead , zinc and tin (Katanga) are promoted. The wealth of mineral raw materials repeatedly led to political and armed conflicts in the country.
After 1994, South Africa increasingly expanded its foreign trade engagement in the DR Congo under new political premises. The focus of the efforts is on the development of the transport infrastructure in the south of the country. The South African IDC is an important player . Another investment field supported by IDC is copper mining.
The People's Republic of China signed an agreement with the DR Congo in 2007, on the basis of which a loan of US $ 5 billion, increased to US $ 9 billion in 2008, was granted for infrastructure construction. The following sectors were named as benefiting from this: raw material exploration and the expansion of the transport and social infrastructure in the Katanga province. A joint venture called Sicomines between Gécamines , Sinohydro and the China Railway Engineering Corporation has been agreed.
The mining of the ore coltan has achieved particular fame since the end of the 20th century . It contains the economically important metal oxide minerals columbite and tantalite , from which niobium and tantalum are extracted. Tantalum is of great importance for the production of electronic devices; niobium is used as an alloy additive in steel production in the manufacture of heat-resistant metal components for the aerospace industry.
The conveyor systems that were built in some places during the colonial era and the first few years after independence have largely disintegrated due to lack of maintenance, and reconstruction is only progressing slowly. Artisanal mining , which takes place largely without mechanical support, is therefore an important branch of the economy today with a large number of people in employment, the largest share of gross domestic product and exports. This form of economy is largely beyond state control.
During the war , the sale of mineral resources was the main source of income for both the government and the rebels, and neighboring states and private companies were also involved in the years of systematic pillage of the country.
The east of the country, where most of the mineral resources are located, is still largely controlled not by the government, but by insurgent militias. The miners have to sell their ores to export traders who are licensed by the local rulers at prices that are far below world market prices . This system gives the armed men steady income and thus enables the financing of the war. In the future, a certification system for Congolese raw materials will ensure that these are legally traded.
The import of coltan from the DR Congo has been the subject of criticism in industrialized countries for years because Western companies indirectly contribute significantly to maintaining the state of war. Various non-governmental organizations have repeatedly organized boycott campaigns against coltan from the Congo, neglecting the fact that coltan exports are the main source of income for the people of Kivu .
In order to drain the sources of money for those who profited from these businesses, the government imposed a total stop on all mining activities in the provinces of North Kivu , Sud Kivu and Maniema in the east of the Congo, which affected miners, traders, exporters and holders of mining rights . However, this could not stop the mining activities, rather they were pushed into the illegal area. While criminal enterprises benefited, the rest of the economy in the Kivu region collapsed almost completely. Therefore, the mining ban was lifted again in March 2011.
The oil reserves in the entire national territory are estimated at 180 million barrels, in 2009 around 16,360 barrels of oil were produced daily. The government pushes oil production, but often disregards environmental and safety concerns. In 2010, SOCO , Dominion Petroleum and the state-owned company Cohydro were granted concessions for oil production in the Virunga National Park , which is a World Heritage Site and is located in the middle of an area controlled by rebels. However, following pressure from the EU Commission , UNESCO and the relevant UN agencies, the approval of the project was withdrawn by the government in March 2011.
The country has natural gas reserves of 991.1 million cubic meters, but there is currently no production.
During the colonial period, the rural population was forced to grow crops for export, and in the years before independence, large farms were also set up, run by Europeans. Agricultural production has steadily declined since 1960. In particular, the nationalization from 1973, in which many productive farms were expropriated, caused a significant slump in the production of agricultural products. Since then, agriculture has been neglected in favor of the more lucrative artisanal mining. In most rural regions today there is subsistence farming ; transporting the harvest to the cities would hardly be possible anyway due to poor transport routes.
Just under three percent of the land area is used for agriculture, yet agriculture accounts for more than half of the gross domestic product and employs almost two thirds of the working population. The production of food is not sufficient for its own needs, so the country has to import it.
The industrial sector today focuses on the extraction and processing of the developed mineral resources. Large customers in the world market are supplied with metal raw materials and semi-finished products. During the economic boom around 1970, the establishment of an import-substituting industry was begun, but this was not competitive with imports and disappeared almost completely by the 1990s. Large industrial companies hardly exist today. The processing industry mainly consists of small businesses that produce consumer goods such as textiles , shoes or cigarettes or are active in food processing.
Finance and banking sector
According to an assessment by the International Monetary Fund from 2014, the financial and banking sector in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is only superficially available and underdeveloped. The country's central bank is the Banque Centrale du Congo (BCC) . According to the accounting firm KPMG , 20 commercial banks were active in the Congo in 2017. There is a state insurance company and a social security institute. As of 2014 there were 143 microfinance institutions , 59 money transfer agencies and 16 currency houses. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has neither a stock nor a capital market .
The country is one of the countries in which the majority of the population is still excluded from the conventional banking sector. According to an estimate from 2017, only 26% of all Congolese have a bank account. As in many other African countries, a significant part of the financial sector in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is influenced by citizens living abroad. In 2017, around 40% of the population said they regularly send or receive financial remittances .
|Main trading partner in 2017|
The largest trading partner of the Democratic Republic of the Congo today is by far the People's Republic of China , which in 2017 accounted for more than 40% of all exports and almost 20% of the country's imports. Other important export destinations are Zambia, South Africa, South Korea and Finland; in addition to China, imports are also from Belgium, India , Zambia, South Africa and Tanzania .
In 2017 , the country exported goods worth around $ 11 billion. The main export products are diamonds, copper, gold, cobalt, germanium, uranium, as well as wood as well as crude oil, coffee and cocoa. The exports contrast with imports valued at 10.82 billion US dollars. Most of the imports are machines and vehicles of all kinds, as well as food and fuel .
The foreign trade balance of the entire country is mostly almost balanced, but there are high imbalances within the country, because almost all export goods are produced in only a few parts of the country. Local trade deficits are mostly offset by informal trade, which is not included in the statistics.
In addition to a differentiated investment cooperation with South Africa, the DRC received support in the field of technology transfer, public administration and the supply of commercial goods and services. In 2012, South Africa was the country's largest foreign trade partner with a 21.6 percent share of the DRC import volume.
The state budget in 2016 comprised expenditures of the equivalent of 5.8 billion US dollars, which was offset by income of the equivalent of 5.4 billion US dollars. This results in a budget deficit of 0.9% of the gross domestic product .
The national debt in 2016 was 21.5% of GDP. In 2010, the Democratic Republic of the Congo received approximately US $ 12 billion in debt relief; In 2009, national debt was still 138.3% of GDP, making it one of the highest in the world in terms of economic output.
In 2006, the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was as follows:
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is facing major infrastructure challenges. Recent armed conflicts have resulted in facilities either being directly damaged or neglected to maintain. This means that more than half of the systems are in urgent need of renovation. In order to get to the level of an average developing country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo would have to spend around 5.3 billion US dollars or 75% of its gross domestic product from 2006. At the same time, almost half a billion US dollars are currently being lost every year due to inefficient infrastructure.
When it gained independence, the Congo inherited a road network, some of which was very good, over 100,000 kilometers in length and stretched across the entire country. Inadequate maintenance during Mobutu's rule ensured that only about 10,000 kilometers of roads were still passable in the 1990s, and the highways had almost completely disappeared. The length of the road network is given today at around 150,000 kilometers, of which only around 3,000 kilometers are asphalted; There is hardly a country in the world with such a thin road network as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. On 1000 km² there is an average of 1 km of paved and 14 km of unpaved road. Less than half of the road network is in acceptable condition and the restoration of reasonable road connections between the country's metropolitan areas is one of the government's most pressing tasks. The low population density, the climate and the topography make the maintenance of a well-developed road network very expensive, so that the country would have to spend around 5% of its gross national product annually on the maintenance of its transport infrastructure alone. That is a multiple of what has been available for public investment in recent years. As a result, it costs three times as much to transport goods by road as it is by water, and road transport in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is three times as expensive as in its neighboring countries.
Road traffic is considered extremely unsafe. In 2013, there were a total of 33.2 road deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in the DR Congo. For comparison: In Germany there were 4.3 deaths in the same year. In total, more than 22,000 people were killed in traffic. The rate of road deaths is much higher when compared to the country's low motorization rate. In 2007 there were 5 vehicles for every 1,000 inhabitants in the country (in Germany there were over 500 vehicles).
During the colonial era, the expansion of a railroad network was promoted, primarily for the more efficient exploitation of the raw materials that could reach the coast faster by rail from the interior of the country. Today the Democratic Republic of the Congo has around 5,100 kilometers of track on paper in several independent networks. The Chemin de Fer Matadi-Kinshasa (CFMK) operates a 366 km long connection between Kinshasa and the port of Matadi . The current route of this single-track line dates from the 1930s. The Société Nationale des Chemins de fer du Congo (SNCC) operates a much larger network with its center in the south-east of the country, with the most important connection running between Kolwezi and the border with Zambia and which was partially electrified by the 50 Hz working group during colonial times . Raw materials, especially copper, leave the country via the SNCC. From Ilebo , the SNCC is connected to Kinshasa and thus the CFMK via the Congo River . After the Benguela Railway was rebuilt in Angola by 2014 , it is to be connected to the SNCC network within the DR Congo, which will enable copper exports via the Atlantic port of Lobito . The SNCC's infrastructure is old and in very poor condition, so more and more raw materials are being transported by road. Most of the Uelle railways have not been served for a long time, but the section between Bumba and Aketi was restored in 2005.
Compared to the railway networks of its neighboring countries, very few trains run on the rails of the Congo, the indicators for efficiency and reliability are significantly poorer and the prices for freight and passenger transport are significantly higher.
With a capacity of 2.5 million tons, the port of Matadi is the most important seaport in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is located near the mouth of the Congo, but has the disadvantage that due to the shallow depth of the river it can only be reached by small ships, which means that it depends on reloading in Pointe-Noire . While Matadi is of great importance for the western part of the country, the ports for the cities in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are on the African east coast: Mombasa for the northeast, Dar es Salaam and Durban for the southeast.
The port of Matadi is also inefficient in the African context and at the same time high costs, and it also has to be dredged regularly. This also applies to the smaller ports of Boma and Banana . Direct access to the deep-sea port of Pointe-Noire is blocked for the Democratic Republic of the Congo due to the desolate state of the rail and road infrastructure in the neighboring Republic of the Congo .
In view of the poor roads and tracks, shipping on the rivers is of the greatest importance to the country. More than 15,000 km of the Congo and its tributaries are navigable. However, poor maintenance of ships and malfunctioning control systems repeatedly lead to accidents with numerous fatalities.
Due to the poor road system and the geographic size of the country, air traffic is of great importance. During the war, many cities could only be reached by air, and travel by land was too dangerous due to the rebel presence. Air freight traffic is of great importance, the mined natural resources are transported away by air, especially in the east of the country, because the roads are under rebel control. There are almost 200 airfields in the country, but only 26 with paved runways. The largest airport is Ndjili Airport in Kinshasa , other international airports are located in the cities of Lubumbashi , Bukavu , Goma and Kisangani .
Due to poor maintenance and a lack of security controls, there were repeated aircraft accidents in the Congo, which is why all around 50 Congolese airlines are on the black list of the EU Commission . The once largest line, Hewa Bora, had to cease operations in 2011 after a crash. Many domestic flights are booked by the Congolese as transfer connections abroad in order to bypass domestic airlines. Thus, the creation of an efficient air traffic supervisory authority is of the utmost urgency.
Energy-and water supply
The Democratic Republic of the Congo generates electrical energy almost exclusively from hydropower . The two largest power plants are the two Inga dams on the lower reaches of the Congo. They went into operation in 1972 (Inga I) and 1982 (Inga II) and supply both the capital Kinshasa and mining companies in Katanga with electricity via the HVDC Inga-Shaba .
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has the largest hydropower potential in Africa. It amounts to 100 GW, is inexpensive to develop and, in addition to the Congo itself, could also supply the export markets in southern Africa. To date, however, the potential has largely been untapped, in 2009 only 2.4 GW of power was installed, but the neglect during the civil wars meant that only 1 GW is even ready for use. The expansion of the Inga dams announced in May 2013 can be seen as a step towards developing the huge potential.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, around 30% of the population have access to tap water, mostly publicly or in their own home. However, almost a quarter of the population is dependent on surface water. It is worrying that this proportion is increasing. The proportion of the population who does not even have access to a latrine is one sixth, and this proportion is also increasing. The public water supplier is called Regideso , it operates far less efficiently than its counterparts in other African countries. 40% of the water is lost in its network and only 70% of the water consumed is paid for.
Internet and telecommunications
While the number of Internet users in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is still well below the global average, there has been a significant increase in recent years, from less than 2% of the population in 2012 to 8.6% in 2017. This is positive The completion of the West Africa Cable System , a maritime telecommunications cable from South Africa to Great Britain, running through many African countries , in 2013 contributed in particular to development . The connection point of the system in the Congo is the small town of Muanda . Nevertheless, only a few Congolese have regular access to the Internet, which is mainly due to the extremely high prices. A reliable internet flat rate can cost $ 100 a month, more than a month's salary for most people.
The telephone network of the state operator OCPT is unreliable and inadequate, so there are only around 10,000 landline connections across the country. Despite a difficult economic environment, mobile telephony has developed rapidly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The usage rate of cell phones is relatively high today; in 2017 there were 42 cell phone contracts per 100 inhabitants. The lively competition between the four providers leads to low prices, as in neighboring countries.
A well-known author was Valentin-Yves Mudimbe , who described the archaic and violent structures of post-colonial tribal society during the political turmoil of the 1960s. His book Before the Birth of the Moon (first French in 1976) was translated into English, and a volume of short stories into German. Clémentine Nzuji became known as a poet and through short stories . Various authors emigrated to Congo (Brazzaville) and Europe under the rule of Mobutu , including In Koli Jean Bofane , who has lived in Belgium since 1993 and also in Germany through the books Why the lion is no longer king of animals and Congo Inc .: Le Testament de Bismarck became known.
Despite the freedom of the press and information guaranteed in the country's constitution, the freedom of the press in the country is currently in a “difficult situation”, according to “ Reporters Without Borders ”. The organization ranks the Democratic Republic of the Congo 154th out of 180 in the 2017 global media index. Most of the country's media are owned or influenced by political groups. The journalists are financially dependent on their clients, a situation that limits independent reporting even without direct state intervention. The quality of the reporting is generally poor. The journalists are insufficiently trained, poorly paid, corrupt and restricted in their reporting by their clients. Critical journalists are threatened, blackmailed, arrested and occasionally murdered, making self-censorship widespread. Copyrights are seldom observed. The country has three major news agencies :
- Agence Congolaise de Presse (state news agency)
- Digital Congo (Agency of the Presidential Family)
- Documentation et Informations Africaines (DIA) (church news agency since 1970)
Television and radio
The radio is the medium with the highest reach in the country and is also very widespread in rural areas. In 2007 there were 2 state and over 200 private, local radio stations in the country. The UN operates the nationwide receivable radio Okapi ; the foreign broadcasters BBC World Service and Radio France Internationale can also be received. RFI had to temporarily cease operations in the Congo in 2009 after the broadcaster criticized the Congolese army. At the end of 2012, the broadcast of Radio Okapi was temporarily stopped, according to suspicions following an interview with the president of the March 23 Movement, but officially for administrative reasons. Television was introduced in 1978 and initially spread Mobutu's propaganda, which was portrayed as a demigod floating down from heaven to earth . Today, in addition to the state-run Radio-Télévision nationale congolaise (RTNC), there are up to 50 other, mostly local, private broadcasters such as Radio Télévision Groupe L'Avenir (RTG @). In general, the quality of the program is rather poor due to a lack of money, so music, repetitions or political speeches are mostly broadcast.
Newspapers are unaffordable for most Congolese at around one US dollar and are therefore not widely available. The reason for the high price is the lack of an advertising market, which means that the newspapers have to finance themselves almost entirely from the sales price. The newspaper market is almost exclusively concentrated in the state capital Kinshasa, and distribution in the flat countryside is too expensive due to a lack of infrastructure. There are nine regular newspapers in Kinshasa, six of which are opposed to the government and three to the government. There are likely to be over 200 newspapers across the country, although they sometimes appear very irregularly.
The main food in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is cassava , the roots of which are boiled, fried, made into bread or fufu porridge or consumed as atiéké , as well as taro , corn and rice; the latter especially in Kasai and Katanga. The leaves of the cassava plant are also consumed: Pondu is a common national dish, often prepared on holidays, in which finely chopped cassava leaves are cooked and then braised in palm oil . In addition, you often eat mashed peanuts.
In addition, the Congolese are relatively large consumers of meat, in addition to beef (especially in Kivu ) and poultry, pork and mutton, wild animals such as crocodile, buffalo, snake or insects ( bushmeat ) are often on the table. Due to the large number of rivers, a lot of fish is also consumed, often dried or salted. As a rule, the food is spicy, with spices such as chilli , ginger , garlic and pepper , sometimes coriander , caraway , sesame , nutmeg or black cardamom are used. Fruits such as pineapples , bananas , papayas , mangoes and coconuts are often used as a snack .
Foreign kitchens have had little influence on the culinary arts of the Congo; However, the salted stockfish adopted by the Portuguese should be mentioned here .
The country's arts center is Kinshasa, home to Central Africa's only university-level art academy , the Académie des Beaux-Arts de Kinshasa . The country's most famous artists teach here. In addition to the Academy's gallery, art is presented in the French and Belgian cultural centers and in the commercial gallery Symphonie des Arts , as well as in the private studios of better-known artists such as Claudy Khan, Henri Kalama Akulez and Lema Kusa.
The traditional and modern forms of culture in the country have been presented in the new National Museum in Kinshasa since November 2019 . The Africa Museum in Belgium still has the most important collection of material and immaterial culture in the Congo .
The country's music has always been very diverse. It has undergone a long development process to its current form:
In the pre-colonial period in the Democratic Republic of the Congo there were many different types of traditional African music , which varied from region to region and were mostly expressed in religious chants. These had tone systems with five, six and seven-tone scales .
During the colonial period, a larger music scene then formed in the colony capital Léopoldville (now Kinshasa) in the 1920s . It consisted of both Congolese and West African foreigners such as the Hausa and French and US soldiers. Little by little, the Soukous style of music developed, which is still typical of the Congo region today. In addition to singing, the most important instruments at the time were guitar , drums , accordion and clarinet . Gradually saxophones , drums and later electric guitars were added. There was also a soukous dance, which was mainly inspired by the rumba dance. The most famous Congolese singer of the 1950s was Wendo . He released the hit Marie-Louise , which is seen by many as the starting point for modern Congolese music.
After the country gained independence in 1960, more and more smaller music groups emerged in Léopoldville, which allowed the music business to grow steadily. Bands like African Jazz and OK Jazz achieved fame throughout Europe and toured mainly through Belgium. In the 1970s, however, the phase of the Zaiko generation began , which was mainly guitar-heavy and was represented by musicians such as Papa Wemba or the music group Madilu System .
The country's best-known music groups still perform internationally today, but the style of music has continued to change: In addition to the fast soukous variant N'dombolo, which is particularly popular in Congolese discotheques, and to which people dance very physically, there are successful Congolese world music groups . They include the band Staff Benda Bilili , which won the 2009 World Music Expo Artist Prize for World Music. The group became known as the Orchester Symphonique Kimbanguiste through a documentary. The Orchester Symphonique Kimbanguiste is the only symphony orchestra in Central Africa. The Congolese singer and dancer Jessy Matador has been known to a wider audience in Europe since he appeared for France at the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest . He embodies modern Congolese pop music . In Gbadolite, a city in the north of the country and near the Ubangi River, where President Mobutu had a new government palace built, Mobutu read a valuable organ from Germany into the church, which is located directly next to the palace, from the well-known Oberlinger organ building workshop install from Windesheim. The most famous organists in the world were invited to concerts and the population was thrilled when they heard works by Johann Sebastian Bach or Max Reger for the first time.
The first film studios were set up during the time of Belgian colonial rule. Due to the lack of financial resources and technical equipment, film productions in the DR Congo have remained low. Only two Congolese directors were able to win an award at the Pan-African Film and TV Festival , namely Kwamy Mambu Nzinga and Mwenze Ngangura .
The dominant sport in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is football. Although the stadiums are often in very poor condition, soccer games are able to attract large numbers of spectators. The greatest successes of the country's national team are a long time ago: the selection won the African Championships in 1968 and 1974 ; In 1974 , the then Zaire was also the first black African participant in a soccer world championship, but had no chance there. Given the few opportunities for advancement, the Congolese footballers try to hire a club abroad. Muntubile Santos and Eugène Kabongo were among those who had luck and success in the 1980s. There is no national soccer league in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The attempt to establish a national league was made in the 1980s, but abandoned after two seasons. The infrastructure turned out to be too weak, the distances too great and the financial possibilities too few. The national champion is therefore determined in regional leagues, whose best teams play against each other in the KO system for the Coupe du Congo . The currently most successful football club in the Congo by far is Tout Puissant Mazembe from Lubumbashi . The club, owned by Mois Katumbi, the wealthy governor of Katanga province , won the CAF Champions League in 2009 and 2010 and in 2010 became the first African soccer team to reach the FIFA Club World Cup finals . In addition to Mazembe, AS Vita Club and Daring Club Motema Pembe won the CAF Champions League. Other well-known clubs are FC Bilima, FC Saint Eloi Lupopo and Lubumbashi Sport. With a capacity of 80,000, the largest stadium in the country by far is the Stade des Martyrs . The capital city clubs Daring Club Motema Pembe and Inter Kinshasa host football matches there.
Other sports play a subordinate role. The women's basketball team was able to attract international attention. Boxing and catching also enjoy a certain popularity.
In 1968 Zaire's athletes took part in the Summer Olympics for the first time. Then in 1984 there was a participation again. Since then, athletes from the DR Congo and its predecessor countries have been taking part in the Summer Games without interruption, but without having won a medal.
During the time of the dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko , sporting events were also used for propaganda purposes to strengthen Mobutu's power and to secure international recognition for the state of Zaire. The rumble in the jungle boxing match between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali , which took place in 1974 at the Stade Tata Raphaël in Kinshasa, should be mentioned here. It was the first globally recognized sporting event on African soil.
To commemorate the independence from Belgium in 1960, the Jour de l'Indépendance is celebrated on June 30th . This is the national holiday of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but overall there are a number of other public holidays on which most public institutions and shops are closed:
|January 1st||Jour de l'An||New Year|
|January 4th||Day of the Martyrs||Remembering the riots in Léopoldville on January 4, 1959|
|1st of May||Fete you travail||Labor Day|
|May 20th||Party day|
|May 24th||Fishermen's Day|
|June 30th||Jour de l'Indépendance||Independence day||National holiday|
|August 1st||Parents Day|
|October 14th||Youth day|
|25 December||Noël||Christmas holiday|
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