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Democratic Republic of the Congo

Country in Central Africa / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), also known as Congo-Kinshasa, is a country in Central Africa. By land area, the DRC is the second-largest country in Africa and the 11th largest in the world. With a population of around 112 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most populous officially Francophone country in the world. The national capital and largest city is Kinshasa, which is also the economic center. The country is bordered by the Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania (across Lake Tanganyika), Zambia, Angola, the Cabinda exclave of Angola and the South Atlantic Ocean.

Quick facts: Democratic Republic of the CongoRépublique dé...
Democratic Republic of the Congo
République démocratique du Congo (French)
Motto: "Justice – Paix – Travail" (French)
"Justice – Peace – Work"
Anthem: Debout Congolais (French)
"Arise, Congolese"
and largest city
4°19′S 15°19′E
Official languagesFrench
Recognised national languages
GovernmentUnitary semi-presidential republic
Félix Tshisekedi
Sama Lukonde
National Assembly
17 November 1879
1 July 1885
15 November 1908
30 June 1960[2]
20 September 1960
 Named Democratic Republic of the Congo
1 August 1964
27 October 1971
17 May 1997
18 February 2006
2,345,409 km2 (905,567 sq mi) (11th)
 Water (%)
 2023 estimate
111,859,928[3] (14th)
46.3/km2 (119.9/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)2022 estimate
Increase $128 billion[4] (90th)
 Per capita
Increase $1,327[4] (188th)
GDP (nominal)2022 estimate
Increase $64 billion[4] (86th)
 Per capita
Increase $660[4] (190th)
Gini (2012)Positive decrease 42.1[5]
HDI (2021)Increase 0.479[6]
low · 179th
CurrencyCongolese franc (CDF)
Time zoneUTC+1 to +2 (WAT and CAT)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy
Driving sideright
Calling code+243
ISO 3166 codeCD

Centered on the Congo Basin, the territory of the DRC was first inhabited by Central African foragers around 90,000 years ago and was reached by the Bantu expansion about 3,000 years ago.[7] In the west, the Kingdom of Kongo ruled around the mouth of the Congo River from the 14th to 19th centuries. In the northeast, center and east, the kingdoms of Azande, Luba, and Lunda ruled from the 16th and 17th centuries to the 19th century. King Leopold II of Belgium formally acquired rights to the Congo territory from the colonial nations of Europe in 1885 and declared the land his private property, naming it the Congo Free State. From 1885 to 1908, his colonial military forced the local population to produce rubber and committed widespread atrocities. In 1908, Leopold ceded the territory, which thus became a Belgian colony.

Congo achieved independence from Belgium on 30 June 1960 and was immediately confronted by a series of secessionist movements, the assassination of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba and the seizure of power by Mobutu Sese Seko in a 1965 coup d'état. Mobutu renamed the country Zaire in 1971 and imposed a harsh personalist dictatorship until his overthrow in 1997 by the First Congo War.[2] The country then had its name changed back and was confronted by the Second Congo War from 1998 to 2003, which resulted in the deaths of 5.4 million people.[8][9][10][11] The war ended under President Joseph Kabila who governed the country from 2001 to 2019, under whom human rights in the country remained poor and included frequent abuses such as forced disappearances, torture, arbitrary imprisonment and restrictions on civil liberties.[12] Following the 2018 general election, in the country's first peaceful transition of power since independence, Kabila was succeeded as president by Félix Tshisekedi, who has served as president since.[13] Since 2015, the Eastern DR Congo has been the site of an ongoing military conflict in Kivu.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is extremely rich in natural resources but has suffered from political instability, a lack of infrastructure, corruption, and centuries of both commercial and colonial extraction and exploitation, followed by more than 60 years of independence, with little widespread development.[14] Besides the capital Kinshasa, the two next largest cities, Lubumbashi and Mbuji-Mayi, are both mining communities. The DRC's largest export is raw minerals, with China accepting over 50% of its exports in 2019.[2] In 2021, DR Congo's level of human development was ranked 179th out of 191 countries by the Human Development Index,[15] and is classed as a least developed country by the UN. As of 2018, following two decades of various civil wars and continued internal conflicts, around 600,000 Congolese refugees were still living in neighbouring countries.[16] Two million children risk starvation, and the fighting has displaced 4.5 million people.[17] The country is a member of the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, African Union, COMESA, Southern African Development Community, Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, and Economic Community of Central African States.