Congo is a country in central Africa. Congo has the second-largest rainforest in the world, after Brazil. The country borders Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly known as Zaire), and Angola. Its other neighbor on land is Sudan while it shares maritime boundaries with DROC and Angola to the south and west respectively.
The country is named after the river Congo, which flows through much of its area. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) previously used to be called Zaire so it might also appear as such in some texts.
History of Republic of Congo:
The Republic of Congo is home to historical civilizations, one centered in what is now northern Brazzaville and another around the Pool Malebo (Stanley Pool). Congolese people were the major influence on the formation of this part of central Africa. Bantu-speaking peoples live in most parts of Congo although Pygmies once lived in the dense forests of northern Congo.
The Republic of Congo’s first president, Léon M’ba, served from 1960 to 1963 and was re-elected in 1967. He established a one-party state under his Congolese Labour Party (PCT) and allowed for no political opposition. On February 18th, 1977, M’ba was overthrown by army chief of staff Denis Sassou-Nguesso, who promptly reinstated the PCT as the only legal party. He ruled until 1991 when he lost an election to Pascal Lissouba (who had earlier served as prime minister under President M’ba).
General Denis Sassou-Nguesso led the armed forces during the civil war and still maintains control after winning elections in 1997.
The Republic of Congo is within one of the world’s richest areas for hydrocarbon reserves, particularly oil. It has 40% of Africa’s rainforest which could provide immense wealth if properly managed for logs and pharmaceuticals. The country also has uranium and other minerals.
The Republic of Congo’s politics has been unstable since independence. The country was ruled by the Marxist-Leninist dictatorship of Denis Sassou Nguesso for most of the 1980s and 1990s. The first multi-party elections were held in 1992, and Pascal Lissouba became president, but he was soon opposed by Sassou Nguesso, who took power in 1997.
Then the country plunged into a period of civil war and unrest that lasted for five years. This conflict was due largely to the divisions between the various ethnic groups within the country and their competition for control over the region’s valuable oil resources. In 1999, Lissouba was ousted in a coup by Colonel Denis Sassou-Nguesso, who took power again.
The Republic of Congo is one of the poorest countries in Africa. The country’s reality for many citizens is unimaginable. Unemployment is widespread and efforts to combat government corruption have so far been very limited. Corruption remains endemic at all levels of the political and economic system.
The economy of the Republic of Congo:
The Republic of Congo’s economy is based on oil extraction, agriculture, and manufacturing. The country is also the largest industrial power in Central Africa. But it remains a nation with deep pockets of stark poverty where people live off one dollar a day or less for food and healthcare. There are only a few running water taps for the entire country.
The Republic of Congo has long been a major producer and exporter of many minerals including uranium, oil, gold, diamonds, lumber, and industrial metals. In recent years it has seen a slowdown in its mining sector as reserves have become depleted or expensive to extract. Mining now only accounts for around 12% of the nation’s GDP, down from more than 50%.
The Republic of Congo is a major oil producer and exporter. However, its production has been falling since 1995 and output in 2002 was only about half that of 1994. The petroleum industry provides 40% – 45% of exports and government revenue but contributes little to the country’s domestic needs.
The Republic of Congo is the leading producer of raw cocoa beans in Africa. The country produces more than 34 million kilograms of cocoa beans per year, nearly 10% (by weight) of the worldwide production, which makes the nation one of the largest producers in Africa. It is also a notable coffee exporter, with about 15% of the total production.