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DRC Profile

General Facts:

Population: 67.51 million (2013) World Bank,

Official Languages : French, Lingala, Swahili,Kikongo,Tshiluba

Capital: Kinshasa

Cities :Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Mbuji-mayi, Matadi, Goma, Bukavu, Mbadaka, kikwit

Area:905,600 mi²


The Democratic Republic of the Congo also known as DR Congo, DRC, DROC, Congo-Kinshasa, or simply the Congo is a country located in Central Africa. From 1971 to 1997 it was named Zaire. The DRC borders the Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, and South Sudan to the north; Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania to the east; Zambia and Angola to the south; and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It is the second largest country in Africa by area, the largest in Subsaharan Africa, and the eleventh largest in the world. With a population of over 79 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most populated officially Francophone country, the fourth most populated nation in Africa and the nineteenth most populated country in the world.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is extremely rich in natural resources, but political instability, a lack of infrastructure, deep rooted corruption, and centuries of both commercial and colonial extraction and exploitation have limited holistic development. Besides the capital, Kinshasa, the other major cities, Lubumbashi and Mbuji-Mayi, are both mining communities. DR Congo’s largest export is raw minerals, with China accepting over 50% of DRC’s exports in 2012. As of 2013, according to the Human Development Index (HDI), DR Congo has a low level of human development, ranking 176 out of 187 countries.

Currency: Congolese Franc, you do not need to carry all your cash with you to the Congo anymore as a tourist (let alone a suitcase full for business.) you can find ready ATM’s and Dollars and Euros are used almost everywhere in big cities and Atm’s provide money in dollars, but carrying cash outside of the cities is still the only way to go.


Crime & Security:
Criminal activity is exacerbated by poor economic conditions, high unemployment, lack of education/training, and the government’s inability to financially support its own facilities and civil servants, including police and military.
Most reported criminal incidents in Kinshasa are crimes of opportunity (pickpocketing, petty theft). The majority of petty crimes are committed by homeless street kids called “sheggehs.” They are known to operate alone and in gangs.
International victims in Kinshasa report being targeted while walking alone during the nighttime, and in the proximity of prominent hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, and nightclubs. The chances of becoming a victim increase dramatically after midnight and during holiday season.

Congolese Police Service

Police response is slow unless they are in the general area where the incident occurred. In many remote areas, police/emergency, medical support, and disaster relief services are non-existent. The police are poorly trained and ill-equipped, have almost no resources, and are largely ineffectual and corrupt. Consistency in administering laws and regulations is notably absent. In cases involving theft or robbery, police intervention and legal recourse is poor.

The two recent conflicts (the First and Second Congo Wars), which began in 1996, have dramatically reduced national output and government revenue, have increased external debt, and have resulted in deaths of more than five million people from war, and associated famine and disease. Malnutrition affects approximately two thirds of the country’s population.
Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, accounting for 57.9% of GDP in 1997. In 1996, agriculture employed 66% of the work force.
Rich in minerals, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has a difficult history of predatory mineral extraction, which has been at the heart of many struggles within the country for many decades, but particularly in the 1990s. The economy of the third largest country in Africa relies heavily on mining. However, much economic activity occurs in the informal sector and is not reflected in GDP data.

Education in DRC
The educational system in the DRC is similar to that of Belgium in that there are six years of primary followed by 6 years of secondary education. The education system has suffered from decades of conflict although recent years have shown an improvement.
In 2000, 65 percent of children ages 10 to 14 were attending school. As a result of the 6-year civil war, over 5.2 million children in the country receive no education. Official numbers for the school year 2009–10, report there were 35,915 primary schools serving 10,572,422 students; and 17,373 secondary schools serving 3,484,459 others.
Of the 10 provinces the hardest hit by a lack of education are the North and South Kivu. More than 42% of children in these provinces have never been to school.
Children and youth. In the DRC, girls and boys face a plethora of economic and socio-cultural barriers to education: 71 percent of the population lives below the poverty line and boys’ schooling takes priority over girls’. Although age six is the official age for school enrolment, only 54 percent of six-year-old children attend school and the average age of first grade students is 10.

Political History after Independence

A few weeks after independence, the new Republic began tearing itself apart. Parts of the nation declared themselves separate and officers in the Congolese army mutinied.
A United Nations operation tried to restore the situation and in May 1965, a free and fair election took place. But the army soon staged a coup under the leadership of Joseph Mobutu.
Mobutu ruled for 32 years, until ousted from power in 1996 by an army commander, Laurent Kabila. Kabila rose to prominence fighting Hutu militant groups who had fled Rwanda’s civil war. The country was renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Kabila demonstrated little ability to manage the problems of his country, and lost his allies. To counterbalance the power and influence of Rwanda in DRC, the Ugandan troops instigated the creation of another rebel movement called the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), led by the Congolese warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba. They attacked in August 1998, backed by Rwandan and Ugandan troops. Soon afterwards, Angola, Namibia, and Zimbabwe became involved militarily in the Congo, with Angola and Zimbabwe supporting the government. While the six African governments involved in the war signed a ceasefire accord in Lusaka in July 1999, the Congolese rebels did not and the ceasefire broke down within months. However, Kabila was assassinated in 2001 by one of his bodyguards and was succeeded by his son, Joseph.
In December 2011, Joseph Kabila was re-elected for a second term as president. After the results were announced on 9 December, there was violent unrest in Kinshasa and Mbuji-Mayi, where official tallies showed that a strong majority had voted for the opposition candidate Etienne Tshisekedi. Official observers from the Carter Center reported that returns from almost 2,000 polling stations in areas where support for Tshisekedi was strong had been lost and not included in the official results. They described the election as lacking credibility. On 20 December, Kabila was sworn in for a second term, promising to invest in infrastructure and public services. However, Tshisekedi maintained that the result of the election was illegitimate and said that he intended also to “swear himself in” as president.
On 19 January 2015 protests led by students at the University of Kinshasa broke out. The protests began following the announcement of a proposed law that would allow Kabila to remain in power until a national census can be conducted (elections had been planned for 2016). By Wednesday 21 January clashes between police and protesters had claimed at least 42 lives (although the government claimed only 15 people had been killed).


The Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) was one of the first African countries to recognize HIV, registering cases of HIV among hospital patients as early as 1983. At the end of 2001, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimated that 1.3 million Congolese (adult and children) were living with HIV/AIDS, yielding an overall HIV prevalence of 4.9%. Beyond the 5% mark, the country’s epidemic will be considered “high level,” or firmly established within the general population. By the end of 2003, UNAIDS estimated that 1.1 million people were living with HIV/AIDS, for an overall adult HIV prevalence of 4.2%.
The main mode of HIV transmission occurs through heterosexual activity, which is linked to 87% of cases. The most affected age groups are women aged 20 to 29 and men aged 30 to 39. Life expectancy in the DR Congo dropped 9% in the 1990s as a result of HIV/AIDS.
Several factors fuel the spread of HIV in the DR Congo, including movement of large numbers of refugees and soldiers, scarcity and high cost of safe blood transfusions in rural areas, a lack of counseling, few HIV testing sites, high levels of untreated sexually transmitted infections among sex workers and their clients, and low availability of condoms outside Kinshasa and one or two provincial capitals. With the imminent end of hostilities and a government of transition, population movements associated with increased stability and economic revitalization will exacerbate the spread of HIV, which is now localized in areas most directly affected by the presence of troops and war-displaced populations. Consecutive wars have made it nearly impossible to conduct effective and sustainable HIV/AIDS prevention activities.

Malaria Prevention

In DRC, the burden of malaria is a major health problem. Malaria accounts for more than 40 percent of all outpatient visits and is the principal cause of morbidity and mortality. Forty percent of deaths among children under five years of age are due to malaria. Given the large population living in DRC’s high transmission zones in the north and west, it is estimated that the DRC accounts for 11 percent of all Plasmodium falciparum cases in sub-Saharan Africa. The current National Strategic Plan aims to reduce malaria mortality within health facilities by 50 percent over the period 2010-2015.


Air safety is a major concern. All air carriers that are under the oversight of the DRC have been banned in the European Community.

There is no reliable public transportation system. Travelers should avoid all travel by public transportation. Overcrowded vans and informal taxis.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has non-interconnected railways of 5,033 km. Three public institutions, the Commercial Company of Transports and Ports (SCTP), the Railways of Uélé and the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer du Congo (SNCC), ensure investments, management and exploitation of the existing infrastructures.
The rail network is largely inherited from the colonial times and was renovated during the 1970s in some areas. The infrastructure is in poor condition, but the network manages to function despite considerable delays and numerous incidents (with the exception of the Railways of Uélé which is not operational).


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