Democratic Republic of the Congo Flag Icon

Democratic Republic of the Congo Country Guide

Explore Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa

Travel warning information is updated daily: The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's advisory service suggests to reconsider your need to travel to this country. Take this advice seriously - check with your local authorities whether your exact destination is safe.

Democratic Republic of the Congo with the capital city Kinshasa is located in Africa (Central Africa, northeast of Angola). It covers some 2,345,411 square kilometres (slightly less than one-fourth the size of the US) with 60,085,004 citizens.

Interactive map of Democratic Republic of the Congo

The terrain features vast central basin being a low-lying plateau having mountains in east. The average density of population is approximately 26 per km². The notable climate conditions in Democratic Republic of the Congo can be described as tropical with hot and humid in equatorial river basin, cooler and drier in southern highlands, cooler and wetter in eastern highlands, north of Equator - wet season (April to October), dry season (December to February), south of Equator - wet season (November to March), dry season (April to October). Potential natural disasters are periodic droughts in south or Congo River floods (seasonal) or in the east, in the Great Rift Valley, there are active volcanoes.

To reach someone in Democratic Republic of the Congo dial +243 prior to a number. There are 40,000 installed telephones. And there are 10,163,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900 Mhz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".cd". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 220V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Democratic Republic of the Congo

Sky blue field divided diagonally from the lower hoist corner to upper fly corner by a red stripe bordered by two narrow yellow stripes; a yellow, five-pointed star appears in the upper hoist corner; blue represents peace and hope, red the blood of the country's martyrs, and yellow the country's wealth and prosperity; the star symbolizes unity and the brilliant future for the country.

Established as a Belgian colony in 1908, the then-Republic of the Congo gained its independence in 1960, but its early years were marred by political and social instability. Col. Joseph MOBUTU seized power and declared himself president in a November 1965 coup. He subsequently changed his name - to MOBUTU Sese Seko - as well as that of the country - to Zaire. MOBUTU retained his position for 32 years through several sham elections, as well as through brutal force. Ethnic strife and civil war, touched off by a massive inflow of refugees in 1994 from fighting in Rwanda and Burundi, led in May 1997 to the toppling of the MOBUTU regime by a rebellion backed by Rwanda and Uganda and fronted by Laurent KABILA. He renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), but in August 1998 his regime was itself challenged by a second insurrection again backed by Rwanda and Uganda. Troops from Angola, Chad, Namibia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe intervened to support KABILA's regime. In January 2001, KABILA was assassinated and his son, Joseph KABILA, was named head of state. In October 2002, the new president was successful in negotiating the withdrawal of Rwandan forces occupying the eastern DRC; two months later, the Pretoria Accord was signed by all remaining warring parties to end the fighting and establish a government of national unity. A transitional government was set up in July 2003; it held a successful constitutional referendum in December 2005 and elections for the presidency, National Assembly, and provincial legislatures took place in 2006. In 2009, following a resurgence of conflict in the eastern DRC, the government signed a peace agreement with the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), a primarily Tutsi rebel group. An attempt to integrate CNDP members into the Congolese military failed, prompting their defection in 2012 and the formation of the M23 armed group - named after the 23 March 2009 peace agreements. Renewed conflict has lead to the displacement of large numbers of persons and significant human rights abuses. As of February 2013, peace talks between the Congolese government and the M23 were on-going. In addition, the DRC continues to experience violence committed by other armed groups including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda and Mai Mai groups. In the most recent national elections, held in November 2011, disputed results allowed Joseph KABILA to be reelected to the presidency .

Geography Quick-Facts

Summary Continent: Africa
Neighbours: Tanzania, Central African Republic, Sudan, Rwanda, Zambia, Burundi, Uganda, Republic of the Congo, Angola
Capital: Kinshasa
Size 2,345,410 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 905,568 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly less than one-fourth the size of the US
Population 60,085,004
Currency Name: Franc, Currency Code: CDF
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .cd
Telephone Country Prefix +243
Mobile Phone Connections 10,163,000
Landline Phone Connections 40,000

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value name Value World Rank
Area 2,344,858 (sq km) 11

People and Society

Value name Value World Rank
Population 75,507,308 19
Population growth rate 2.54 (%) 27
Birth rate 36.34 (births/1,000 population) 19
Death rate 10.54 (deaths/1,000 population) 43
Net migration rate -0.40 (migrant(s)/1,000 population) 131
Maternal mortality rate 540.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 17
Infant mortality rate 74.87 (deaths/1,000 live births) 12
Life expectancy at birth 56.14 (years) 200
Total fertility rate 4.95 (children born/woman) 20
Health expenditures 7.90 (% of GDP) 64
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 1.70 (%) 185
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 28.20 (%) 20
Education expenditures 2.50 (% of GDP) 159


Value name Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 28,030,000,000 114
GDP - real growth rate 7.10 (%) 26
GDP - per capita (PPP) 400 228
Labor force 35,920,000 18
Taxes and other revenues 19.1 (% of GDP) 171
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -3.80 (% of GDP) 129
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 10.50 (%) 201
Central bank discount rate 20.00 (%) 7
Commercial bank prime lending rate 43.75 (%) 3
Stock of narrow money 1,016,000,000 149
Stock of broad money 3,087,000,000 144
Stock of domestic credit 613,000,000 168
Current account balance -2,200,000,000 140
Exports 11,280,000,000 91
Imports 9,237,000,000 102
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 810,200,000 143
Debt - external 7,644,000,000 103


Value name Value World Rank
Electricity - production 7,750,000,000 (kWh) 100
Electricity - consumption 6,588,000,000 (kWh) 101
Electricity - exports 887,000,000 (kWh) 56
Electricity - imports 105,000,000 (kWh) 94
Electricity - installed generating capacity 2475000 (kW) 96
Electricity - from fossil fuels 1.3 (% of total installed capacity) 204
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 98.7 (% of total installed capacity) 6
Crude oil - production 20,160 (bbl/day) 72
Crude oil - exports 11,000 (bbl/day) 58
Crude oil - proved reserves 180000000 (bbl) 65
Refined petroleum products - consumption 10,240 (bbl/day) 154
Refined petroleum products - imports 11,500 (bbl/day) 131
Natural gas - proved reserves 991,100,000 (cu m) 100
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 2,804,000 (Mt) 143


Value name Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 57,000 161
Telephones - mobile cellular 15,645,000 53
Internet hosts 2,515 159
Internet users 290,000 131


Value name Value World Rank
Airports 201 30
Railways 4,007 (km) 43
Roadways 153,497 (km) 32
Waterways 15,000 (km) 8
Merchant marine 1 148


Value name Value World Rank
Military expenditures 1.20 (% of GDP) 115

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Name Since
Garamba National Park
The park's immense savannahs, grasslands and woodlands, interspersed with gallery forests along the river banks and the swampy depressions, are home to four large mammals: the elephant, giraffe, hippopotamus and above all the white rhinoceros. Though ...
Kahuzi-Biega National Park
A vast area of primary tropical forest dominated by two spectacular extinct volcanoes, Kahuzi and Biega, the park has a diverse and abundant fauna. One of the last groups of eastern lowland (graueri) gorillas (consisting of only some 250 individuals) ...
Okapi Wildlife Reserve
The Okapi Wildlife Reserve occupies about one-fifth of the Ituri forest in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Congo river basin, of which the reserve and forest are a part, is one of the largest drainage systems in Africa. Th ...
Salonga National Park
Salonga National Park is Africa's largest tropical rainforest reserve. Situated at the heart of the central basin of the Congo river, the park is very isolated and accessible only by water. It is the habitat of many endemic endangered species, such a ...
Virunga National Park
Virunga National Park (covering an area of 790,000 ha) comprises an outstanding diversity of habitats, ranging from swamps and steppes to the snowfields of Rwenzori at an altitude of over 5,000 m, and from lava plains to the savannahs on the slopes o ...