Geographic and Governmental Profile of DRC

Background
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. A cease-fire was signed in July 1999 by the DRC, Congolese armed rebel groups, Angola, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe but sporadic fighting continued. Laurent KABILA was assassinated in January 2001 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 eastern Congo; 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 the most recent national elections, held in November 2011, disputed results allowed Joseph KABILA to be reelected to the presidency .
Location
Central Africa, northeast of Angola
Geographic coordinates
0 00 N, 25 00 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Africa
Area
total:
2,344,858 sq km
rank:
11
land:
2,267,048 sq km
water:
77,810 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly less than one-fourth the size of the US
Land boundaries
total:
10,730 km
border countries:
Angola 2,511 km (of which 225 km is the boundary of Angola's discontiguous Cabinda Province), Burundi 233 km, Central African Republic 1,577 km, Republic of the Congo 2,410 km, Rwanda 217 km, South Sudan 628 km, Tanzania 459 km, Uganda 765 km, Zambia 1,930 km
Coastline
37 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
exclusive economic zone:
boundaries with neighbors
Climate
tropical; 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)
Terrain
vast central basin is a low-lying plateau; mountains in east
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point:
Pic Marguerite on Mont Ngaliema (Mount Stanley) 5,110 m
Natural resources
cobalt, copper, niobium, tantalum, petroleum, industrial and gem diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, uranium, coal, hydropower, timber
Land use
arable land:
2.86%
permanent crops:
0.47%
other:
96.67% (2005)
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Irrigated land
110 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
1,283 cu km (2001)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
0.36 cu km/yr (53%/17%/31%)
per capita:
6 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
periodic droughts in south; Congo River floods (seasonal); active volcanoes in the east along the Great Rift Valley
volcanism:
Nyiragongo (elev. 3,470 m), which erupted in 2002 and is experiencing ongoing activity, poses a major threat to the city of Goma, home to a quarter million people; the volcano produces unusually fast-moving lava, known to travel up to 100 km /hr; Nyiragongo has been deemed a "Decade Volcano" by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; its neighbor, Nyamuragira, which erupted in 2010, is Africa's most active volcano; Visoke is the only other historically active volcano
Environment - current issues
poaching threatens wildlife populations; water pollution; deforestation; refugees responsible for significant deforestation, soil erosion, and wildlife poaching; mining of minerals (coltan - a mineral used in creating capacitors, diamonds, and gold) causing environmental damage
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified:
Environmental Modification
Geography - note
straddles equator; has narrow strip of land that controls the lower Congo River and is only outlet to South Atlantic Ocean; dense tropical rain forest in central river basin and eastern highlands; second largest country in Africa (after Algeria)
Country name
conventional long form:
Democratic Republic of the Congo
conventional short form:
DRC
local long form:
Republique Democratique du Congo
local short form:
RDC
former:
Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Congo/Leopoldville, Congo/Kinshasa, Zaire
abbreviation:
DRC
Government type
republic
Capital
name:
Kinshasa
geographic coordinates:
4 19 S, 15 18 E
time difference:
UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
10 provinces (provinces, singular - province) and 1 city* (ville); Bandundu, Bas-Congo (Lower Congo), Equateur, Kasai-Occidental (West Kasai), Kasai-Oriental (East Kasai), Katanga, Kinshasa*, Maniema, Nord-Kivu (North Kivu), Orientale, Sud-Kivu (South Kivu)
according to the Constitution adopted in December 2005, the current administrative divisions were to be subdivided into 26 new provinces by 2009 but this has yet to be implemented
Independence
30 June 1960 (from Belgium)
Constitution
18 February 2006
Legal system
civil legal system based on Belgian version of French civil law
International law organization participation
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Joseph KABILA (since 17 January 2001)
head of government:
Prime Minister Augustin Matata PONYO Mapon (since 18 April 2012)
cabinet:
Ministers of State appointed by the president
elections:
under the new constitution the president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); elections last held on 28 November 2011 (next to be held on November 2016); prime minister appointed by the president
election results:
Joseph KABILA reelected president; percent of vote - Joseph KABILA 49%, Etienne TSHISEKEDI 32.3%, other 18.7%; note - election marred by serious voting irregularities
Joseph KABILA succeeded his father, Laurent Desire KABILA, following the latter's assassination in January 2001; negotiations with rebel leaders led to the establishment of a transitional government in July 2003 with free elections held on 30 July 2006 and a run-off on 29 October 2006 confirming Joseph KABILA as president
Legislative branch
bicameral legislature consists of a Senate (108 seats; members elected by provincial assemblies to serve five-year terms) and a National Assembly (500 seats; 61 members elected by majority vote in single-member constituencies, 439 members elected by open list proportional-representation in multi-member constituencies to serve five-year terms)
elections:
Senate - last held on 19 January 2007 (next to be held on 5 June 2013); National Assembly - last held on 28 November 2011 (next to be held in 2016)
election results:
Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PPRD 22, MLC 14, FR 7, RCD 7, PDC 6, CDC 3, MSR 3, PALU 2, independents 26, others 18 (political parties that won a single seat); National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PPRD 62, UDPS 41, PPPD 29, MSR 27, MLC 22, PALU 19, UNC 17, ARC 16, AFDC 15, ECT 11, RRC 11, independents 16, others 214 (includes numerous political parties that won 10 or fewer seats and 2 constituencies where voting was halted); note - the November 2011 elections were married by violence including the destruction of ballots in two constituencies resulting in the closure of polling sites; election results were delayed three months, stongly contested, and continue to be unresolved
Judicial branch
Constitutional Court; Appeals Court or Cour de Cassation; Council of State; High Military Court; plus civil and military courts and tribunals
Political parties and leaders
Christian Democrat Party or PDC [Jose ENDUNDO]; Congolese Rally for Democracy or RCD [Azarias RUBERWA]; Convention of Christian Democrats or CDC; Forces of Renewal or FR [Mbusa NYAMWISI]; Movement for the Liberation of the Congo or MLC [Jean-Pierre BEMBA]; People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy or PPRD [Joseph KABILA]; Social Movement for Renewal or MSR [Pierre LUMBI]; Unified Lumumbist Party or PALU [Antoine GIZENGA]; Union for the Congolese Nation or UNC [Vital KAMERHE]; Union for Democracy and Social Progress or UDPS [Etienne TSHISEKEDI]; Union of Mobutuist Democrats or UDEMO [MOBUTU Nzanga]
Political pressure groups and leaders
FARDC (Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo) - Army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo which commits atrocities on citizens; FDLR (Forces Democratiques de Liberation du Rwanda) - Rwandan militia group made up of some of the perpetrators of Rwanda's Genocide in 1994; CNDP (National Congress for the Defense of the People) - mainly Congolese Tutsis who want refugees returned and more representation in government
International organization participation
ACP, AfDB, AU, CEPGL, COMESA, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Faida MITIFU
chancery:
Suite 601, 1726 M Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20036
telephone:
[1] (202) 234-7690 through 7691
FAX:
[1] (202) 234-2609
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador James F. ENTWISTLE
embassy:
310 Avenue des Aviateurs, Kinshasa
mailing address:
Unit 31550, APO AE 09828
telephone:
[243] (81) 225-5872
FAX:
[243] (81) 301-0561
Flag description
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
National symbol(s)
leopard
National anthem
name:
"Debout Congolaise" (Arise Congolese)
lyrics/music:
Joseph LUTUMBA/Simon-Pierre BOKA di Mpasi Londi
adopted 1960; the anthem was replaced during the period in which the country was known as Zaire, but was readopted in 1997
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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