Democratic Republic of the Congo
Here are a few things things to know about one of the richest African countries, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
DRC is not Republic of the Congo, but here are a few ‘Did You Know‘ picks from My Afrika Magazine.
- Democratic Republic of the Congo is also known as Congo-Kinshasa, DR Congo, the DRC, the DROC, was formerly known as Zaire.
- Congo achieved independence from Belgium on 30 June 1960 under the name Republic of the Congo. Congolese nationalist Patrice Lumumba was elected the first Prime Minister, while Joseph Kasa-Vubu became the first President.
- Destabilisation in the east resulting from the 1994 Rwandan genocide led to a 1996 invasion led by Rwanda, which led to Mobutu’s ousting in the First Congo War the following year.
- Laurent-Désiré Kabila then became the new president, reverting the country’s name to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Tensions between President Kabila and the Rwandan and Tutsi presence in the country led to the Second Congo War from 1998 to 2003.
- The Democratic Republic of the Congo is extremely rich in natural resources but has suffered from political instability.
- The Northeastern Congolian lowland forests, with one of the richest concentrations of primates in the world.
- The country is currently divided into the city-province of Kinshasa and 25 other provinces.
- The rainforests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo contain great biodiversity, including many rare and endemic species, such as the common chimpanzee and the bonobo, the African forest elephant, the mountain gorilla, the okapi and the white rhino.
- The Democratic Republic of Congo is widely considered one of the world’s richest countries in natural resources; its untapped deposits of raw minerals are estimated to be worth in excess of US$24 trillion.
- Ground transport in the Democratic Republic of Congo has always been difficult. The terrain and climate of the Congo Basin present serious barriers to road and rail construction, and the distances are enormous across this vast country.
- In 2014, the literacy rate for the population between the ages of 15 and 49 was estimated to be 75.9% (88.1% male and 63.8% female) according to a DHS nationwide survey.
- Over 200 ethnic groups populate the Democratic Republic of the Congo, of which the majority are Bantu peoples. Together, Mongo, Luba, Kongo peoples, Mangbetu and the Azande peoples constitute around 45% of the population. The Kongo people are the largest ethnic group in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- French is the official language of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is culturally accepted as the lingua franca, facilitating communication among the many different ethnic groups of the Congo.
- The DRC has its influences on Cuban music rumba, originally kumba from Congo and merengue.
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