Congo at a Glance
- With an estimated population of 75 million, the Democratic Republic of Congo is the fourth most populous country in Africa, and the 19th most populous country in the world.
- The country is known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, DR Congo, DRC, DROC, RDC, Congo-Kinshasa, and Congo.
- At 2,3 million square kilometers (slightly less than one-fourth the size of the U.S.), Congo is the second largest country in the African continent (after Algeria) and covers a land area larger than the Spain, France, Germany, Sweden, and Norway combined.
- Nine nations border DRC: Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
- Kinshasa and Brazzaville in the next-door Republic of Congo are the closest capital cities in the world, with the exception of Vatican City and Rome.
- There are over 250 ethnic groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and more than 240 identified languages.
- The life expectancy at birth in Congo is 50 years – compared to 79 years in the United States.
- The median age in Congo is 18 – compared to 38 in the United States.
- Congo has the fourth lowest GDP per capita in the world after Malawi, Burundi, and the Central African Republic: $413 – compared to $54,600 in the United States.
- Congo’s latest population census was conducted in 1984.
- The DRC ranks #120 on the World Happiness Report.
Congo’s Natural Resources
- 18% of the planet’s remaining tropical rainforest is in the DRC and Congo is home to the second largest rainforest in the world.
- Virunga National Park, located in eastern Congo, was Africa’s first national park and has the highest biological diversity of any national park in Africa.
- Congo’s natural resources include cobalt, copper, niobium, tantalum, petroleum, industrial and gem diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, uranium, coal, hydropower, and timber.
- Uranium extracted from the Shinkolobwe mine in the DRC was used to produce the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.
- In 1908 activists, including Mark Twain, started the first international human rights campaign, The Congo Reform Association, to expose rampant abuses of labor by public servants in King Leopold II of Belgium’s Congo Free State.
- DRC is the birthplace of African Rumba music, a fusion of Latin and African music, which dominates airwaves across central Africa.
- In 1974 DRC was the first sub-Saharan African country to go to the FIFA World Cup.
- Che Guevara spent a year in Congo fighting with rebels in 1965.
- Congo’s own Simba beer bottle is nearly twice the size of most beer bottles around the world.
- Only in Congo can you find the endangered great apes, such as the bonobos and the eastern lowland gorillas.
- Congo has two time zones..
- ..and a space program!