Congo Background

Situation in Congo

In May 1997, the name of Zaire was changed to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The third largest country in Africa, Congo borders nine countries and is situated in the region known as Sub-Saharan Africa.

In terms of quality of life, Africa ranks at the bottom of the UN’s Human Development Index in the world, with the second lowest life expectancy, education levels, and income.

Life for most people is a daily struggle to survive. According to the UN, 95% of the people earn less than $2 a day and about 70% of Congolese lack access to adequate food. Children are the most vulnerable. Nine percent of children under age five are acutely malnourished, and 43 percent suffer from chronic malnutrition

  • 71,712,867 (July 2011 est.) (34% urban)
  • Kinshassa, capital city (8.4 million people)
  • 905,365 square miles (a nation as large as the U.S. east of the Mississippi River)
  • Annual income per person: $300
  • Languages: French (official), Lingala, Chiluba, Kikongo, Kiswahili
  • Religion: 70% Christian, 20% Traditional, 10% Muslim
  • Ethnicity: More than 200 groups, mostly Bantu
  • Life expectancy: 53 female; 50 male
  • Mineral resources: cobalt, copper, diamonds, oil
  • Average temperatures: 80 degrees F – coastal/ basin areas; 65 degrees F mountains

Situation in Mbujimayi

The population of Mbujimayi, the third largest city in Congo, is more than 3 million people. Mbujimayi is located in Eastern Kasai, which is situated in the center-south region of the Congo. The area is largely underdeveloped with a total lack of basic infrastructure, including running water and electricity. War, political uncertainty, and economic collapse have left many of the people without basic essentials, especially women and children.

Date: 08/23/2011 Description: Map of Democratic Repulbic of Congo © CIA World Factbook