DR Congo is a vast country. Around the size of western Europe, it could be one of the richest African nations, by virtue of it’s natural resources. Its mineral wealth is unique, as is the colossal Congo river and immense swathes of virgin tropical forest. In terms of biodiversity, DR Congo is truly an African ‘hotspot’.
Unfortunately, DR Congo has been dogged by war, ethnic strife and civil unrest for decades. Corruption and lawlessness have led to many of DR Congo’s resources being illegally exploited.
Its people suffer from extreme poverty and have endured decades of fighting, particularly in the east of the country. There is a long and complex history of major human conflict and exploitation in DR Congo that can best be explored further, via the links given at the end of the page.
The smiling faces of children and the bright colourful clothing seen everywhere belies the desperate struggle many communities continue to face.
The resilience and strength shown by so many is humbling.
Do take the opportunity to discover more about DR Congo, its people, cultures and wildlife.
It is a breathtakingly beautiful nation with communities that deserve long term peace and security.
Virunga National Park in the east of the country, with villages and the Mikeno sector marked. Kinshasa, the capital, in the far west of DR Congo.
Area: 2.34 million square kilometres or 905,354 square miles
Population: estimated at 59 million, 8m in the capital Kinshasa
Terrain: vast low lying central area, mountains in the east
Climate: tropical, hot and humid - variations north and south of the equator
Land use: arable land 2.96% / permanent crops 0.52% / other 96.52%
Natural resources: cobalt, copper, cadmium, petroleum, diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, germanium, uranium, radium, bauxite, iron ore, coal, hydropower, timber
Industries: mining, mineral processing, consumer products, cement
Agricultural products: coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber, tea, quinine, cassava, bananas, root crops, corn, fruit, wood products
Economy: drastically declined since mid 1980’s; increasing external debt; since 1998 foreign businesses have withdrawn due to the difficult and dangerous operating environment; raging inflation, uncertain legal framework and corruption all intensified by ongoing conflict
Government type: dictatorship until democratically elected government in 2006
Independence: 30th June 1960 from Belgium
Currency: Congolese franc
A brief overview of conflict in DR Congo:
DR Congo hosts MONUC, the UN's largest ever peacekeeping mission who are primarily based in eastern Congo.
For maps and further information go to:
www.fco.gov.uk and search for Democratic Republic of Congo. There are links to sections on history, geography, politics, economy, international relations and trade and investment.