The official name is the Republic of the Congo (Rupublique du Congo, Republic of Congo).
It is located in the west of Central Africa, in the lower reaches of the Congo River. The area is 342 thousand km2, the population is 3.26 million people. (2002). The official language is French. The capital is the city of Brazzaville (over 850 thousand people, 2002). Public holiday – Independence Day on August 15 (since 1960). The monetary unit is the African franc (equal to 100 centimes).
Member of the UN (since 1960), AU (since 1963), a number of regional economic organizations, associate member of the EU.
Geography of the Congo
It is located between 3°25′ north latitude and 5°54′ south latitude and 11°48′ and 18°22′ east longitude. In the southwest it has access to the Atlantic Ocean, the length of the coastline is approx. 170 km. It borders in the east and south with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the west with Gabon, in the north with Cameroon, Central African Republic, in the south with Angola. The relief is flat-flat mountainous with elevation changes from 100 to 1000 m above sea level with the highest point – Leketi Peak (1040 m) – on the Beteke Plateau north of Brazzaville. Natural resources are rich and diverse: oil (industrial reserves – 800 million tons), natural gas (100 billion m3), polymetallic ores – lead, copper, zinc (5 million tons), potassium salts (30 billion tons), phosphates (7 million tons), iron and uranium ores (800 million tons), gold, etc. Red-yellow and red ferralitic, as well as lateritic-gley soils predominate. The climate is hot and humid, in the southwest – humid tropical, in the central part – subequatorial. Precipitation falls from 1200 to 2000 mm per year. The average monthly temperature is +21-26°С. Most of the country belongs to the Congo River basin – the deepest, largest in terms of basin area (3690 thousand km2) and the 2nd longest (4320 km) river in Africa. Most of the country’s territory is located in the forest zone with moist semi-deciduous, evergreen tropical and mangrove forests. Savannahs occupy the central and southern parts of the country. The vegetation of this zone combines herbaceous and woody species. Almost the entire animal world of Africa is represented in the Congo: monkeys, elephants, hippos, river pigs, antelopes, buffaloes, representatives of the giraffe family – okapi, leopards, lions, striped jackals, hyena dogs. The fauna of birds, reptiles and insects is rich.
Since 1982, the country’s population has almost doubled. Average annual population growth 2.2% (2000-02). Population density 9.5 people per 1 km2. Birth rate 37.9%, mortality 16.1%, infant mortality 98 people. per 1000 newborns. The average life expectancy is 48 years (men – 45, women – 51). Sex and age structure: 0-14 years – 42% (ratio of men and women 1.01); 15-64 years – 54% (0.95); 65 years and older – 4% (0.67). The ratio of men and women in the entire population is 0.97. The adult population is illiterate at 25% (men 17%, women 33%), one of the lowest rates in Africa.
According to Countryaah, there are up to 15 ethnic groups and up to 77 nationalities in the country, 97% of which belong to the Bantu language family, 48% to the Kongo, 20% to the Sanga, 17% to the Teke, 12% to the Mboshi. The official language is French, of which Lingala and Kikongo are the most common African languages.
St. 50% of the population adheres to local traditional beliefs, 31% are Catholics, 15.5% are Protestants, 0.5% are Muslims.
Science and culture of the Congo
In 1965, compulsory free 10-year education for children between the ages of 6 and 16 was legislated. Since 1990, private educational institutions have been officially allowed. UNESCO estimates that 99% of school-age children are enrolled in primary education. The higher education system is represented by the University of Brazzaville. M.Nguabi (includes 2 faculties and 5 institutes), the Higher Engineering and Technical School and the Higher Normal School. There are more than 10 research institutions, 5 archival and library funds, several large museums in the country.
Congolese traditional art is known for its symbolic sculpture and masks. The folklore art of the peoples of the Congo developed long before the advent of writing. Such writers as J.F.Chikaya, U.Tamsi, J.-B.Tati-Loutar, S.A.Nancy, A.Lopez were widely known.