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People and Society






Established as a Belgian colony in 1908, the then-Republic of the Congo gained its independence in 1960, but its early years were marred by political and social instability. Col. Joseph MOBUTU seized power and declared himself president in a November 1965 coup. He subsequently changed his name - to MOBUTU Sese Seko - as well as that of the country - to Zaire. MOBUTU retained his position for 32 years through several sham elections, as well as through brutal force. Ethnic strife and civil war, touched off by a massive inflow of refugees in 1994 from fighting in Rwanda and Burundi, led in May 1997 to the toppling of the MOBUTU regime by a rebellion backed by Rwanda and Uganda and fronted by Laurent KABILA. He renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), but in August 1998 his regime was itself challenged by a second insurrection again backed by Rwanda and Uganda. Troops from Angola, Chad, Namibia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe intervened to support KABILA's regime. A cease-fire was signed in July 1999 by the DRC, Congolese armed rebel groups, Angola, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe but sporadic fighting continued. Laurent KABILA was assassinated in January 2001 and his son, Joseph KABILA, was named head of state. In October 2002, the new president was successful in negotiating the withdrawal of Rwandan forces occupying eastern Congo; two months later, the Pretoria Accord was signed by all remaining warring parties to end the fighting and establish a government of national unity. A transitional government was set up in July 2003; it held a successful constitutional referendum in December 2005 and elections for the presidency, National Assembly, and provincial legislatures took place in 2006. In the most recent national elections, held in November 2011, disputed results allowed Joseph KABILA to be reelected to the presidency .


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People And Society

Congolese (singular and plural)
Adjective Congolese or Congo

Ethnic groups
Over 200 African ethnic groups of which the majority are Bantu; the four largest tribes - Mongo, Luba, Kongo (all Bantu), and the Mangbetu-Azande (Hamitic) make up about 45% of the population

French (official), Lingala (a lingua franca trade language), Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili), Kikongo, Tshiluba

Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim 10%, other (includes syncretic sects and indigenous beliefs) 10%

Population World Ranking: 19
73,599,190 (July 2012 est.)
Estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected

Age structure
0-14 years
44.4% (male 16,031,347/female 15,811,818)
15-64 years
53% (male 18,919,942/female 19,116,204)
65 years and over
2.6% (male 767,119/female 1,066,437) (2011 est.)

Median age
Total 17.6 years
Male 17.4 years
Female 17.8 years (2012 est.)

Population growth rate World Ranking: 25
2.579% (2012 est.)

Birth rate World Ranking: 19
37.05 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Death rate World Ranking: 42
10.8 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

Net migration rate World Ranking: 138
-0.47 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Urban population 35% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization
4.5% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major cities - population
KINSHASA (capital) 8.401 million; Lubumbashi 1.543 million; Mbuji-Mayi 1.488 million; Kananga 878,000; Kisangani 812,000 (2009)

Sex ratio
At birth 1.03 male(s)/female
Under 15 years 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over 0.72 male(s)/female
Total population
0.99 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal mortality rate World Ranking: 17
540 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate World Ranking: 13
Total 76.63 deaths/1,000 live births
Male 80.36 deaths/1,000 live births
72.79 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.)

Life expectancy at birth World Ranking: 198
Total population 55.74 years
Male 54.28 years
Female 57.23 years (2012 est.)

Total fertility rate World Ranking: 17
5.09 children born/woman (2012 est.)

Health expenditures World Ranking: 19
11.2% of GDP (2009)

Physicians density
0.11 physicians/1,000 population (2004)

Hospital bed density
0.8 beds/1,000 population (2006)

Hiv/aids - adult prevalence rate

Hiv/aids - people living with hiv/aids

Hiv/aids - deaths

Major infectious diseases
Degree of risk Very high
Food or waterborne diseases
Bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne diseases
Malaria, plague, and African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness)
Water contact disease Schistosomiasis
Animal contact disease Rabies (2009)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight World Ranking: 21
28.2% (2007)

Education expenditures

Age 15 and over can read and write French, Lingala, Kingwana, or Tshiluba
Total population 66.8%
Male 76.9%
Female 57% (2010 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
Total 8 years
Male 9 years
Female 7 years (2009)


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  Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Kinshasa):

  GPS points from Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Kinshasa)

Ododwe Province Orientale

Mwali Democratic Republic Of The Congo (general)

Kama Province Du Maniema

Gbokpowo Democratic Republic Of The Congo (general)

Mukoso Democratic Republic Of The Congo (general)

Lwana Democratic Republic Of The Congo (general)

Sumba Province Du Katanga

Zasharia Province Du Nord-kivu
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