Republic of Congo By | Saturday, September 8  2012 at  16:14

Full Name
Republic of Congo (English)
Republique du Congo (French)
Origins: Named after the 15th Kingdom of Kongo, which thrived on both banks of the River Congo, extending into modern day Congo, Congo DR, Angola and Zambia
Formerly: Middle Congo, Brazzaville/Congo

Current Leader
Denis Sassou-Nguesso

Overview
Gained independence on August 15, 1960 from France
After independence, Congo embarked on a quarter century experiment with Marxism, which it abandoned in 1990. Elections ushered in a democratically elected government in 1992

Facts

Form of Government
Republic
President is both Chief of State and Head of Government
President is elected for a seven- year term and is eligible for a second term

Government Structure
President
Cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the President

Military Statistics
Manpower fit for service : Males age 16-49 : 538,202 and Females age 16-48 :527,649
Expenditures : 1.7 per cent of GDP
Branches : Congolese Armed Forces (Forces Armees Congolaises, FAC): Army (Armee de Terre), Navy, Congolese Air Force (Armee de l'Air Congolaise), Gendarmerie, Special Presidential Security Guard (GSSP)

Former rulers
Aug 15 1960 - Aug 15, 1963 Fulbert Youlou
1963 - 1968 Alphonse Massemba-Débat
1968 - Aug 4, 1968 Augustin Poignet
Sep 4, 1968 - Sep 5, 1968 Marien Ngouabi
1968 - 1969 Alfred Raoul
1969 - 1977 Marien Ngouabi
1977 - 1979 Jacques Joachim Yhombi-Opango
Feb 5, 1979 - Feb 7, 1979 Jean-Pierre Thystère Tchicaya
1979 - 1992 Denis Sassou-Nguesso
1992 - 1997 Pascal Lissouba
1997 – Present Denis Sassou-Nguesso

Capital
Brazzaville
Population: 1.285 million
Elevation: 315m

Population
Size : 4,140,000 (2011)
Life Expectancy: Women 56.6 and Men 54
Gender distribution: Men: 49.73%, Women: 50.27%\

GDP per capita

$ 4,600 (2011)

$ 4,600 (2012)

Geography
Area: 342,000sqkm
Boundaries: Angola 201km, Cameroon 523km, Central African Republic 467km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 2,410km, Gabon 1,903km

Languages
French (official), Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages), many local languages and dialects (of which Kikongo is the most widespread)

Religious Portfolio
Christian 50%
Traditionalists 48%
Muslim 2%

Natural Resources
Petroleum, Timber, Potash, Lead, Zinc, Uranium, Copper, Phosphates, Gold, Magnesium, Natural gas, Hydropower

Main Exports
Oil, Timber, Plywood, Sugar, Cocoa, Coffee, Diamonds


Land Use
Arable land: 1.45%
Permanent crops: 0.15%
Other: 98.4%

Monetary Unit
CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine) franc

Dialling Code
+242

Internet Code
.cg

Transport
Main Airport: Brazzaville - Maya Maya Airport (BZV/FCBB)
Main Port: Pointe-Noire

Modern Issues

Environmental
The Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) is second only to the Democratic Republic of Congo in terms of tropical rainforest coverage among African countries.
Congo's forests are highly threatened by logging, colonisation of forest lands, and poaching of animals.
The Republic of Congo was once one of Africa's largest petroleum producers, but with declining production, it may increasingly look towards its forests as a source of revenue

In 2011, the Congo embarked on a vast tree-planting programme to guard against the twin scourges of deforestation and soil degradation that plague many African states. The initiative comes from a country that has in the past been tipped as a continental leader in environmental conservation.

Political
An illustration of how rife corruption is in the poor nation, this year it emerged yesterday that Denis Sassou Nguesso, president of the Republic of Congo, owns 16 of the most luxurious houses and flats in the French capital of Paris

The post of Prime Minister was abolished in 2009
Elections were held July 12, 2009 and Dennis Sassou-Nguesso was re-elected
A civil war restored former president Dennis Sassou-Nguesso in 1997 with southern-based rebel groups agreeing to a final peace accord in March 2003.

Economic
Petroleum and mining are the main export activities in the Congo, with forestry and commercial agriculture also playing a major role in the economy.
In the 1980s, following a fall of world prices, the country experienced a major downturn, leading to an agreement with the Bretton Woods institutions to nationalise portions of the economy, with tangible results.
The country is still struggling with poverty. It struggled to repay its debts in the 1990s, with all aid suspended following the breakout of civil war. The IMF and the World Bank in 2000 and 2001 resumed lending, and in 2007 the London club of debtors cancelled 80 per cent of the country’s debt

Social
Many Pygmies in Congo live as slaves to Bantu masters. The nation is deeply stratified between these two major ethnic groups. The Pygmy slaves belong from birth to their Bantu masters in a relationship that the Bantus call a time-honoured tradition.

Foreign Affairs
France is Congo’s most prominent external partner and they have close economic connections

Mr. Sassou-Nguesso has also been strengthening ties with Rwanda. Rwandese president Kagame visited Congolese capital Brazzaville in November 2010 and Mr. Sassou-Nguesso reciprocated this year. The visits are a strong step towards boosting ties with resource-rich Congo and opening the door to investment and new markets for Kigali’s exports

In 2011, a dispute erupted between DRC and Congo-Brazzaville about an alleged attack on the former. Kinshasa had blamed Congo-Brazzaville for an attack on the city of Lukolela by a rebel troops. The attack was suspected to have been executed by forces close to General Faustin Munene, who is in exile in the latter – it was all able to be amicably resolved

Major Conflicts

Civil War
When: 1997 - 2003
Who: Miltia men loyal to Pascal Lissouba’s Government vs military led by Nguesso
Why: Militiamen loyal to the former government launched a guerilla war against President Sassou-Nguesso after he seized power in 1997 with the help of Angolan troops
Outcome: The civil war resulted in more than 10,000 deaths in Brazzaville alone.

What to see
In Brazzaville, the Brazzaville Basilica, the Marketplace, The Congo River Rapids, and the Lefini Faunal Reserve are good attractions.
A cruise down the Congo River is also popular with tourists
Basilique St. Anne: Consecrated in 1949, the Basilique St. Anne is a beautiful church and a reminder of French colonialism.
Charles de Gaulle house: When Brazzaville was the capital of the "Free France" of the 1940s, Charles de Gaulle had a house built for him, the site of which is popular among visitors still today.
Temple Mosque: One of Brazzaville's most prominent attractions, the Temple Mosque is distinguished by its architecture and reputation as the most important Muslim religious site in the city.
National Museum of Congo founded in 1965.
Gorges of Diosso: Formed by the natural clash of sea and hillside in Pointe Noire.
Cote Sauvage: A long stretch of precious, spacious beaches, in Pointe Noire

Sports
Popular Sports
Soccer: The Congolese Football Federation was founded in 1962 and affiliated with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)
Men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball are popular

Famous Sportspeople

Quirk
Pygmies were the first people to live in the Congo and are a peaceful, nomadic group that hunts and gathers food. The men in the tribe usually grow no higher than 5ft tall.