After several hundred years of local governance, the Kingdoms of Kongo, Luba, and Lunda emerged and ruled different parts of the Congo River Basin until the end of the 19th Century. European conquest of the Congo Basin in the 1870s brought the territory under the control of Belgian King LEOPOLD II, and later the Belgian state. The Republic of the Congo gained its independence from Belgium in 1960. The country’s name was changed to Zaire in 1971 and to Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1997.




total: 2,344,858 sq km
land: 2,267,048 sq km
water: 77,810 sq km


tropical; hot and humid in equatorial river basin; cooler and drier in southern highlands; cooler and wetter in eastern highlands; north of Equator - wet season (April to October), dry season (December to February); south of Equator - wet season (November to March), dry season (April to October)

Natural resources

cobalt, copper, niobium, tantalum, petroleum, industrial and gem diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, uranium, coal, hydropower, timber

People and Society


111,859,928 (2023 est.)

Ethnic groups

more than 200 African ethnic groups of which the majority are Bantu; the four largest groups - 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 29.9%, Protestant 26.7%, other Christian 36.5%, Kimbanguist 2.8%, Muslim 1.3%, other (includes syncretic sects and indigenous beliefs) 1.2%, none 1.3%, unspecified 0.2% (2014 est.)

Population growth rate

3.13% (2023 est.)


Government type

semi-presidential republic


name: Kinshasa

Executive branch

chief of state: President Felix TSHISEKEDI (since 24 January 2019)
head of government: Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama LUKONDE (since 15 February 2021); Deputy Prime Ministers Jose MAKILA, Leonard She OKITUNDU, Henri MOVA Sankanyi (since February 2018) Jean-Pierre BEMBBA (since 23 March 2023)

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of:
Senate (109 seats; 109 members to include 108 indirectly elected by provincial assemblies by proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms and a former president, appointed for life)

National Assembly (500 seats; 439 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote and 61 directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote; members serve 5-year terms)



Economic overview

very poor, large, natural resource-rich sub-Saharan country; possesses the world’s second largest rainforest; increasing Chinese extractive sector trade; massive decrease in government investments; increasing current account deficit and public debts

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$102.956 billion (2021 est.)
$96.945 billion (2020 est.)
$95.292 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$1,100 (2021 est.)
$1,000 (2020 est.)
$1,100 (2019 est.)

Agricultural products

cassava, plantains, sugar cane, maize, oil palm fruit, rice, roots/tubers nes, bananas, sweet potatoes, groundnuts


mining (copper, cobalt, gold, diamonds, coltan, zinc, tin, tungsten), mineral processing, consumer products (textiles, plastics, footwear, cigarettes), metal products, processed foods and beverages, timber, cement, commercial ship repair


2.28% of GDP (2020 est.)
4.01% of GDP (2019 est.)
3.83% of GDP (2018 est.)


$22.354 billion (2021 est.)
$13.932 billion (2020 est.)
$15.173 billion (2019 est.)

Exports - partners

China 53%, United Arab Emirates 11%, Saudi Arabia 6%, South Korea 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

copper, cobalt, crude petroleum, tin, diamonds (2021)


$22.193 billion (2021 est.)
$14.557 billion (2020 est.)
$16.892 billion (2019 est.)

Imports - partners

China 29%, South Africa 15%, Zambia 12%, Rwanda 5%, Belgium 5%, India 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

packaged medicines, refined petroleum, sulfuric acid, stone processing machines, delivery trucks (2019)

Exchange rates

Congolese francs (CDF) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
1,989.391 (2021 est.)
1,851.122 (2020 est.)
1,647.76 (2019 est.)
1,622.524 (2018 est.)
1,464.418 (2017 est.)

Page last updated: Tuesday, November 28, 2023