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Congo, Republic of the

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Introduction

Background

Upon independence in 1960, the former French region of Middle Congo became the Republic of the Congo. A quarter century of experimentation with Marxism was abandoned in 1990 and a democratically elected government took office in 1992. A two-year civil war that ended in 1999 restored former Marxist President Denis SASSOU-Nguesso, who had ruled from 1979 to 1992, and sparked a short period of ethnic and political unrest that was resolved by a peace agreement in late 1999. A new constitution adopted three years later provided for a multi-party system and a seven-year presidential term, and elections arranged shortly thereafter retained SASSOU-Nguesso. Following a year of renewed fighting, President SASSOU-Nguesso and southern-based rebel groups agreed to a final peace accord in March 2003. SASSOU-Nguesso was reelected in 2009 and, after passing a referendum allowing him to run for additional terms, was reelected again in 2016 and 2021. The Republic of Congo is one of Africa's largest petroleum producers, but with declining production it will need new offshore oil finds to sustain its oil earnings over the long term.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Central Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and Gabon

Geographic coordinates

1 00 S, 15 00 E

Area

total: 342,000 sq km

land: 341,500 sq km

water: 500 sq km

comparison ranking: total 65

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Montana; about twice the size of Florida

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 5,554 km

border countries (5): Angola 231 km; Cameroon 494 km; Central African Republic 487 km; Democratic Republic of the Congo 1,775 km; Gabon 2,567 km

Coastline

169 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate

tropical; rainy season (March to June); dry season (June to October); persistent high temperatures and humidity; particularly enervating climate astride the Equator

Terrain

coastal plain, southern basin, central plateau, northern basin

Elevation

highest point: Mont Nabeba 1,020 m

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

mean elevation: 430 m

Natural resources

petroleum, timber, potash, lead, zinc, uranium, copper, phosphates, gold, magnesium, natural gas, hydropower

Land use

agricultural land: 31.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 1.6% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.2% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 29.3% (2018 est.)

forest: 65.6% (2018 est.)

other: 3.3% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

20 sq km (2012)

Major rivers (by length in km)

Oubangui (Ubangi) (shared with Central African Republic [s] and Democratic Republic of Congo [m]) - 2,270 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Congo (3,730,881 sq km)

Major aquifers

Congo Basin

Population distribution

the population is primarily located in the south, in and around the capital of Brazzaville as shown in this population distribution map

Natural hazards

seasonal flooding

Geography - note

about 70% of the population lives in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, or along the railroad between them

People and Society

Population

5,677,493 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 116

Nationality

noun: Congolese (singular and plural)

adjective: Congolese or Congo

Ethnic groups

Kongo (Bakongo) 40.5%, Teke 16.9%, Mbochi 13.1%, foreigner 8.2%, Sangha 5.6%, Mbere/Mbeti/Kele 4.4%, Punu 4.3%, Pygmy 1.6%, Oubanguiens 1.6%, Duma 1.5%, Makaa 1.3%, other and unspecified 1% (2014-15 est.)

Languages

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

major-language sample(s):
Buku oyo ya bosembo ya Mokili Mobimba Ezali na Makanisi ya Liboso Mpenza. (Lingala)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Lingala audio sample:

Religions

Roman Catholic 33.1%, Awakening Churches/Christian Revival 22.3%, Protestant 19.9%, Salutiste 2.2%, Muslim 1.6%, Kimbanguiste 1.5%, other 8.1%, none 11.3% (2007 est.)

Demographic profile

The Republic of the Congo is one of the most urbanized countries in Africa, with nearly 70% of Congolese living in urban areas.  The population is concentrated in the southwest of the country, mainly in the capital Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, and along the railway line that connects the two.  The tropical jungles in the north of the country are sparsely populated.  Most Congolese are Bantu, and most belong to one of four main ethnic groups, the Kongo, Teke, Mbochi, and Sangha, which consist of over 70 subgroups.

The Republic of Congo is in the early stages of a demographic transition, whereby a population shifts from high fertility and mortality rates to low fertility and mortality rates associated with industrialized societies.  Its total fertility rate (TFR), the average number of children born per woman, remains high at 4.4 as of 2022.  While its TFR has steadily decreased, the progress slowed beginning in about 1995.  The slowdown in fertility reduction has delayed the demographic transition and Congo’s potential to reap a demographic dividend, the economic boost that can occur when the share of the working-age population is larger than the dependent age groups. 

The TFR differs significantly between urban and rural areas – 3.7 in urban areas versus 6.5 in rural areas.  The TFR also varies among regions.  The urban regions of Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire have much lower TFRs than other regions, which are predominantly or completely rural.  The gap between desired fertility and actual fertility is also greatest in rural areas.  Rural families may have more children to contribute to agricultural production and/or due to a lack of information about and access to contraception.  Urban families may prefer to have fewer children because raising them is more expensive and balancing work and childcare may be more difficult.  The number of births among teenage girls, the frequency of giving birth before the age of fifteen, and a lack of education are the most likely reasons for higher TFRs in rural areas.  Although 90% of school-age children are enrolled in primary school, repetition and dropout rates are high and the quality of education is poor.  Congolese women with no or little education start having children earlier and have more children in total than those with at least some secondary education.

 

Age structure

0-14 years: 40.44% (male 1,159,264/female 1,136,501)

15-64 years: 56.15% (male 1,598,111/female 1,590,032)

65 years and over: 3.41% (2023 est.) (male 88,323/female 105,262)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 78.8

youth dependency ratio: 74

elderly dependency ratio: 4.8

potential support ratio: 20.9 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 20.5 years (2023 est.)

male: 20.3 years

female: 20.7 years

comparison ranking: total 197

Population growth rate

2.4% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 27

Birth rate

29.1 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 30

Death rate

5 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 197

Net migration rate

-0.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 100

Population distribution

the population is primarily located in the south, in and around the capital of Brazzaville as shown in this population distribution map

Urbanization

urban population: 69.2% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 3.19% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

2.638 million BRAZZAVILLE (capital), 1.336 million Pointe-Noire (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

19.6 years (2011/12 est.)

note: data represents median age at first birth among women 20-49

Maternal mortality ratio

282 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 30

Infant mortality rate

total: 31.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 34.3 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 28.4 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 48

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 72.2 years (2023 est.)

male: 70.8 years

female: 73.6 years

comparison ranking: total population 158

Total fertility rate

3.86 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 28

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 97.5% of population

rural: 56.4% of population

total: 84.2% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.5% of population

rural: 43.6% of population

total: 15.8% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

4.5% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

0.1 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 73.4% of population

rural: 15.1% of population

total: 54.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 26.6% of population

rural: 84.9% of population

total: 45.3% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

note: on 31 August 2023, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Travel Alert for polio in Africa; the Republic of the Congo is currently considered a high risk to travelers for circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV); vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus; this means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an “infected” person who received oral polio vaccine; the CDC recommends that before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series; before travel to any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

9.6% (2016)

comparison ranking: 143

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 5.74 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 5.11 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.1 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.52 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.01 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 75

Tobacco use

total: 14.5% (2020 est.)

male: 26.8% (2020 est.)

female: 2.1% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 105

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

12.3% (2014/15)

comparison ranking: 42

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 8.4%

women married by age 18: 29.1%

men married by age 18: 5.6% (2018 est.)

Education expenditures

4.5% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 102

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 80.6%

male: 85.9%

female: 75.4% (2021)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 11 years

male: 11 years

female: 11 years (2012)

Environment

Environment - current issues

air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; tap water is not potable; deforestation; wildlife protection

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Climate

tropical; rainy season (March to June); dry season (June to October); persistent high temperatures and humidity; particularly enervating climate astride the Equator

Land use

agricultural land: 31.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 1.6% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.2% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 29.3% (2018 est.)

forest: 65.6% (2018 est.)

other: 3.3% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 69.2% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 3.19% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Food insecurity

severe localized food insecurity: due to floods - above average rainfall amounts since November 2022 triggered flooding in December 2022 and January 2023 in central and northern parts of the country, displacing people; according to damage assessment reports, about 165,000 people have been affected in 23 districts in the departments of Cuvette, Likouala, Plateaux and Sangha (2023)

Revenue from forest resources

3.17% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 23

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 70

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 29.48 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 3.28 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 2.24 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 451,200 tons (1993 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 118,214 tons (2005 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 26.2% (2005 est.)

Major rivers (by length in km)

Oubangui (Ubangi) (shared with Central African Republic [s] and Democratic Republic of Congo [m]) - 2,270 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Congo (3,730,881 sq km)

Major aquifers

Congo Basin

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 60 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 20 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 4 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

832 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of the Congo

conventional short form: Congo (Brazzaville)

local long form: Republique du Congo

local short form: Congo

former: French Congo, Middle Congo, People's Republic of the Congo, Congo/Brazzaville

etymology: named for the Congo River, which makes up much of the country's eastern border; the river name derives from Kongo, a Bantu kingdom that occupied its mouth at the time of Portuguese discovery in the late 15th century and whose name stems from its people the Bakongo, meaning "hunters"

Government type

presidential republic

Capital

name: Brazzaville

geographic coordinates: 4 15 S, 15 17 E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: named after the Italian-born French explorer and humanitarian, Pierre Savorgnan de BRAZZA (1852-1905), who promoted French colonial interests in central Africa and worked against slavery and the abuse of African laborers

Administrative divisions

12 departments (departments, singular - department); Bouenza, Brazzaville, Cuvette, Cuvette-Ouest, Kouilou, Lekoumou, Likouala, Niari, Plateaux, Pointe-Noire, Pool, Sangha

Independence

15 August 1960 (from France)

National holiday

Independence Day, 15 August (1960)

Constitution

history: several previous; latest approved by referendum 25 October 2015

amendments: proposed by the president of the republic or by Parliament; passage of presidential proposals requires Supreme Court review followed by approval in a referendum; such proposals may also be submitted directly to Parliament, in which case passage requires at least three-quarters majority vote of both houses in joint session; proposals by Parliament require three-fourths majority vote of both houses in joint session; constitutional articles including those affecting the country’s territory, republican form of government, and secularity of the state are not amendable

Legal system

mixed legal system of French civil law and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of the Republic of the Congo

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Denis SASSOU-Nguesso (since 1997)

head of government: Prime Anatole Collinet MAKOSSO (since 12 May 2021)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for 2 additional terms); election last held on 21 March 2021 (next to be held on 21 March 2026)

election results:
2021: Denis SASSOU-Nguesso reelected president in the first round; percent of vote - Denis SASSOU-Nguesso (PCT) 88.4%, Guy Price Parfait KOLELAS (MCDDI) 8.0%, other 3.6%

2016: Denis SASSOU-Nguesso reelected president in the first round; percent of vote - Denis SASSOU-Nguesso (PCT) 60.4%, Guy Price Parfait KOLELAS (MCDDI) 15.1%, Jean-Marie MOKOKO (independent) 13.9%, Pascal Tsaty MABIALA (UPADS) 4.4%, other 6.2% 

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament or Parliament consists of:
Senate (72 seats; members indirectly elected by local, district, and regional councils by simple majority vote to serve 6-year terms) note- the Senate is renewed in its entirety following a constitutional reform implemented in 2015 ending the renewal by half
National Assembly (151 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed; members serve 5-year terms)

elections:  
Senate - last held on 20 August 2023 (next to be held 31 August 2029)
National Assembly - last held on 10 and 31 July 2022 (next to be held in July 2027)

election results:

Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PCT 52, Independents 7, RDPS 3, MAR 2, Club 2002 PUR 2, PRL 1, UDLC 1, MCDDI 1, LCEM 1, UPADS 1, RC 1; composition - men 49, women 23, percent of women 31.9%

National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PCT 112, UPADS 7, UDH-YUKI 7, MAR 4, RLP 2, CLUB 2002 2, DRR 2, RDPS 2, PAC 1, MSD 1, MDP 1, CPR 1, PPRD 1, CR 1, MCDDI 1, independent 6; composition - men 134, women 17, percent of women 11.3%; note - total Parliament percent of women 13.9%


 

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of NA judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 members); note - a High Court of Justice, outside the judicial authority, tries cases involving treason by the president of the republic

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges elected by Parliament and serve until age 65; Constitutional Court members appointed by the president of the republic - 3 directly by the president and 6 nominated by Parliament; members appointed for renewable 9-year terms with one-third of the membership renewed every 3 years

subordinate courts: Court of Audit and Budgetary Discipline; courts of appeal; regional and district courts; employment tribunals; juvenile courts

Political parties and leaders

Alliance of the Presidential Majority or AMP
Action Movement for Renewal or MAR [Roland BOUITI-VIAUDO]
Citizen's Rally or RC [Claude Alphonse NSILOU]
Congolese Labour Party or PCT [Denis SASSOU-Nguesso]
Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development or MCDDI (vacant)
Movement for Unity, Solidarity, and Work or MUST [Claudine MUNARI]
Pan-African Union for Social Development or UPADS [Pascal Tsaty MABIALA]
Party for the Unity and the Republic or PUR [Wilfrid NGUESSO]
Patriotic Union for Democracy and Progress or UPDP [Auguste-Celestin GONGARD NKOUA]
Perspectives and Realities Club or CPR [Aimé Hydevert MOUAGNI]
Rally for Democracy and Social Progress or RDPS [Jean-Pierre Thystère TCHICAYA]
Republican and Liberal Party or PRL [Bonaventure MIZIDY]
Union of Democratic Forces or UDF [Josué Rodrigue NGOUONIMBA]
Union for Democracy and Republic or UDR [Guy Kinfoussia ROMAIN]
Union for the Republic or UR [Michel Bidimbou POUELA]

International organization participation

ACP, AfDB, AU, BDEAC, CEMAC, EITI (compliant country), FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LCBC (observer), MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Serge MOMBOULI (since 31 July 2001)

chancery: 1720 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009

telephone: [1] (202) 726-5500

FAX: [1] (202) 726-1860

email address and website:
info@ambacongo-us.org

http://www.ambacongo-us.org/en-us/home.aspx

consulate(s): New Orleans

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Eugene S. YOUNG (since 30 March 2022)

embassy: 70-83 Section D, Boulevard Denis Sassou N'Guesso, Brazzaville

mailing address: 2090 Brazzaville Place, Washington DC 20521-2090

telephone: [242] 06 612-2000, [242] 05 387-9700

email address and website:
BrazzavilleACS@state.gov

https://cg.usembassy.gov/

Flag description

divided diagonally from the lower hoist side by a yellow band; the upper triangle (hoist side) is green and the lower triangle is red; green symbolizes agriculture and forests, yellow the friendship and nobility of the people, red is unexplained but has been associated with the struggle for independence

note: uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia

National symbol(s)

lion, elephant; national colors: green, yellow, red

National anthem

name: "La Congolaise" (The Congolese)

lyrics/music: Jacques TONDRA and Georges KIBANGHI/Jean ROYER and Joseph SPADILIERE

note: originally adopted 1959, restored 1991

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 2 (natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Sangha Trinational Forest; Forest Massif of Odzala-Kokoua

Economy

Economic overview

primarily an oil- and natural resources-based economy; recovery from mid-2010s oil devaluation has been slow and curtailed by COVID-19; extreme poverty increasing, particularly in southern rural regions; attempting to implement recommended CEMAC reforms; increasing likelihood of debt default

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$18.875 billion (2021 est.)
$19.3 billion (2020 est.)
$20.584 billion (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 155

Real GDP growth rate

-2.2% (2021 est.)
-6.24% (2020 est.)
-0.09% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 206

Real GDP per capita

$3,200 (2021 est.)
$3,400 (2020 est.)
$3,700 (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 195

GDP (official exchange rate)

$8.718 billion (2017 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.72% (2021 est.)
1.8% (2020 est.)
2.21% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 57

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: CCC (2019)

Moody's rating: Caa2 (2018)

Standard & Poors rating: CCC+ (2020)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 9.3% (2017 est.)

industry: 51% (2017 est.)

services: 39.7% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 214; industry 9; agriculture 94

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 47.6% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 9.6% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 42.5% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.1% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 62.9% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -62.7% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

cassava, sugar cane, oil palm fruit, cassava leaves, bananas, plantains, roots/tubers, game meat, vegetables, mangoes/guavas

Industries

petroleum extraction, cement, lumber, brewing, sugar, palm oil, soap, flour, cigarettes

Industrial production growth rate

-7.91% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 195

Labor force

2.268 million (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 122

Unemployment rate

23.01% (2021 est.)
22.84% (2020 est.)
20.62% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 216

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 42.3% (2021 est.)

male: 42.2%

female: 42.5%

comparison ranking: total 7

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.1%

highest 10%: 37.1% (2005)

Remittances

0.12% of GDP (2020 est.)
0.21% of GDP (2019 est.)
0.08% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget

revenues: $3.399 billion (2018 est.)

expenditures: $2.628 billion (2018 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 194

Public debt

130.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
128.7% of GDP (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 10

Taxes and other revenues

8.95% (of GDP) (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 200

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$1.441 billion (2020 est.)
$1.632 billion (2019 est.)
-$3.596 billion (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 48

Exports

$4.67 billion (2020 est.)
$7.855 billion (2019 est.)

note: Data are in current year dollars and do not include illicit exports or re-exports.

comparison ranking: 132

Exports - partners

China 49%, United Arab Emirates 15%, India 6%, Italy 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

copper, crude petroleum, refined petroleum, lumber, tin (2021)

Imports

$3.279 billion (2020 est.)
$4.945 billion (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 159

Imports - partners

China 15%, France 12%, Belgium 6%, Angola 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

ships, chicken products, refined petroleum, processed fish, packaged medicines (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$988.316 million (31 December 2019 est.)
$423.617 million (31 December 2018 est.)
$379.984 million (31 December 2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 146

Debt - external

$4.605 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$4.721 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 136

Exchange rates

Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
554.531 (2021 est.)
575.586 (2020 est.)
585.911 (2019 est.)
555.446 (2018 est.)
580.657 (2017 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

population without electricity: 3 million (2020)

electrification - total population: 49.6% (2021)

electrification - urban areas: 66.9% (2021)

electrification - rural areas: 12.3% (2021)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 629,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 2,065,580,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 44 million kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 23 million kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 1.623 billion kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: installed generating capacity 144; transmission/distribution losses 120; imports 114; exports 93; consumption 147

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 70.1% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 29.9% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 270,900 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 12,600 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 331,700 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 2.882 billion barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

15,760 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 93

Refined petroleum products - exports

5,766 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 89

Refined petroleum products - imports

7,162 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 156

Natural gas

production: 1.4 billion cubic meters (2019 est.)

consumption: 1.4 billion cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 283.989 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

4.523 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 1.777 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 2.747 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 138

Energy consumption per capita

16.156 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 139

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 17,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: (2020 est.) less than 1

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 178

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 5,558,658 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 97 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 121

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: suffering from economic challenges of stimulating recovery and reducing poverty; primary network consists of microwave radio relay and coaxial cable with services barely adequate for government use; key exchanges are in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, and Loubomo; intercity lines frequently out of order; youth are seeking the Internet more than their parents and often gain access through cyber cafes; only the most affluent have Internet access in their homes; operator has plans to upgrade national broadband through fiber link to West Africa Cable System (WACS) landing station at Pointe-Noire with connections to Angola and DRC; fiber network project with aims to connect north and south regions; DRC operator added fiber link between Brazzaville and Kinshasa (2020)

domestic: fixed-line infrastructure inadequate, providing less than 1 fixed-line connection per 100 persons; mobile-cellular 97 per 100 persons (2021)

international: country code - 242; WACS submarine cables to Europe and Western and South Africa; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2019)

Broadcast media

1 state-owned TV and 3 state-owned radio stations; several privately owned TV and radio stations; satellite TV service is available; rebroadcasts of several international broadcasters are available

Internet users

total: 1,794,390 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 32.1% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 137

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 1,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 0.02 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 204

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 3 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 12

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 333,899 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 4.6 million (2018) mt-km

Airports

56 (2024)

comparison ranking: 81

Pipelines

232 km gas, 4 km liquid petroleum gas, 982 km oil (2013)

Railways

total: 510 km (2014)

narrow gauge: 510 km (2014) 1.067-m gauge

comparison ranking: total 111

Roadways

total: 23,324 km (2017)

paved: 3,111 km (2017)

unpaved: 20,213 km (2017)

note: road network in Congo is composed of 23,324 km of which 17,000 km are classified as national, departmental, and routes of local interest: 6,324 km are non-classified routes

comparison ranking: total 111

Waterways

1,120 km (2011) (commercially navigable on Congo and Oubangui Rivers above Brazzaville; there are many ferries across the river to Kinshasa; the Congo south of Brazzaville-Kinshasa to the coast is not navigable because of rapids, necessitating a rail connection to Pointe-Noire; other rivers are used for local traffic only)

comparison ranking: 65

Merchant marine

total: 11 (2023)

by type: oil tanker 1, other 10

comparison ranking: total 159

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Pointe-Noire

oil terminal(s): Djeno

river port(s): Brazzaville (Congo)

Impfondo (Oubangui) Ouesso (Sangha) Oyo (Alima)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Congolese Armed Forces (Forces Armees Congolaises, FAC): Army, Navy, Congolese Air Force, Gendarmerie (2023)

note: the Gendarmerie is a paramilitary force with domestic law enforcement and security responsibilities; it is under the Ministry of Defense, but also reports to the Ministry of Interior; the Ministry of Interior also controls the National Police

Military expenditures

1.8% of GDP (2022 est.)
2.5% of GDP (2021 est.)
3.2% of GDP (2020 est.)
2.3% of GDP (2019 est.)
2.1% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 74

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 12,000 active-duty troops (including 2,000 Gendarmerie) (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the FAC has mostly Soviet-era armaments, with a small mix of French and South African equipment (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; conscription ended in 1969 (2022)

Military - note

the FAC is viewed as having limited capabilities due to obsolescent and poorly maintained equipment and low levels of training; its primary focus is internal security; since its creation in 1961, the FAC has had a turbulent history; it has been sidelined by some national leaders in favor of personal militias, endured an internal rebellion (1996), and clashed with various rebel groups and political or ethnic militias (1993-1996, 2002-2005, 2017); during the 1997-1999 civil war, the military generally split along ethnic lines, with most northern officers supporting eventual winner SASSOU-Nguesso, and most southerners backing the rebels; others joined ethnic-based factions loyal to regional warlords; forces backing SASSOU-Nguesso were supported by Angolan troops and received some French assistance; the FAC also has undergone at least three reorganizations that included the incorporation of former rebel combatants and various ethnic and political militias; in recent years, France has provided some advice and training, and a military cooperation agreement was signed with Russia in 2019 (2023)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Republic of the Congo-Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC): the location of the boundary in the broad Congo River is indefinite except in the Pool Malebo/Stanley Pool area

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 33,892 (Central African Republic), 29,465 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (refugees and asylum seekers) (2024)

IDPs: 27,000 (multiple civil wars since 1992) (2022)

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List — The Republic of the Congo does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so; the government trained law enforcement officials on the anti-trafficking law and issued six decrees to protect Indigenous People from trafficking; however, officials did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts, compared with the previous reporting period, on its anti-trafficking capacity; no investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of traffickers occurred; no reports identified victims for the third consecutive year; the government did not take any proactive measures to address alleged official complicity in trafficking, and the lack of a national anti-trafficking task force hindered overall efforts; therefore, the Republic of the Congo was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List (2023)

trafficking profile: human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in the Republic of the Congo, and victims from the Republic of the Congo are exploited abroad; forced labor of adults and children is the primary type of trafficking, predominantly in the agricultural sector; most victims originate from Benin and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and to a lesser extent from Gabon and other neighboring countries; children, primarily from West Africa, are exploited in domestic servitude in cities; fraudulent employment agents in Benin, the Central African Republic, the DRC, and Gabon recruit victims who are exploited in the Republic of the Congo; foreign business owners and Congolese exploit most foreign victims in forced domestic service, market vending, and the fishing sector; some hotel owners and criminals exploit adults and children, mostly from the DRC, in sex trafficking; some parents, mostly in West African countries, send their children to the Republic of the Congo expecting the child will send remittances or receive an education, but traffickers exploit the children in sex trafficking or forced labor; internal trafficking primarily involves recruitment from remote rural areas for exploitation in cities; refugees and Indigenous Populations are particularly vulnerable; traffickers, including some from the majority Bantu community, exploit Indigenous people in forced agricultural labor; the majority of internal victims are from the Indigenous population (2023)