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Congo, Republic of the

Photos of Congo, Republic of the

Because of its geographic isolation, the Cuvette Region in the northern part of the Republic of the Congo relies on rivers for transportation. From left to right, the Sangha, Likouala-aux-Herbes, Ubangi, and Congo Rivers are shown in this satellite photo. Agricultural plots dot the landscape. Crops grown in the Cuvette Region include cassava, bananas, plantains, pulses, and groundnuts. Image courtesy of NASA.

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 installed 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 reeelected in 2009 and, after passing a referendum allowing him to run for a third term, was reelected again in 2016. 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

country comparison to the world: 65

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Montana; about twice the size of Florida

<p>slightly smaller than Montana; about twice the size of Florida</p>

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 1775 km, Gabon 2567 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: Mount Berongou 903 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 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

5,417,414 (July 2021 est.)

note: 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

country comparison to the world: 119

Nationality

noun: Congolese (singular and plural)

adjective: Congolese or Congo

Ethnic groups

Kongo 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% (2010 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.  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: 41.57% (male 1,110,484/female 1,089,732)

15-24 years: 17.14% (male 454,981/female 452,204)

25-54 years: 33.5% (male 886,743/female 886,312)

55-64 years: 4.59% (male 125,207/female 117,810)

65 years and over: 3.2% (male 75,921/female 93,676) (2020 est.)

This is the population pyramid for Congo, Republic of the. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends. <br/><br/>For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 78.7

youth dependency ratio: 73.7

elderly dependency ratio: 4.9

potential support ratio: 20.3 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 19.5 years

male: 19.3 years

female: 19.7 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 202

Birth rate

32.15 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 26

Death rate

8.55 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 70

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 81

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: 68.3% of total population (2021)

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

Major urban areas - population

2.470 million BRAZZAVILLE (capital), 1.254 million Pointe-Noire (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

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

15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

19.8 years (2011/12 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

Maternal mortality ratio

378 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 29

Infant mortality rate

total: 49.28 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 53.82 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 44.61 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 26

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 61.69 years

male: 60.27 years

female: 63.16 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 215

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 97.5% of population

rural: 56.4% of population

total: 83.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.5% of population

rural: 43.6% of population

total: 16.3% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

0.17 physicians/1,000 population (2011)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 73.4% of population

rural: 15.1% of population

total: 53.9% of population

unimproved: urban: 26.6% of population

rural: 84.9% of population

total: 46.1% of population (2017 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

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

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 80.3%

male: 86.1%

female: 74.6% (2018)

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

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 38.67 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 3.28 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 2.24 megatons (2020 est.)

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: 68.3% of total population (2021)

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

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 81

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

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

Food insecurity

severe localized food insecurity: due to restrictive measures related to the COVID‑19 pandemic - the negative impact of the restrictive measures related to the COVID‑19 pandemic on informal labor and on food supply chains, resulted, on one side, in the loss of income and, on the other, in high food prices due to a decline in food supply; these factors limited the access to food for the most vulnerable population (2021)

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 watersheds (area sq km)

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

Major aquifers

Congo Basin

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 63.7 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 24 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 4 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

832 billion cubic meters (2017 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 25 October 1997)

head of government: Prime Minister Clement MOUAMBA (since 24 April 2016); note - a constitutional referendum held in 2015 approved the change of the head of government from the president to the prime minister (2019)

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: 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%, turnout is 67.6%.

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of:
Senate (72 seats; members indirectly elected by regional councils by simple majority vote to serve 6-year terms with one-half of membership renewed every 3 years)
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 31 August 2017 for expiry of half the seats (next to be held in 2020)
National Assembly - last held on 16 and 30 July 2017 (next to be held in July 2022)

election results:  
Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PCT 46, independent 12, MAR 2, RDPS 2, UPADS 2, DRD 1, FP 1, MCDDI 1, PRL 1, Pulp 1, PUR 1, RC 1; composition - men 58, women 14, percent of women 19.4%

National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PCT 96, UPADS 8, MCDDI 4, other 23 (less than 4 seats) independent 20; composition - men 134, women 17, percent of women 11.3%; note - total Parliament percent of women 13.9%

Judicial branch

highest courts: 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

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 [Guy Price Parfait KOLELAS]
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 of the Republic or PUR
Patriotic Union for Democracy and Progress or UPDP [Auguste-Celestin GONGARD NKOUA]
Prospects and Realities Club or CPR
Rally for Democracy and Social Progress or RDPS [Bernard BATCHI]
Rally of the Presidential Majority or RMP
Republican and Liberal Party or PRL [Bonaventure MIZIDY]
Union for the Republic or UR
Union of Democratic Forces or UDF
Union for Democracy and Republic or UDR
many smaller parties

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), MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, 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 (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Ellen B. THORBURN (since January 2021)

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

Economy

Economic overview

The Republic of the Congo’s economy is a mixture of subsistence farming, an industrial sector based largely on oil and support services, and government spending. Oil has supplanted forestry as the mainstay of the economy, providing a major share of government revenues and exports. Natural gas is increasingly being converted to electricity rather than being flared, greatly improving energy prospects. New mining projects, particularly iron ore, which entered production in late 2013, may add as much as $1 billion to annual government revenue. The Republic of the Congo is a member of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) and shares a common currency – the Central African Franc – with five other member states in the region.

The current administration faces difficult economic challenges of stimulating recovery and reducing poverty. The drop in oil prices that began in 2014 has constrained government spending; lower oil prices forced the government to cut more than $1 billion in planned spending. The fiscal deficit amounted to 11% of GDP in 2017. The government’s inability to pay civil servant salaries has resulted in multiple rounds of strikes by many groups, including doctors, nurses, and teachers. In the wake of a multi-year recession, the country reached out to the IMF in 2017 for a new program; the IMF noted that the country’s continued dependence on oil, unsustainable debt, and significant governance weakness are key impediments to the country’s economy. In 2018, the country’s external debt level will approach 120% of GDP. The IMF urged the government to renegotiate debts levels to sustainable levels before it agreed to a new macroeconomic adjustment package.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$19.03 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$20.68 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$20.63 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 154

Real GDP growth rate

-3.1% (2017 est.)

-2.8% (2016 est.)

2.6% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 212

Real GDP per capita

$3,400 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$3,800 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$3,900 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 191

GDP (official exchange rate)

$8.718 billion (2017 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

2.2% (2019 est.)

1.1% (2018 est.)

0.4% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 117

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: CCC (2019)

Moody's rating: Caa2 (2018)

Standard & Poors rating: CCC+ (2020)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 9.3% (2017 est.)

industry: 51% (2017 est.)

services: 39.7% (2017 est.)

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

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 35.4%

industry: 20.6%

services: 44% (2005 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.1%

highest 10%: 37.1% (2005)

Budget

revenues: 1.965 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 2.578 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

130.8% of GDP (2017 est.)

128.7% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 7

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$1.128 billion (2017 est.)

-$5.735 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 148

Exports

$4.193 billion (2017 est.)

$4.116 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 131

Exports - partners

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

Exports - commodities

crude petroleum, copper, lumber, ships, refined petroleum (2019)

Imports

$2.501 billion (2017 est.)

$5.639 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 165

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

$505.7 million (31 December 2017 est.)

$727.1 million (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 151

Debt - external

$4.605 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$4.721 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 136

Exchange rates

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

579.8 (2017 est.)

593.01 (2016 est.)

593.01 (2015 est.)

591.45 (2014 est.)

494.42 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 72% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 89% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 36% (2019)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 17,076

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 181

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 4,933,529

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 95.34 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 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 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)

(2020)

domestic: fixed-line infrastructure inadequate, providing less than 1 fixed-line connection per 100 persons; in the absence of an adequate fixed-line infrastructure, mobile-cellular subscribership has surged to 95 per 100 persons (2019)

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

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

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: 437,865

percent of population: 8.65% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 156

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 mt-km (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 8

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 5 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 19

1,524 to 2,437 m: 8

914 to 1,523 m: 9

under 914 m: 2 (2013)

Pipelines

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

Railways

total: 510 km (2014)

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

country comparison to the world: 112

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

country comparison to the world: 108

Waterways

1,120 km (commercially navigable on Congo and Oubanqui 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) (2011)

country comparison to the world: 61

Merchant marine

total: 11

by type: general cargo 1, oil tanker 1, other 9 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 153

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Pointe-Noire

oil terminal(s): Djeno

river port(s): Brazzaville (Congo)

Impfondo (Oubangi) Ouesso (Sangha) Oyo (Alima)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Congolese Armed Forces (Forces Armees Congolaises, FAC): Army (Armee de Terre), Navy, Congolese Air Force (Armee de l'Air Congolaise), Gendarmerie (2021)

Military expenditures

3.2% of GDP (2020 est.)

2.7% of GDP (2019)

2.5% of GDP (2018)

4.3% of GDP (2017)

6.4% of GDP (2016)

country comparison to the world: 24

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Congolese Armed Forces (FAC) have approximately 12,000 active duty troops (8,000 Army; 800 Navy; 1,000 Air Force; 2,000 Gendarmerie) (2020)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the FAC is armed with mostly ageing Russian/Soviet-era weapons, with some French and South African equipment; the leading supplier of arms to the FAC since 2010 is South Africa (2020)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service; women may serve in the Armed Forces (2019)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

the location of the boundary in the broad Congo River with the Democratic Republic of the Congo is undefined except in the Pool Malebo/Stanley Pool area

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 22,098 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (refugees and asylum seekers), 20,867 (Central African Republic) (2021)

IDPs: 304,430 (multiple civil wars since 1992) (2021)