Where Is the Democratic Republic of the Congo
and What Is It Known For?
This central African state, formerly Zaire, consists of the basin of Congo river flanked by plateaus, with high mountain ranges to the east and a short Atlantic coastline to the west.
In order to distinguish it from the neighboring Republic of the Congo to the west, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is often referred to as DR Congo, DROC, DRC, or RDC (from its French abbreviation), or is called Congo-Kinshasa after the capital of Kinshasa (in contrast to Congo-Brazzaville for its neighbor). It also borders the Central African Republic and Sudan to the north; Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi in the east; Zambia and Angola to the south; the Atlantic Ocean to the west; and is separated from Tanzania by Lake Tanganyika in the east. The country enjoys access to the ocean through a 40-kilometre (25 mi) stretch of Atlantic coastline at Muanda and the roughly nine-kilometer-wide mouth of the Congo River which opens into the Gulf of Guinea.
It is the third largest country in Africa by area after Sudan and Algeria and the 12th largest in the world. The Democratic Republic of the Congo with its population of nearly 71 million is the eighteenth most populous nation in the world, and the fourth most populous nation in Africa, as well as the most populous officially Francophone country.
The climate is tropical, with rainforest close to the equator and Savanna to the north and south. Fertile land allows a range of food and cash crops to be grown, chiefly coffee. The country has vast mineral resources with copper, cobalt and diamonds being the most important.
The Second Congo War, beginning in 1998, devastated the country, involved seven foreign armies and is sometimes referred to as the "African World War". Despite the signing of peace accords in 2003, fighting continues in the east of the country. In eastern Congo, the prevalence of and other is described as the worst in the world. The war is the world's conflict since World War II, 5.4 million people.
Citizens of the DRC are currently among the poorest in the world, having the second lowest nominal GDP per capita. The Democratic Republic of Congo is currently the second poorest country in the world, ahead of Zimbabwe.