Republic of the Congo
The Republic of the Congo (pronunciation (help·info) French: République du Congo, Kituba: Repubilika ya Kôngo), also known as Congo-Brazzaville, the Congo Republic or simply either Congo or the Congo, is a country located in the western coast of Central Africa. The country is bordered to the west by Gabon, to its northwest by Cameroon and its northeast by the Central African Republic, to the southeast by the DR Congo, to its south by the Angolan exclave of Cabinda and to its southwest by the Atlantic Ocean. French is the official language of the Republic of the Congo.
The region was dominated by Bantu-speaking tribes at least 3,000 years ago, who built trade links leading into the Congo River basin. Congo was formerly part of the French colony of Equatorial Africa. The Republic of the Congo was established on 28 November 1958 and gained independence from France in 1960. It was a Marxist–Leninist state from 1969 to 1992, under the name People’s Republic of the Congo.
The sovereign state has had multi-party elections since 1992, although a democratically elected government was ousted in the 1997 Republic of the Congo Civil War, and President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who first came to power in 1979, has now ruled for over four decades.
The Republic of the Congo is a member of the African Union, the United Nations, La Francophonie, the Economic Community of Central African States, and the Non-Aligned Movement. It has become the fourth-largest oil producer in the Gulf of Guinea, providing the country with a degree of prosperity despite political and economic instability in some areas and unequal distribution of oil revenue nationwide. Congo’s economy is heavily dependent on the oil sector, and economic growth has slowed considerably since the post-2015 drop in oil prices. With a population of 5.2 million, 88.5% of the country practices Christianity.
Brazzaville (French pronunciation: [bʁazavil], Kongo: Kintamo, Nkuna, Kintambo, Ntamo, Mavula, Tandala, Mfwa, Mfua, Mfoa; Teke: M’fa, Mfaa, Mfa) is the capital and largest city of the Republic of the Congo (Congo Republic). Constituting the financial and administrative centre of the country, it is located on the north side of the Congo River, opposite Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo).
The population of the capital is estimated to exceed 1.8 million residents, comprising more than a third of the national populace. Some 40% are employed in non-agricultural professions. During World War II, Brazzaville was also the capital of Free France between 1940 and 1942.
In 2013, Brazzaville was designated a City of Music by UNESCO; since then it has also been a member of the Creative Cities Network.
World War II
The river port forms the terminus of the Congo-Ocean transport system, with steamer service to the upper reaches of the Congo River and a railroad to Pointe-Noire, on the Atlantic coast, 245 miles (394 km) west. The port facilities were expanded after World War II. Almost half of the shipping involved is transit trade for other central African countries. Although the port is the focus of a rather extensive industrial and processing area, the primary activity of Brazzaville remains that of an administrative centre.
It has a Roman Catholic cathedral, and in 1961 a teachers’ training centre was established there, which was the nucleus for a national university established in 1972. Students are drawn to the centre from Gabon, Chad, and the Central African Republic. Brazzaville also has vocational and technical institutes, the Poto-Poto School of African Art, and the regional headquarters of the World Health Organization. The city is served by an international airport at Maya Maya. Pop. (2005 prelim.) 1,174,000.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
A virtual guide to Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly known as Zaire, a vast country in central sub-Saharan Africa, today also known as DR Congo, DRC, DROC, Congo-Kinshasa, or just the Congo.
The DRC is bordered by 9 countries: Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. A 45 km wide strip of coastline in west provides the country’s narrow access to the Atlantic Ocean. Five of the the famous African Great Lakes are lined up on DR Congo’s eastern border: Lake Albert, Lake Edward, Lake Kivu, Lake Tanganyika, and Lake Mweru.
The country occupies an area of 2,344,858 km², making it the second largest country in Africa (behind Algeria), the DROC is about 3 times the size of Turkey, or slightly less the size of one-fourth of the US.
DR Congo has a population of 71,2 million people (est. 2015), capital and largest city is Kinshasa. Spoken languages are French (official) and several other languages like Lingala (in the north of the country), Kikongo, Kituba (a widely used lingua franca in Central Africa), Swahili, and Tshiluba.
Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Once it was Kin la Belle (beautiful Kinshasa) but today it is a monster of a city, home to 12-million-plus people on the banks of the mighty Congo River. Sprawling outwards, it is bigger, faster and louder than many other urban centres. A long time ago the city government lost the ability to provide even the most basic services.
It was not always thus. In 1974 Kinshasa was a lush green city of wide boulevards and new buildings built on opportunity and promise. To this place on the slopes of the Congo Basin, two great heavyweights came to fight. On 30 October George Foreman and Muhammed Ali began boxing in front of 50Â 000 spectators in the Stade du 20 Mai – at four in the morning, to accommodate American TV schedules.
The Rumble in the Jungle is still the greatest boxing match of all time but the stadium is going to seed. The Immcongo neighbourhood in the Kalamu section of the city is still dominated by the stadiums four light towers. Now the houses and dirty plots are built right up to the walls. Once the grandest stadium in Africa, it rotting concrete is stained black and grey.
The Boulevard of 30 June (in French, Boulevard du 30 Juin) is the main avenue in Kinshasa. The five-kilometre boulevard connects the business district of La Gombe in the south to the western part of the city. (Image: Monusco/Myriam Asmani, CC BY-SA, via Flickr)
But it remains quite an extraordinary city. Kinois will grudgingly admit that they love chaotic Kinshasa. They not put off because things don’t work, but instead they enjoy what does. Despite all the challenges, Kinois still live, work and play.
It is a city that manages to throw up magic and creativity wherever you look. Keep an eye out for the Congo Astronaut, a kid from one of the city’s many ghettoes. In his futuristic space suit made from discarded debris, he floats through the city at night, reimagining his world.
What is the Capital of Republic of the Congo?
Although Brazzaville is not the largest city in Republic of the Congo, it functions as: (no role).
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Brazzaville is located 314 miles (506km) inland from the Atlantic Ocean and south of the equator. Surrounded by a vast savanna of high grasslands and dark green thickets of low trees spread over rolling hills, the city is fairly level, with an altitude of 1,040 feet (317 meters), and covers a land area of 38.6 square miles (100 square kilometers).
When did Brazzaville Become the Capital?
Italian-born Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza is one of the first to arrive in the region and set up base. The city took its name from him. Established in 1883 in the French Congo region, it has developed over the years and has become a larger settlement area.
In 1880, the region’s leaders from that time gave the use of the Makoko region to Brazza. It was a base in Pool Malebo, in the north of the Congo River.
The city, which was the capital of French Congo in 1898, was a residential area with a population of 5,000 in 1900.
Having reached 100,000 inhabitants in 1950, the city declared the capital.
After independence in 1960, the city became the capital of the newly founded city Republic of the Congo.
President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who headed the country from 1979 to 1992, returned to power in 1997, winning all the elections since 2002 and, more recently, the March 2021 election. The government of Prime Minister Anatole Collinet Makosso composed of 37 ministers and is according priority to institutional, economic, financial, social, and inclusive governance.
With a human capital index of 0.42, the country has made little progress in the areas of health and education. Maternal and infant mortality rates remain high—5% of children will not reach their fifth birthday and 21% are chronically malnourished. In addition, only 30% of primary school children have attained the required proficiency levels in math and 40% in French. Although strong economic growth in Congo reduced the poverty level between 2005 and 2015. The 10.3% decline in real GDP in 2020 pushed up the poverty rate from 48.5% to 52.5%.
Between 2015 and 2020, the real growth rate averaged -5.2% following the decline in oil prices in 2014. And the country’s heavy reliance on oil. The COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant oil shocks are bringing unprecedented pressure to bear on the economy.
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