Area; 342,000 sq. km (132,000 sq. mi.); slightly larger than New Mexico. Cities; Capital--Brazzaville (pop. 1.2 million). Other cities--Pointe-Noire (900,000), Dolisie (300,000). Climate; Tropical. Tropical jungle in the North (country seasonally split--half lies above the Equator; half below the Equator). Terrain; Coastal plains, fertile valleys, central plateau, forested flood plains.
Nationality; Noun and adjective--Congolese (sing. and pl.). Population (July 2009 est.); 4,012,809. Annual population growth rate (2008 est.); 2.754%. Ethnic groups; 15 principal Bantu groups; more than 70 subgroups. Largest groups are Bacongo, Vili, Bateke, M'Bochi, and Sangha. Also present is a small population (less than 100,000) of Pygmies, ethnically unrelated to the Bantu majority. Religions; Traditional beliefs 48%, Roman Catholic 35%, other Christian 15%, Muslim 2%. Languages; French (official), Lingala and Munukutuba (national). Health; Infant mortality rate (2008 est.)--79.78 deaths/1,000 live births. Life expectancy (2009 est.)--54.15 yrs. Work force; About 40% of population, two-thirds of whom work in agriculture.
Type; Republic. Independence; August 15, 1960. Constitution; New constitution adopted in nationwide referendum on January 20, 2002. Branches; Executive--president (chief of state), Council of Ministers (cabinet). Legislative--bicameral legislature made up of a Senate and a National Assembly. Judicial--Supreme Court, Court of Accounts and Budgetary Discipline, Courts of Appeal (Title VIII of the 2002 constitution), and the Constitutional Court (Title IX of the 2002 constitution). Other--Economic Council and Human Rights Commission. Administrative subdivisions; 10 departments, divided into districts, plus the capital district. Political parties; More than 100 new parties formed (but not all function) since multi-party democracy was introduced in 1990. The largest are the Pan-African Union for Social Democracy (UPADS), Congolese Labor Party (PCT), Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development (MCDDI), Coalition for Democracy and Social Progress (RDPS), Coalition for Democracy and Development (RDD), Union of Democratic Forces (UFD), Union of Democratic Renewal (URD), Union for Development and Social Progress (UDPS). Following the June-October 1997 war and the 1998-99 civil conflict, many parties, including UPADS and MCDDI, were left in disarray as their leadership fled the country. By 2007, many of the leaders had returned, with the notable exception of former President Pascal Lissouba. On December 30, 2009, Republic of the Congo President Sassou-Nguesso enacted an amnesty for offenses alleged against Lissouba, following the bill's adoption by the National Assembly and Senate. In August 2010, UPADS factions reunited to create a unified party under the direct influence of former President Lissouba’s wife Jocelyne Lissouba. Suffrage; Universal adult.
GDP (2010 est.); $11.7 billion. Real GDP growth rate (2009 est.); 10.4% Per capita income (2009 est.); $2,700. Inflation (2009 est.); 3%. Natural resources; Petroleum, wood, potash, lead, zinc, uranium, phosphates, natural gas, hydropower. Structure of production (2006); Government and services--28%; petroleum sector--52%; agriculture and forestry--8.5%; utilities and industry--6.0%; other--4.3%. Agriculture; Products--manioc, sugar, rice, corn, peanuts, vegetables, coffee, cocoa, forest products. Land--less than 2% cultivated. Trade (2008 est.); Exports--$9.009 billion (f.o.b.); petroleum (89% of export earnings), lumber, plywood, sugar, cocoa, coffee, diamonds. Exports to the U.S. (2007 est.)--$3.099 billion. Imports--$2.722 billion (f.o.b.); capital equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs. Imports from the U.S. (2007 est.)--$140 million. (Source; Government of the Congo - Direction General de l’Economie)
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