Zaire 1996Zaire

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Zaire - Introduction 1996
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Background: Since 1994, Zaire has been rent by ethnic strife and civil war touched off by a massive inflow of refugees from the fighting in Rwanda and Burundi. Troops from Uganda Rwanda Zimbabwe Angola and Namibia have intervened in this devastating conflict.

Zaire - Geography 1996
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Location: Central Africa, northeast of Angola

Geographic coordinates

Map reference

Total: total:2,345,410 km²; land:2,267,600 km²
Comparative: slightly more than one-quarter the size of U.S.

Land boundaries: Total 10,271 km, Angola 2,511 km, Burundi 233 km, Central African Republic 1,577 km, Congo 2,410 km, Rwanda 217 km, Sudan 628 km, Uganda 765 km, Zambia 1,930 km

Coastline: 37 km

Maritime claims: Exclusive economic zone:boundaries with neighbors; territorial sea:12 nm

Climate: Tropical; hot and humid in equatorial river basin; cooler and drier in southern highlands; cooler and wetter in eastern highlands; north of Equator_wet season April to October, dry season December to February; south of Equator_wet season November to March, dry season April to October

Terrain: Vast central basin is a low-lying plateau; mountains in east

Extremes: lowest point:Atlantic Ocean 0 m; highest point:Margherita Peak (Mount Stanley) 5,110 m

Natural resources: Cobalt; Copper; Cadmium; Petroleum; Industrial and gem diamonds; Gold; Silver; Zinc; Manganese; Tin; Germanium; Uranium; Radium; Bauxite; Iron ore; Coal; Hydropower potential
Land use

Land use: arable land:3%; permanent crops:0%; permanent pastures:4%; forests and woodland:78%; other:15%

Irrigated land: 100 km² (1989 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards

Note: Except for humanitarian aid to private organizations, no U.S. assistance has been given to Zaire since 1992

Zaire - People 1996
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Population: 46,498,539 (July 1996 est.); 44,060,636 (July 1995 est.)
Growth rate: 1.67% (1996 est.); 3.18% (1995 est.)

Nationality: noun:Zairian(s); adjective:Zairian

Ethnic groups: Over 200 African ethnic groups, the majority are Bantu; four largest tribes_Mongo, Luba, Kongo (all Bantu), and the Mangbetu-Azande (Hamitic) make up about 45% of the population

LanguagesFrench, Lingala, Swahili, Kingwana, Kikongo, Tshiluba

ReligionsRoman Catholic 50%; Protestant 20%; Kimbanguist 10%; Muslim 10%; Other syncretic sects and traditional beliefs 10%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure: 0-14 years:48% (male 11,161,347; female 11,124,583) (July 1996 est.); 48% (male 10,527,451; female 10,522,368) (July 1995 est.); 15-64 years:49% (male 11,197,097; female 11,783,524) (July 1996 est.); 50% (male 10,630,118; female 11,211,353) (July 1995 est.); 65 years and over:3% (male 539,775; female 692,213) (July 1996 est.); 2% (male 522,039; female 647,307) (July 1995 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 1.67% (1996 est.); 3.18% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 48.1 births/1000 population (1996 est.); 48.33 births/1000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 16.9 deaths/1000 population (1996 est.); 16.57 deaths/1000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: -14.56 migrant(s)/1000 population (1996 est.); note:In 1994, more than one million refugees fled into then called Zaire to escape the fighting between the Hutus and the Tutsis in Rwanda and Burundi; a small number of these returned to their homes in 1995 despite fear of the ongoing violence; additionally, Democratic Republic Congo is host to about 100,000 Angolan, and about 100,000 Sudanese refugees

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: poaching threatens wildlife populations; water pollution; deforestation; 1.2 million Rwandan refugees are responsible for significant deforestation, soil erosion, and wildlife poaching in eastern Zaire; Natural hazards:periodic droughts in south; volcanic activity
International agreements: party to_Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83; signed, but not ratified_Desertification, Environmental Modification

Air pollutants

Sex ratio: at birth:1.03 male(s)/female; under 15 years:1 male(s)/female; 15-64 years:0.95 male(s)/female; 65 years and over:0.78 male(s)/female; all ages:0.97 male(s)/female (1996 est.) Infant Mortality Rate:108 deaths/1000 live births (1996 est.); 108.7 deaths/1000 live births (1995 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate

Life expectancy at birth: total population:46.7 years (1996 est.), 47.54 years (1995 est.); male:44.97 years (1996 est.), 45.68 years (1995 est.); female:48.47 years (1996 est.), 49.46 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 6.64 children born/woman (1996 est.); 6.7 children born/woman (1995 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Literacy: definition:age 15 and over that can read and write (1995 est.); total population:77.3%; male:86.6%; female:67.7%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Zaire - Government 1996
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Country name: conventional long form: Democratic Republic of Congo; conventional short form: Democratic Republic Congo; local long form: Republique Democratique du Congo; local short form: Republique Democratique Congo; Former:Belgian Congo, Congo/Leopoldville, Congo/Kinshasa, Zaire

Government type: Republic with a strong presidential system

Capital: Kinshasa

Administrative divisions: 10 regions (regions, singular_region) and 1 town* (ville); Bandundu, Bas-Zaire, Equateur, Haut-Zaire, Kasai-Occidental, Kasai-Oriental, Kinshasa*, Maniema, Nord-Kivu, Shaba, Sud-Kivu

Dependent areas

Independence: 30 June 1960 (from Belgium)

National holiday: Anniversary of the Regime (Second Republic), 24 November (1965)

Constitution: 24 June 1967, amended August 1974, revised 15 February 1978; amended April 1990; new transitional constitution promulgated in April 1994

Legal system: Based on Belgian civil law system and tribal law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch: chief of state:Laurent KABILA, renamed former Zaire into Democratic Republic Congo on may 20th 1996, he took over after a few months of fighting against troops of ex-president Marshal MOBUTU Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga (who was in power since 24 November 1965 and died in Morocco in the summer of 1996, after fleeing Zaire). More information is not available at the moment, but we will keep this updated as much as possible. The following information might not be correct because of the changes currently processing.; head of government:Prime Minister Leon KENGO wa Dondo (since 14 June 1994); cabinet:National Executive Council; appointed by mutual agreement of the president and the prime minister

Legislative branch: Unicameral; Parliament:a single body consisting of the High Council of the Republic and the Parliament of the Transition with membership equally divided between presidential supporters and opponents

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Cour Supreme)

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, CCC, CEEAC, CEPGL, ECA, FAO, G-19, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO

Diplomatic representation

Flag descriptionflag of Zaire: Seven five-pointed stars on a dark blue field. Six stars on the hoist side and a seventh slightly bigger one in the middle. (this is the flag as shown when Laurent Kabila took over the power in former Zaire, the old (Zaire)-flag used to be light green with a yellow disk in the center bearing a black arm holding a red flaming torch; the flames of the torch were blowing away from the hoist side; used the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia)

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Zaire - Economy 1996
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Economy overview: DR Congo's economy has continued to disintegrate, although Prime Minister KENGO has had some success in slowing the rate of economic decline. While meaningful economic figures are difficult to come by, DR Congo's hyperinflation, chronic large government deficits, and plunging mineral production have made the country one of the world's poorest. Most formal transactions are conducted in hard currency as indigenous bank notes have lost almost all value, and a barter economy now flourishes in all but the largest cities. Most individuals and families hang on grimly through subsistence farming and petty trade. The government has not been able to meet its financial obligations to the IMF nor put in place the financial measures advocated by it. Although short-term prospects for improvement remain doubtful, improved political stability would boost DR Congo's long-term potential to effectively exploit its vast mineral and agricultural resources.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: -7.4% (1995 est.); 4% (1994 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin

Agriculture products: Cash crops_coffee, palm oil, rubber, quinine; food crops_cassava, bananas, root crops, corn

Industries: Mining; Mineral processing; Consumer products (including textiles; Footwear; Cigarettes; Processed foods and beverages); Cement; Diamonds

Industrial production growth rate: Growth rate -20% (1993); accounts for 16% of GDP

Labor force: 14.51 million (1993 est.)
By occupation: Agriculture 65%; Industry 16%; Services 19% (1991)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: NA

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Budget: revenues:$479 million; expenditures:$479 million, including capital expenditures of $N/A (1996 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: Calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: total value. $419 million (f.o.b., 1994); $362 million (f.o.b., 1993 est.)
Commodities: Copper; Coffee; Diamonds; Cobalt; Crude oil
Partners: U.S.; Belgium; France; Germany; Italy; U.K.; Japan; South Africa

Imports: total value:$382 million (c.i.f., 1994); $356 million (f.o.b., 1993 est.)
Commodities: Consumer goods; Foodstuffs; Mining and other machinery; Transport equipment; Fuels
Partners: South Africa; U.S.; Belgium; France; Germany; Italy; Japan; U.K.

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $11.3 billion (December 1993 est.); $9.2 billion (May 1992 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: New zaires (Z) per US$1_10,618 (October 1995), 1,194 (1994), 3 (1993); zaire (Z) per US$1_645,549 (1992), 15,587 (1991), 719 (1990); note:On 22 October 1993 the new zaire, equal to 3,000,000 old zaires, was introduced

Zaire - Energy 1996
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 6.2 billion kWh

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 133 kWh (1993)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Zaire - Communication 1996
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: 34,000 telephones (1991 est.); domestic:barely adequate wire and microwave radio relay service in and between urban areas; domestic satellite system with 14 earth stations; international:1 INTELSAT (Atlantic Ocean) earth station

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Zaire - Military 1996
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $46 million, 1.5% of GDP (1990)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Zaire - Transportation 1996
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 217
With paved runways: over 3,047 m :4; 2,438 to 3,047 m:3; 1,524 to 2,437 m:15; 914 to 1,523 m:2; under 914 m:82; 1,524 to 2,437 m:17; 914 to 1,523 m:94 (1995 est.)

Airports with paved runways: over 3,047 m :4; 2,438 to 3,047 m:3; 1,524 to 2,437 m:15; 914 to 1,523 m:2; under 914 m:82; 1,524 to 2,437 m:17; 914 to 1,523 m:94 (1995 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways


Pipelines: Petroleum products 390 km



Waterways: 15,000 km including the Congo, its tributaries, and unconnected lakes

Merchant marine: None

Ports and terminals

Zaire - Transnational issues 1996
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Disputes international

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: Illicit producer of cannabis, mostly for domestic consumption


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