The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), formerly known as Zaire, lies on the equator and is located in central Africa. This central region has an equatorial climate with high temperatures and heavy rainfall, with different climatic cycles in the northern and southern regions. Rich in natural resources, the country is nonetheless economically stunted due to decades of misrule.
The country has been ravaged by wars and civil unrest in recent years resulting in extreme poverty and millions of widows and orphans. Sporadic fighting and masacres continue and as the people of the Congo start rebuilding their lives it is the widows and orphans who suffer most.
Many of them die young and diseases such as measles, HIV/Aids and malaria are major killers of both adults and children.
Medical aid is severely lacking and there is a major problem in vaccinating children against measles and other life threatening diseases.
Access to education is a major problem as the DRCís education system has collapsed under the strain of war.
DRC has the resources and potential to be a financial and social success story but our help and support is badly needed!
About D.R. Congo
D.R. CONGO - COUNTRY FACTS
Area: 2,345,410 sq. km (1/4 size of USA)
Capital City: Kinshasa (4,295,340)
Life Expectancy: 49 years
People: Over 200 African ethnic groups of which the majority are Bantu; the four largest tribes Ė Mongo, Luba, Kongo (all Bantu), and the Mangbtu-Azande (Hamitic) make up about 45% of the population.
Language(s): French (official), Lingala (a lingua franca trade language), Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili), Kikongo, Tshiluba.
Religions: Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim 10%, other syncretic sects and indigenous beliefs 10%.
Currency: 1 Congolese franc = 100 centimes
Major Political Parties: Democratic Social Christian Party or PDSC, Popular Movement of the Revolution or MPR, Unified Lumumbast Party or PALU, Union of Federalist and Independent Republicans or UFERI
Government: Non elected
Head of State: President Joseph Kabila