Republic of the Congo

Republic of the Congo
République du Congo  (French)
Motto: "Unité, Travail, Progrès" (French)
(English: "Unity, Work, Progress")
Anthem: La Congolaise  (French)
(English: "The Congolese")
Location of  Republic of the Congo  (dark blue) – in Africa  (light blue & dark grey) – in the African Union  (light blue)
Location of  Republic of the Congo  (dark blue)

– in Africa  (light blue & dark grey)
– in the African Union  (light blue)

Capital
and largest city
Brazzaville
4°16′S 15°17′E / 4°16′S 15°17′E / -4.267; 15.283
Official languagesFrench
Recognised regional languages
Ethnic groups
DemonymCongolese
GovernmentUnitary semi-presidential republic
• President
Denis Sassou Nguesso
Clément Mouamba
LegislatureParliament
Senate
National Assembly
Independence
• from France
15 August 1960
Area
• Total
342,000 km2 (132,000 sq mi) (64th)
• Water (%)
3.3
Population
• 2016 estimate
5,125,821[1] (124th)
• Density
12.8/km2 (33.2/sq mi) (204th)
GDP (PPP)2018 estimate
• Total
$34.054 billion[2]
• Per capita
$7,323[2]
GDP (nominal)2018 estimate
• Total
$9.210 billion[2]
• Per capita
$1,981[2]
Gini (2011)40.2[3]
medium
HDI (2018)Increase 0.606[4]
medium · 137th
CurrencyCentral African CFA franc (XAF)
Time zoneUTC+1 (WAT)
Driving sideright
Calling code+242
ISO 3166 codeCG
Internet TLD.cg

The Republic of the Congo (About this sound pronunciation  French: République du Congo), also known as Congo-Brazzaville, the Congo Republic[5] or simply the Congo, is a country in Central Africa. It is bordered by five countries: Gabon and the Atlantic Ocean to the west; Cameroon to the northwest; the Central African Republic to the northeast; the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the east and south; and the Angolan exclave of Cabinda to the southwest.

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-Brazzaville was formerly part of the French colony of Equatorial Africa.[6] Upon independence in 1960, the former colony of French Congo became the Republic of the Congo. In 1970, the People's Republic of the Congo was established as a Marxist–Leninist one-party state; this lasted until 1991. 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 ruled for 33 of the past 38 years.

The Republic of the Congo 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.

History

Pre-colonial

Bantu-speaking peoples who founded tribes during the Bantu expansions largely displaced and absorbed the earliest inhabitants of the region, the Pygmy people, about 1500 BC. The Bakongo, a Bantu ethnic group that also occupied parts of present-day Angola, Gabon, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formed the basis for ethnic affinities and rivalries among those countries. Several Bantu kingdoms—notably those of the Kongo, the Loango, and the Teke—built trade links leading into the Congo River basin.[7]

The court of N'Gangue M'voumbe Niambi, from the book Description of Africa (1668)

The Portuguese explorer Diogo Cão reached the mouth of the Congo in 1484.[8] Commercial relationships quickly grew between the inland Bantu kingdoms and European merchants who traded various commodities, manufactured goods, and people captured from the hinterlands. After centuries as a major hub for transatlantic trade, direct European colonization of the Congo river delta began in the late 19th century, subsequently eroding the power of the Bantu societies in the region.[9]

French colonial era

The area north of the Congo River came under French sovereignty in 1880 as a result of Pierre de Brazza's treaty with King Makoko[10] of the Bateke.[8] This Congo Colony became known first as French Congo, then as Middle Congo in 1903. In 1908, France organized French Equatorial Africa (AEF), comprising Middle Congo, Gabon, Chad, and Oubangui-Chari (the modern Central African Republic). The French designated Brazzaville as the federal capital. Economic development during the first 50 years of colonial rule in Congo centered on natural-resource extraction. The methods were often brutal: construction of the Congo–Ocean Railroad following World War I has been estimated to have cost at least 14,000 lives.[8]

During the Nazi occupation of France during World War II, Brazzaville functioned as the symbolic capital of Free France between 1940 and 1943.[11] The Brazzaville Conference of 1944 heralded a period of major reform in French colonial policy. Congo benefited from the postwar expansion of colonial administrative and infrastructure spending as a result of its central geographic location within AEF and the federal capital at Brazzaville.[7] It also received a local legislature after the adoption of the 1946 constitution that established the Fourth Republic.

Following the revision of the French constitution that established the Fifth Republic in 1958, the AEF dissolved into its constituent parts, each of which became an autonomous colony within the French Community. During these reforms, Middle Congo became known as the Republic of the Congo in 1958[12] and published its first constitution in 1959.[13] Antagonism between the Mbochis (who favored Jacques Opangault) and the Balalis (who favored Fulbert Youlou, the first black mayor elected in French Equatorial Africa) resulted in a series of riots in Brazzaville in February 1959, which the French Army subdued.[14]

New elections took place in April 1959. By the time the Congo became independent in August 1960, Opangault, the former opponent of Youlou, agreed to serve under him. Youlou became the first President of the Republic of the Congo.[15] Since the political tension was so high in Pointe-Noire, Youlou moved the capital to Brazzaville.

Post-independence era

Alphonse Massamba-Débat's one-party rule (1963–1968) attempted to implement a political economic strategy of "scientific socialism"

The Republic of the Congo received full independence from France on 15 August 1960. Youlou ruled as the country's first president until labour elements and rival political parties instigated a three-day uprising that ousted him.[16] The Congolese military briefly took charge of the country, and installed a civilian provisional government headed by Alphonse Massamba-Débat.

Under the 1963 constitution, Massamba-Débat was elected President for a five-year term.[7] During Massamba-Débat's term in office the regime adopted "scientific socialism" as the country's constitutional ideology.[17] In 1965, Congo established relations with the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China, North Korea and North Vietnam.[17] Massamba-Débat's regime also invited several hundred Cuban army troops into the country to train his party's militia units and these troops helped his government survive a coup d'état in 1966 led by paratroopers loyal to future President Marien Ngouabi. Nevertheless, Massamba-Débat was unable to reconcile various institutional, tribal and ideological factions within the country[17] and his regime ended abruptly with a bloodless coup in September 1968.

Marien Ngouabi changed the country's name to the People's Republic of the Congo, declaring it to be Africa's first Marxist–Leninist state. He was assassinated in 1977.

Ngouabi, who had participated in the coup, assumed the presidency on 31 December 1968. One year later, President Ngouabi proclaimed Congo Africa's first "people's republic", the People's Republic of the Congo, and announced the decision of the National Revolutionary Movement to change its name to the Congolese Labour Party (PCT). He survived an attempted coup in 1972 but was assassinated on 16 March 1977. An 11-member Military Committee of the Party (CMP) was then named to head an interim government, with Joachim Yhombi-Opango to serve as President of the Republic. Two years later, Yhombi-Opango was forced from power and Denis Sassou Nguesso become the new president.[7]

Sassou Nguesso aligned the country with the Eastern Bloc and signed a twenty-year friendship pact with the Soviet Union. Over the years, Sassou had to rely more on political repression and less on patronage to maintain his dictatorship.[18]

Pascal Lissouba, who became Congo's first elected president (1992–1997) during the period of multi-party democracy, attempted to implement economic reforms with IMF backing to liberalize the economy. In June 1996, the IMF approved a three-year SDR69.5m (US$100m) enhanced structural adjustment facility (ESAF) and was on the verge of announcing a renewed annual agreement when civil war broke out in Congo in mid-1997.[19]

Congo's democratic progress was derailed in 1997, when Lissouba and Sassou started to fight for power in the civil war. As presidential elections scheduled for July 1997 approached, tensions between the Lissouba and Sassou camps mounted. On 5 June, President Lissouba's government forces surrounded Sassou's compound in Brazzaville and Sassou ordered members of his private militia (known as "Cobras") to resist. Thus began a four-month conflict that destroyed or damaged much of Brazzaville and caused tens of thousands of civilian deaths. In early October, the Angolan régime began an invasion of Congo to install Sassou in power. In mid-October, the Lissouba government fell. Soon thereafter, Sassou declared himself president.[7]

A pro-constitutional reform rally in Brazzaville during October 2015. The constitution's controversial reforms were subsequently approved in a disputed election which saw demonstrations and violence.

In the controversial elections in 2002, Sassou won with almost 90% of the vote cast. His two main rivals, Lissouba and Bernard Kolelas, were prevented from competing and the only remaining credible rival, André Milongo, advised his supporters to boycott the elections and then withdrew from the race.[20] A new constitution, agreed upon by referendum in January 2002, granted the president new powers, extended his term to seven years, and introduced a new bicameral assembly. International observers took issue with the organization of the presidential election and the constitutional referendum, both of which were reminiscent in their organization of Congo's era of the one-party state.[21] Following the presidential elections, fighting restarted in the Pool region between government forces and rebels led by Pastor Ntumi; a peace treaty to end the conflict was signed in April 2003.[22]

Sassou also won the following presidential election in July 2009.[23] According to the Congolese Observatory of Human Rights, a non-governmental organization, the election was marked by "very low" turnout and "fraud and irregularities".[24] In March 2015 Sassou announced that he wanted to run for yet another term in office and a constitutional referendum in October resulted in a changed constitution which allowed him to run during the 2016 presidential election.

Other Languages
Alemannisch: Republik Kongo
asturianu: El Congu
azərbaycanca: Konqo Respublikası
bamanankan: Kongo-Brazaville
Bân-lâm-gú: Congo Kiōng-hô-kok
беларуская: Рэспубліка Конга
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Рэспубліка Конга
Bikol Central: Republika kan Kongo
български: Република Конго
bosanski: Republika Kongo
brezhoneg: Republik Kongo
буряад: Конго
Chavacano de Zamboanga: República del Congo
davvisámegiella: Kongo dásseváldi
dolnoserbski: Republika Kongo
Esperanto: Respubliko Kongo
estremeñu: Congu
føroyskt: Kongo
Gàidhlig: A' Chongo
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Congo Khiung-fò-koet
한국어: 콩고 공화국
hornjoserbsce: Republika Kongo
hrvatski: Republika Kongo
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: কঙ্গো প্রজাতন্ত্র
Bahasa Indonesia: Republik Kongo
interlingua: Republica del Congo
Interlingue: Republica de Congo
íslenska: Vestur-Kongó
Basa Jawa: Républik Kongo
kernowek: Repoblek Kongo
Kinyarwanda: Kongo
Kiswahili: Jamhuri ya Kongo
Kreyòl ayisyen: Kongo (Brazavil)
кырык мары: Конго Республика
لۊری شومالی: کۊمٱرٱ ڤولات کونگو
latviešu: Kongo Republika
Lëtzebuergesch: Republik Kongo
lietuvių: Kongo Respublika
Livvinkarjala: Kongon Tazavaldu
la .lojban.: kongos
lumbaart: Congo
македонски: Република Конго
مازِرونی: کنگو جمهوری
Bahasa Melayu: Republik Congo
Baso Minangkabau: Republik Kongo
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Congo Gê̤ṳng-huò-guók
Dorerin Naoero: Ripubrikin Kongo
Nederlands: Congo-Brazzaville
Nedersaksies: Kongo-Brazzaville
नेपाल भाषा: गणतन्त्र कङ्गो
Nordfriisk: Republiik Kongo
Norfuk / Pitkern: Repablik o' t' Kongo
norsk nynorsk: Kongo-Brazzaville
Novial: Kongo
ଓଡ଼ିଆ: କଙ୍ଗୋ
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Kongo Respublikasi
پنجابی: کانگو
Papiamentu: Republika di Kongo
Piemontèis: Còngo
Plattdüütsch: Republiek Kongo
polski: Kongo
Qaraqalpaqsha: Kongo
qırımtatarca: Kongo (Brazzavil)
reo tahiti: Tōnoto
română: Republica Congo
Runa Simi: Kungu Ripuwlika
русиньскый: Конґо
Seeltersk: Republik Kongo
Sesotho sa Leboa: Republic ya Congo
Simple English: Republic of the Congo
slovenčina: Kongo (Brazzaville)
slovenščina: Zahodni Kongo
ślůnski: Kůngo
српски / srpski: Република Конго
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Republika Kongo
Basa Sunda: Républik Kongo
Taqbaylit: Kungu
татарча/tatarça: Конго Җөмһүрияте
Tsetsêhestâhese: Republic of the Congo
Türkmençe: Kongo Respublikasy
українська: Республіка Конго
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: كونگو جۇمھۇرىيىتى
vepsän kel’: Kongon Tazovaldkund
Tiếng Việt: Cộng hòa Congo
žemaitėška: Kuongs
Lingua Franca Nova: Congo