Upon independence in 1960, the former French region of Middle Congo became the Republic of the Congo. A quarter century of experimentation with Marxism was abandoned in 1990 and a democratically elected government took office in 1992. A brief civil war in 1997 restored former Marxist President Denis SASSOU-Nguesso, and ushered in a period of ethnic and political unrest. Southern-based rebel groups agreed to a final peace accord in March 2003. The Republic of Congo is one of Africa's largest petroleum producers, but with declining production it will need new offshore oil finds to sustain its oil earnings over the long term.



Central Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and Gabon

Geographic coordinates

1 00 S, 15 00 E

Map references



total: 342,000 sq km
land: 341,500 sq km
water: 500 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Montana

Land boundaries

total: 5,008 km
border countries (5): Angola 231 km, Cameroon 494 km, Central African Republic 487 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 1,229 km, Gabon 2,567 km


169 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


tropical; rainy season (March to June); dry season (June to October); persistent high temperatures and humidity; particularly enervating climate astride the Equator


coastal plain, southern basin, central plateau, northern basin


mean elevation: 430 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Berongou 903 m

Natural resources

petroleum, timber, potash, lead, zinc, uranium, copper, phosphates, gold, magnesium, natural gas, hydropower

Land use

agricultural land: 31.1%
arable land 1.6%; permanent crops 0.2%; permanent pasture 29.3%
forest: 65.6%
other: 3.3% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

20 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards

seasonal flooding

Environment - current issues

air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; tap water is not potable; deforestation

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

about 70% of the population lives in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, or along the railroad between them

People and Society


note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2016 est.)

Ethnic groups

Kongo 48%, Sangha 20%, M'Bochi 12%, Teke 17%, Europeans and other 3%


noun: Congolese (singular and plural)
adjective: Congolese or Congo


French (official), Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages), many local languages and dialects (of which Kikongo is the most widespread)


Roman Catholic 33.1%, Awakening Churches/Christian Revival 22.3%, Protestant 19.9%, Salutiste 2.2%, Muslim 1.6%, Kimbanguiste 1.5%, other 8.1%, none 11.3% (2010 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 41.53% (male 1,016,677/female 998,331)
15-24 years: 17.26% (male 419,248/female 418,397)
25-54 years: 34% (male 831,091/female 818,853)
55-64 years: 4.18% (male 101,118/female 101,879)
65 years and over: 3.03% (male 64,519/female 82,299) (2016 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 86.2%
youth dependency ratio: 79.4%
elderly dependency ratio: 6.8%
potential support ratio: 14.7% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 19.7 years
male: 19.6 years
female: 19.9 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

2.06% (2016 est.)

Birth rate

35.1 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Death rate

9.7 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

-4.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)


urban population: 65.4% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 3.22% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

BRAZZAVILLE (capital) 1.888 million; Pointe-Noire 969,000 (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Child labor - children ages 5-14

total number: 252,171
percentage: 25% (2005 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

442 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 56.4 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 61.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 51.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 59.3 years
male: 58.1 years
female: 60.6 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

4.63 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

44.7% (2011/12)

Health expenditures

5.2% of GDP (2014)

Physicians density

0.1 physicians/1,000 population (2007)

Drinking water source

urban: 95.8% of population
rural: 40% of population
total: 76.5% of population
urban: 4.2% of population
rural: 60% of population
total: 23.5% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 20% of population
rural: 5.6% of population
total: 15% of population
urban: 80% of population
rural: 94.4% of population
total: 85% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

2.75% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

80,700 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

4,400 (2014 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria and dengue fever
animal contact disease: rabies
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2016)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

9.7% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

12.3% (2015)

Education expenditures

6.2% of GDP (2010)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 79.3%
male: 86.4%
female: 72.9% (2015 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2012)

Mother's mean age at first birth

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2011/12 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Republic of the Congo
conventional short form: Congo (Brazzaville)
local long form: Republique du Congo
local short form: Congo
former: French Congo, Middle Congo, People's Republic of the Congo, Congo/Brazzaville
etymology: named for the Congo River, which makes up much of the country's eastern border; the river name derives from Kongo, a Bantu kingdom that occupied its mouth at the time of Portuguese discovery in the late 15th century and whose name stems from its people the Bakongo, meaning "hunters"

Government type

presidential republic


name: Brazzaville
geographic coordinates: 4 15 S, 15 17 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

12 departments (departments, singular - department); Bouenza, Brazzaville, Cuvette, Cuvette-Ouest, Kouilou, Lekoumou, Likouala, Niari, Plateaux, Pointe-Noire, Pool, Sangha


15 August 1960 (from France)

National holiday

Independence Day, 15 August (1960)


previous 1992; latest approved by referendum 20 January 2002; amended 2015; note - the constitutional referendum approved in October 2015 changed the head of government from the president to the prime minister, eliminated the presidential age maximum, reduced the presidential term from 7 to 5 years and limited total presidential terms to 3 (2017)

Legal system

mixed legal system of French civil law and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of the Republic of the Congo
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Denis SASSOU-Nguesso (since 25 October 1997)
head of government: Prime Minister Clement MOUAMBA (since 23 April 2016); note - a constitutional referendum held in 2015 approved the change of the head of government from the president to the prime minister
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for 2 additional terms); election last held on 20 March 2016 (next to be held in 2021)
election results: Denis SASSOU-Nguesso reelected president; percent of vote - Denis SASSOU-Nguesso (PCT) 60.4%, Guy Price Parfait KOLELAS (MCDDI) 15.1%, Jean-Marie MOKOKO (independent) 13.9%, Pascal Tsaty MABIALA (UPADS) 4.4%, other 6.2%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate (72 seats; members indirectly elected by regional councils by simple majority vote to serve 6-year terms with one-half of membership renewed every three years) and the National Assembly (139 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by absolute majority popular vote in two rounds if needed; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 12 October 2014 for 36 of the expiry seats (next to be held in 2020); National Assembly - last held on 15 July and 5 August 2012 (next to be held in July 2017)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - RMP 33, FDU 23, UPADS 2, other 7, independent 7; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PCT 89, MCDDI 7, UPADS 7, RDPS 5, MAR 4, RC 3, MUST 2, UPDP 2, CPR 1, PRL 1, PUR 1, UFD 1, UR 1, independent 12, vacant 3

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of NA judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 members); note - a High Court of Justice, outside the judicial authority, tries cases involving treason by the president of the republic
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges elected by Parliament and serve until age 65; Constitutional Court members appointed by the president of the republic - 3 directly by the president and 6 nominated by Parliament; members appointed for renewable 9-year terms with one-third of the membership renewed every 3 years
subordinate courts: Court of Audit and Budgetary Discipline; courts of appeal; regional and district courts; employment tribunals; juvenile courts;

Political parties and leaders

Action Movement for Renewal or MAR [Roland BOUITI-VIAUDO]
Citizen's Rally or RC
Congolese Labour Party or PCT [Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO]
Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development or MCDDI [Guy Price Parfait KOLELAS]
Movement for Unity, Solidarity, and Work or MUST [Claudine MUNARI]
Pan-African Union for Social Development or UPADS [Pascal Tsaty MABIALA]
Party for the Unity of the Republic or PUR
Patriotic Union for Democracy and Progress or UPDP [Auguste-Celestin GONGARD NKOUA
Prospects and Realities Club or CPR
Rally for Democracy and Social Progress or RDPS [Bernard BATCHI]
Rally of the Presidential Majority or RMP
Republican and Liberal Party or PRL
Union for the Republic or UR
Union of Democratic Forces
Union for Democracy and Republic or UDR
United Democratic Forces or FDU [Sebastian EBAO]; many smaller parties

Political pressure groups and leaders

Congolese Trade Union Congress or CSC
General Union of Congolese Pupils and Students or UGEEC
Revolutionary Union of Congolese Women or URFC
Union of Congolese Socialist Youth or UJSC

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Serge MOMBOULI (since 31 July 2001)
chancery: 1720 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 726-5500
FAX: [1] (202) 726-1860

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Stephanie S. SULLIVAN (since 12 August 2013)
embassy: 70-83 Section D, Maya-Maya Boulevard, Brazzaville
mailing address: B.P. 1015, Brazzaville
telephone: [242] 06 612-2000

Flag description

divided diagonally from the lower hoist side by a yellow band; the upper triangle (hoist side) is green and the lower triangle is red; green symbolizes agriculture and forests, yellow the friendship and nobility of the people, red is unexplained but has been associated with the struggle for independence
note: uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia

National symbol(s)

lion, elephant; national colors: green, yellow, red

National anthem

name: "La Congolaise" (The Congolese)
lyrics/music: Jacques TONDRA and Georges KIBANGHI/Jean ROYER and Joseph SPADILIERE
note: originally adopted 1959, restored 1991


Economy - overview

The economy is a mixture of subsistence farming and hunting, an industrial sector based largely on oil and support services, and government spending. Oil has supplanted forestry as the mainstay of the economy, providing a major share of government revenue

Economic reform efforts have been undertaken with the support of international organizations, notably the World Bank and the IMF, including the recently concluded Article IV consultations. The current administration faces difficult economic challenges of

Officially the country became a net external creditor as of 2011, with external debt representing only about 16% of GDP and debt servicing less than 3% of government revenue.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$30.27 billion (2016 est.)
$29.75 billion (2015 est.)
$29.08 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$8.834 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

1.7% (2016 est.)
2.3% (2015 est.)
6.8% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$6,800 (2016 est.)
$6,800 (2015 est.)
$6,800 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

Gross national saving

22.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
12.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
38.9% of GDP (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 50%
government consumption: 10.5%
investment in fixed capital: 48.7%
investment in inventories: 0.2%
exports of goods and services: 44.5%
imports of goods and services: -53.9% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 4.9%
industry: 69.8%
services: 25.3% (2016 est.)

Agriculture - products

cassava (manioc, tapioca), sugar, rice, corn, peanuts, vegetables, coffee, cocoa; forest products


petroleum extraction, cement, lumber, brewing, sugar, palm oil, soap, flour, cigarettes

Industrial production growth rate

3.5% (2016 est.)

Labor force

1.807 million (2013 est.)

Unemployment rate

53% (2012 est.)

Population below poverty line

46.5% (2011 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 37.1% (2005)


revenues: $3.562 billion
expenditures: $4.233 billion (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

40.3% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-7.6% of GDP (2016 est.)

Public debt

49.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
48% of GDP (2015 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

2.3% (2016 est.)
2.6% (2015 est.)

Central bank discount rate

4.25% (31 December 2009)
4.75% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate

14% (31 December 2016 est.)
14.8% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$3.274 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.131 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money

$4.875 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$4.858 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$1.825 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.807 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares


Current account balance

-$728 million (2016 est.)
-$1.861 billion (2015 est.)


$4.777 billion (2016 est.)
$5.231 billion (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities

petroleum, lumber, plywood, sugar, cocoa, coffee, diamonds

Exports - partners

China 42.1%, Italy 16.9%, US 4.9%, India 4.7%, Portugal 4.2% (2015)


$3.447 billion (2016 est.)
$3.934 billion (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities

capital equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs

Imports - partners

China 20.3%, France 14.2%, South Korea 9.8%, US 4.9%, UK 4.4%, Italy 4.1%, India 4.1% (2015)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$1.989 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.244 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Debt - external

$4.817 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.324 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Exchange rates

Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per US dollar -
589.4 (2016 est.)
591.45 (2015 est.)
591.45 (2014 est.)
494.42 (2013 est.)
510.53 (2012 est.)


Electricity - access

population without electricity: 2,600,000
electrification - total population: 42%
electrification - urban areas: 62%
electrification - rural areas: 5% (2013)

Electricity - production

1.7 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

900 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

22 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - imports

18 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

500,000 kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

12.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

87.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production

269,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

252,300 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

1.6 billion bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

18,550 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

16,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

5,426 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

2,615 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production

1.5 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

1.5 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports

39 million cu m (2012 est.)

Natural gas - imports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

90.61 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

6.5 million Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 17,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 5.216 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 110 (July 2015 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: primary network consists of microwave radio relay and coaxial cable with services barely adequate for government use; key exchanges are in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, and Loubomo; intercity lines frequently out of order
domestic: fixed-line infrastructure inadequate, providing less than 1 connection per 100 persons; in the absence of an adequate fixed-line infrastructure, mobile-cellular subscribership has surged to 110 per 100 persons
international: country code - 242; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2015)

Broadcast media

1 state-owned TV and 3 state-owned radio stations; several privately owned TV and radio stations; satellite TV service is available; rebroadcasts of several international broadcasters are available (2007)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 362,000
percent of population: 7.6% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 3
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 12
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 657,926
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 2,987,493 mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

TN (2016)


27 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 8
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 19
1,524 to 2,437 m: 8
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 2 (2013)


gas 232 km; liquid petroleum gas 4 km; oil 982 km (2013)


total: 510 km
narrow gauge: 510 km 1.067-m gauge (2014)


total: 17,000 km
paved: 1,212 km
unpaved: 15,788 km (2006)


1,120 km (commercially navigable on Congo and Oubanqui Rivers above Brazzaville; there are many ferries across the river to Kinshasa; the Congo south of Brazzaville-Kinshasa to the coast is not navigable because of rapids, necessitating a rail connection to Pointe Noire; other rivers are used for local traffic only) (2011)

Merchant marine

registered in other countries: 1 (Democratic Republic of the Congo 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Pointe-Noire
river port(s): Brazzaville (Congo); Impfondo (Oubangi); Ouesso (Sangha); Oyo (Alima)
oil terminal(s): Djeno


Military branches

Congolese Armed Forces (Forces Armees Congolaises, FAC): Army (Armee de Terre), Navy, Congolese Air Force (Armee de l'Air Congolaise); Gendarmerie; Special Presidential Security Guard (GSSP) (2013)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service; women may serve in the Armed Forces (2012)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

the location of the boundary in the broad Congo River with the Democratic Republic of the Congo is undefined except in the Pool Malebo/Stanley Pool area

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 8,549 (Rwanda) (2015); 29,304 (Central African Republic); 12,223 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (2016)
IDPs: 7,800 (multiple civil wars since 1992) (2015)

Trafficking in persons

current situation: the Republic of the Congo is a source and destination country for children, men, and women, subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; most trafficking victims are from Benin, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and, to a lesser extent, other neighboring countries and are subjected to domestic servitude and market vending by West African and Congolese nationals; adults and children, the majority from the DRC, are also sex trafficked in Congo, mainly Brazzaville; internal trafficking victims, often from rural areas, are exploited as domestic servants or forced to work in quarries, bakeries, fishing, and agriculture
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - the Republic of the Congo does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the country drafted an action plan based on anti-trafficking legislation, which remains pending in the Supreme Court; the government made minimal anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts in 2014, failing to prosecute or convict suspected traffickers from cases dating back to 2010; serious allegations of official complicity continue to be reported; the government lacks a systematic means of identifying victims and relies on NGOs and international organizations to identify victims and NGOs and foster families to provide care to victims; the quality of care varied widely because the foster care system was allegedly undermined by inadequate security and official complicity (2015)