Republic of Congo

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Republic of Congo

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Overview

Republic of CongoCivil wars and militia conflicts have plagued the Republic of Congo, which is sometimes referred to as Congo-Brazzaville.

Nearly half the population lives in poverty, according to the World Bank, even though the Republic of Congo is one of sub-Saharan Africa’s main oil producers.

Oil is the mainstay of the economy and in recent years the country has tried to increase financial transparency in the sector.

Profiles by BBC Monitoring

The Situation
  • 1400s – Bakongo, Bateke and Sanga ethnic groups arrive in what is now the Republic of Congo.
  • 1880 – French explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza negotiates an agreement with the Bateke to establish a French protectorate over the north bank of the Congo River. Thirty years later the territory, then known as Middle Congo, becomes a colony of French Equatorial Africa.
  • 1960 – Congo becomes independent with Fulbert Youlou as president.
  • 1963 – President Fulbert Youlou forced to resign following workers’ unrest; Alphonse Massamba-Debat becomes president and Pascal Lissouba prime minister. The head of state changes frequently over the next 30 years, due to coups and at least one assassination.
  • 1997 – Full-scale civil war breaks out; forces of Denis Sassou Nguesso, aided by Angolan troops, capture Brazzaville, forcing Lissouba to flee.
  • 2001 – Peace conference ends by adopting a new constitution, paving the way for presidential and parliamentary elections. The following year, Denis Sassou Nguesso wins presidential elections unopposed after his main rivals are barred from the contest.
  • 2010 – French appeal court gives go-ahead for probe into corruption charges against three African leaders, including President Denis Sassou Nguesso.
  • 2015 – A national dialogue called by President Sassou Nguesso and boycotted by the opposition recommends changing the constitution to allow him to stand for another term.
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Fun Trivia Facts

Republic of the Congo
Capital: Brazzaville

  • Population: 4.2 million
  • Area Area: 342,000 sq km (132,047 sq miles)
  • Major languages: French, indigenous African languages
  • Major religions: Christianity, indigenous African beliefs
  • Life expectancy: 57 years (men), 59 years (women)
  • Currency:  CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine) franc