Republic of the Congo

République du Congo

CAPITAL : Brazzaville

FLAG: The flag consists of a green triangular section at the hoist and a red triangular section at the fly, separated by a diagonal gold bar.

ANTHEM: The Congolaise.

MONETARY UNIT: The Communauté Financière Africaine franc (CFA Fr), which was originally pegged to the French franc, has been pegged to the euro since January 1999 with a rate of 655.957 CFA francs to 1 euro. The CFA franc is issued in coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 500 CFA francs and notes of 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 CFA francs. CFA Fr1 = $0.00167 (or $1 = CFA Fr597.577) as of May 2003.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Labor Day, 1 May; Three Glorious Days, 13–15 August (including Independence Day, 15 August); Christmas Day, 25 December. Movable religious holidays include Good Friday and Easter Monday.

TIME: 1 PM = noon GMT.


About half the land area is covered by okoumé, limba, and other trees of the heavy rainforest. On the plateaus, the forest gives way to savanna broken by patches of bushy undergrowth. The savanna supports jackals, hyenas, cheetahs, and several varieties of antelope; elephants, wild boar, giraffes, and monkeys dwell in the forest.


French is the official language. Several related African languages and dialects of the Bantu family are spoken. Kikongo has the most users. Monokutuba and Lingala are lingua franca trade languages.


There are nine administrative regions and one federal district, each under the authority of a government commissioner. As of the mid-1990s, these were subdivided into 46 districts.


Animal husbandry has high government priority, and production is steadily increasing. In 2001 there were an estimated 280,000 goats, 114,000 sheep, 46,000 hogs, 90,000 head of cattle, and two million chickens. Total meat production in 2001 was 26,600 tons.


Most fishing is carried on along the coast for local consumption. The catch rose from 14,939 tons in 1970 to 45,577 tons in 1991 and to 49,980 tons in 2000. Almost 50% of the annual catch is from saltwater fishing.


In March 1974, all private insurance companies were nationalized and put under the Congo Insurance and Reinsurance Co. (ARC), which is 50% government owned.


The Republic of the Congo is a member of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) with Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon. CEMAC applies a common external tariff (CET) of 18.7% on non-member imports. Significant non-tariff trade barriers include import license requirements and a corrupt and inefficient customs system.


At last estimate, more than 88% of all housing units were private houses. Owners occupied more than 60% of dwellings, tenants nearly 25%, and over 9% were occupied rent free. Close to one-third of all units had brick external walls, more than 25% had stone walls, nearly 16% had planks, and over 10% cob. In 2000, only about 51% of the population had access to imporved water systems.


The Republic of the Congo has no territories or colonies.


Attwater, Helen. My Gorilla Journey. Leicester, Eng.: Charnwood, 2000.

Decalo, Samuel. Historical Dictionary of Congo. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1996.

——. Historical Dictionary of Congo. [computer file] Boulder, Colo.: netLibrary, Inc., 2000.

Depelchin, Jacques. From the Congo Free State to Zaire: How Belgium Privatized the Economy: A History of Belgian Stock Companies in Congo-Zaire from 1885–1974. Oxford: Codesria Book Series, 1992.

Fegley, Randall. The Congo. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Clio, 1993.

Millaure, Jean-Claude. Patrinomialism and Changes in the Congo. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1972.

Nelson, Samuel Henry. Colonialism in the Congo Basin, 1880–1940. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Center for International Studies, 1994.

Republic of Congo: An Old Generation of Leaders in New Carnage. New York: Amnesty International, USA., 1999.

Tayler, Jeffrey. Facing the Congo: A Modern-day Journey into the Heart of Darkness. New York: Three Rivers, 2000.

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