Congo, Democratic Republic of The - Infrastructure, power, and communications

The Congo's infrastructure is virtually non-existent and is a major impediment to economic improvement. Though there are an estimated 157,000 kilometers (97,560 miles) of roads in the country, most of them are poorly maintained and there are no major paved roads connecting the regions of the country. Most goods are transported by air. The Congo has 6 major airports located in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Kinsangani, Goma, Mbuji-Mai, and Gbadolite, and hundreds of small landing strips elsewhere in the country. There were 5,138 kilometers (3,193 miles) of railways in 1995, but most

Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Dem. Rep. of Congo 3 375 135 N/A 0 N/A N/A 0.00 1
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Nigeria 24 223 66 N/A 0 N/A 5.7 0.00 100
Sudan 27 271 87 N/A 0 0.6 1.9 0.00 5
a Data are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999and are per 1,000 people.
b Data are from the Internet Software Consortium ( ) and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE : World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

of these were destroyed or damaged during the wars of the late 1990s.

The production of electricity contributes merely 1 percent of the country's GDP. Yet, the Congo's hydro-electric potential is extraordinary. During the 1970s, Congolese and foreign investors, principally from the United States, invested heavily in the Inga-Shaba hydroelectric facility, but today the dam is operating at only a small fraction of its capacity. In 1998 the country produced 5.74 billion kilowatt-hours of total electric power, the vast majority of which was consumed domestically.

The Congo's telecommunications infrastructure, like its roads, is also virtually non-existent. There were 36,000 main lines and 10,000 cellular phones in use in 1995. There are only about 0.7 telephones for every 1,000 Congolese. Even the few telephones that exist are often inoperable because the telecommunications infrastructure is so poorly maintained. Cellular telephones, such as those provided by the American company TELECEL, are replacing wire-based telephone networks, and the numbers of cellular phones in use have risen dramatically in the last several years.

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