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

Two major rivers—the Congo (the fifth largest in the world) and the Ubangi—carry commercial shipping in the Congo, and comprise a vital mode of economic activity. A 534-kilometer (332-mile) railroad links many of Congo's villages and the 2 major cities of Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire; however, this railway was badly damaged in the civil war of 1997-98. Congo's road system consists of a total of 12,800 kilometers of highways (7,954 miles), of which only 1,242 kilometers (772 miles) are paved. The Congo has 2 international airports in Brazzaville and the port city of Pointe-Noire.

Six newspapers are published in the Congo daily. Congolese sources report that there are 4 AM and 1 FM radio stations, while the CIA World Factbook lists 1 AM, 5 FM, and 1 shortwave station. Very few people in the Congo have telephones, international calls are possible, and the telephone system is highly unreliable. In 1998, there were only 8 telephone lines per 1,000 people. Internet service is provided on a limited basis by the government's Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, as well as by a small number of providers in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Congo's potential for hydroelectric power generation is substantial, but is not fully exploited. Even though hydroelectric plants provide some 99 percent of the country's power, the Congo must still purchase roughly one-fourth of its electricity requirements from its neighbor, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Altogether, the total electricity produced in 1998 amounted to 503 million kilowatt hours (kWh). Wood is the primary source of fuel for most people living in rural areas.

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
Rep. of Congo 8 124 12 N/A 1 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
Dem. Rep. of Congo 3 375 135 N/A 0 N/A N/A 0.00 1
Gabon 29 183 55 N/A 8 0.4 8.6 0.02 3
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.

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