Africa’s heartland, Congo has some of the world’s biggest gold deposits.
The Democratic Republic of Congo, was formerly known as Zaire. The Congo is the third largest country in Africa .
The Congo has enormous mineral resources, gold, copper, uranium, diamonds, manganese, cobalt and hydroelectric power potential, making it a country of great strategic value and potential wealth.
The Congo is situated in west-central Africa astride the equator.
It borders Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Angola exclave of Cabinda, with a short stretch of coast on the South Atlantic. Its area is nearly three times that of Pennsylvania. Most of the inland is tropical rain forest, drained by tributaries of the Congo River.
Coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber, tea, cotton, cocoa, quinine, cassava (tapioca), manioc, bananas, plantains, peanuts, root crops, corn, fruits; wood products
Industries: Mining (diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt, coltan, zinc, tin, diamonds), mineral processing, consumer products (including textiles, plastics, footwear, cigarettes, metal products, processed foods and beverages), timber, cement, commercial ship repair.
Congo is characterised by dense rainforest and impenetrable jungle juxtaposed against a narrow 169km coastal strip that plays host to a nascent oil industry. Outside the French-flavoured capital of Brazzaville, attractions include the surf beaches of Pointe-Noire, the white-water Congo River rapids and – in 13, 600-sq-km Odzala National Park – one of the Africa’s largest and least known tropical ecosystems.
Wildlife aside, Congo remains a largely unknown quantity to most outsiders, with little tourist infrastructure and a recent six-year civil conflict scaring off all but the most intrepid travellers.
But with a pathway to peace in progress and old feuds and disagreements temporarily – or permanently – forgotten, change flickers tantalisingly on the horizon.
Congo’s greatest asset is the Congolese. Musicians, cooks, philosophers and table-football enthusiasts, the people of this ex-French colony are undoubtedly one of its most engaging national exports. Ignoring adversity and ever curious of visitors, this is a nation of people eager for a good laugh.