Congo (Brazzaville)

The Salvation Army has been working in Congo Brazzaville since 1934s. Since the civil war in the 1990s, the country has suffered much from poverty.

General 

Capital: Brazzaville 
Surface area: 342.000 km² 
Number of inhabitants: 5 million 
Language: French 
Religion: Roman Catholic, Animist and Protestant 
Currency: Central African Franc (CFA) 
Government Form: Presidential Republic  

Development 

Congo Brazzaville, also known as the Republic of Congo, has a score of 0.592 on the Human Development Index (HDI). This is a composite number that includes numbers pertaining to life expectancy, education and income per capita. This number is used to rank countries in four levels of human development. The higher these factors, the higher the index number. According to this index, Congo Brazzaville is ranked 135th out of 186 countries. The average time people receive education is almost 11 years. About 80% of the population is literate. (Source: CIA Factbook) Despite the fact that many Congolese have gone to school, one out of four children are involved in child labor. The population of the Republic of Congo continues to rise every year. The birth rate is very high, but this percentage is lowered by high child mortality and low life expectancy as a result of AIDS.  

History 

The first inhabitants of the Republic of the Congo were the Pygmies. At the beginning of the 15th century, the first settlers shipped many Congolese to the United States to be sold as slaves. In the 19th century, French explorer Count Pierre Savorgnan arrived at the Brazza Ogooú in Congo. He took over the city of Ntamo and changed its name to Brazzaville. In 1891 the area officially became the French-Congo. In the 20th century, much changed for the country. In 1910 the area became part of French Equatorial Africa. Then in 1958, it became an independent republic within the French Kingdom. Two years later, the country officially became fully independent and was named the Republic of Congo. (source: landenweb

Politics and Economy

The first president of the Republic of Congo was Fulbert Youlou. He formed a coalition government consisting of three parties, but in the meantime, attempted to keep his fellow friend from the same tribe, Bakongo Joseph Kasavubu of Congo-Kinshasa, in control. The Congoleze people rebelled and removed Youlou from power in 1963. Then Alphonse Massamba-Débat became president. His time as president ended when Major Marien Ngouabi took power in 1968. He declared the Party Congolais du Travail (PCT) the only authorized party and based his policy on Marxism-Leninism. In 1970 he also changed the country’s name to the People's Republic of Congo. In March 1977, President Ngouabi was killed. As a successor to Ngouabi, Jacques Yombi-Opango was appointed, who became Chairman of the Military Committee of the PCT. In July 1987, a military coup failed against President Dennis Sassou-Nguesso, but at the end of 1989 an opposition party was established, the Union for Congolese Democracy. In 1992 a new democratic constitution was adopted and the country name in the Republic of Congo was changed after which the monopoly position of the PCT was abolished. That same year, Pascal Lissouba became president and parliamentary elections were held. The Union Panafricaine pour la Démocratie Social (UPADS) was the largest party. A year later, the UPADS won the elections again, but the opposition accused the party of fraud. For years, violence and unrest were daily incidences and even the freedom of expression and free press were declared punishable.Former president Dennis Sassou-Nguesso was seen as a potential threat by President Pascal Lissouba. He instructed the army to surround the property of Sassou-Nguesso, but Sassou-Nguesso's own militia protected him. Sassou-Nguesso managed to escape and forced Lissouba out through a coup in October 1997. Since that time, Sassou-Nguesso has been the president of the Republic of the Congo.(source: landenweb

Culture

Congo means hunter in Kikonga, one of the languages of the original indigenous people of the country. Congo Brazzaville is renowned for its rich flora and fauna: savannah, marshes, mountains and tropical rainforests. Also, the country is rich in oil and diamonds. About half of the Congolese population s Roman Catholic, the other half follows animistic traditions. A minority follow the Church of Jesus Christ on Earth, the largest independent Christian church in Africa.Like many other African countries, traditional music and dance are part of the culture. Especially for people who follow an indigenous religion.