The Democratic Republic of the Congo celebrates its 50th year of independence from Belgium today.
Independence for this resource, environmental and culturally-rich nation has been a rocky one to say the least. The short history of the country has been marred by civil war, dictatorship, poverty, corruption, and exploitation and meddling by outside powers (and tragically the country has been described as the ‘Rape Capital of the World’). A recent commitment of $9 Billion from China for the development of infrastructure, schools and hospitals holds the hope of dramatic improvements in a country the size of Western Europe, where there are less than 300 miles of paves roads, electricity is unreliable and access to telephones and postal service is worse that at the time of independence. Still some are also concerned about the access and control this investment will afford China.
We wish the best and brightest future to the Congo and its people on this, their 50th anniversary of independence. Source: NPR
Democratic Republic of the Congo Facts
Population -: 68,692,542
GDP Distribution -: agriculture: 55% industry: 11% services: 34% (2000 est.)
Ethnic Groups -: Over 200 African ethnic groups of which the majority are Bantu; the four largest tribes – Mongo, Luba, Kongo (all Bantu), and the Mangbetu-Azande (Hamitic) make up about 45% of the population
Religions -: Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim 10%, other (includes syncretic sects and indigenous beliefs) 10%
Languages -: French (official), Lingala (a lingua franca trade language), Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili), Kikongo, Tshiluba
Capital -: Kinshasa
Time Zone -: UTC+1