Home > Africa > Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo flag
Democratic Republic of the Congo
République Démocratique du Congo
   Known until 1997 as Zaire, Congo is one of the largest African countries and the heart of black Africa, given the predominance of Bantu ethnic groups; many conflicts have hampered its development, which would also be possible due to the abundance of resources of the subsoil. The territory is largely covered by the rainforest and revolves around the Congo River and its tributaries; in the eastern part there are impressive mountain massifs that culminate in the more than 5,000 meters of the Ruwenzori.
Government type Semi-presidential republic
Area 2,345,410 km² (905,568 sq mi)
Population 99,010,000 inh. (2022 est.)
Population density 42 inh/km² (109 inh/mi²)
Capital Kinshasa (12,836,000 pop.)
Currency Congolese franc
Human development index 0.479 (179th place)
Languages French (official), Lingala, Kingwana, Kikongo, Tshiluba and other regional languages
Life expectancy M 59 years, F 62 years
Location in Africa


Republic of the Congo and Cabinda (Angola) WEST
Central African Republic NORTH
South Sudan NORTH-EAST
Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania EAST
Angola and Zambia SOUTH
Atlantic Ocean WEST


Largest cities
Kinshasa 12,836,000 pop.
Mbuji-Mayi 3,682,000 pop.
Lubumbashi 2,753,000 pop.
Bakavu 1,579,000 pop.
Bunia 1,148,000 pop.
Kisangani 775,000 pop.
Tshikapa 691,000 pop.
Kananga 673,000 pop.
Butembo 668,000 pop.
Goma 553,000 pop.
Kolwezi 553,000 pop.
Kikwit 501,000 pop.
Highest mountains
Ruwenzori 5,109 m (16,762 ft)
Monte Mikeno 4,437 m (14,557 ft)
Longest rivers
Congo 4,700 km (2,920 mi) total, including sections in Republic of the Congo and Angola
Ubangi-Uele 2,270 km (1,411 mi) total, including parts in Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic
Kasai 2,150 km (1,336 mi) total, with the Angolan section
Kwango 1,770 km (1,100 mi) total, including the Angolan part
Lomami 1,280 km (795 mi)
Sankuru 1,200 km (746 mi)
Largest lakes
Tanganyika 32,893 km² (12,700 sq mi) total, including parts in Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia
Albert 5,300 km² (2,046 sq mi) total, the largest section is in Uganda
Mweru 5,120 km² (1,977 sq mi) total, including part in Zambia
Kivu 2,700 km² (1,042 sq mi) total, 1,550 km² (598 sq mi) in Dem. Rep. of the Congo
Edward 2,325 km² (898 sq mi) total, including section in Uganda
Largest islands
Sumba (in Congo river) 500 km² (193 sq mi)
Idjwi (in Lake Kivu) 340 km² (131 sq mi)


   Congo is administratively divided into 26 provinces; that of Tshopo, just under 200,000 km² is the largest, while the provinces of Kasaï-Oriental and Kinshasa are the smallest ones, with just under 10,000 km², even if the province of the capital is by far the most populated, with nearly double the population of North Kivu in second place.

   The latest official estimated data concerning cities date back to many years ago (2004), the year in which there were 3 urban centers over a million people, which in the meantime increased in number, following a large increase in the total population; as can be seen from the second map, the distribution was not very homogeneous, with several areas without large cities, also due to the presence of dense and vast rainforests.