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The Democratic Republic of Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo

Congo, also known as Zaire is located in the central sub-Sharan Africa with Kinshasa as it’s capital city. Countries that border the Democratic Republic of Congo include Central African Republic and Southern Sudan to the north, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania to the east, Zambia and Angola to the west and the Atlantic ocean to the south west. It is the fourth most populated nation in Africa with over 80million people roughly, it has an area of about 2,345,408 km2 of land, 4.3% being water, and this makes it the second largest country in Africa by land. It lies between 60N and 140S thus straddling the equator with one-third to the north and two-thirds to the south.

Politically, the DRC went through a series of change right from the 1880’s. In chronological order, it was formerly known as Congo Free State after being colonised by the Belgians, it then became Belgian Congo after Belgium had annexed it, Belgium then granted it independence after the Congo crisis and it became the Democratic republic of Congo, it became Zaire under Mobutu’s power until finally it gained its current name (Democratic Republic of Congo) under Kabila. There was still political unrest following the postponed elections of 2016.

However, the DRC is a jewel to Africa. It has the highest frequency of thunderstorms in the world and encounters high precipitation, this is because of its strategic equatorial location. It has the second largest rain forest in the world after the Amazon. The abundant rainfall makes it possible for the massive jungle to grow as it covers most of the low-laying central basin of the river that flows towards the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The landscape to the west is designed with plateaus that merge into savannas in the south west with a backdrop of mountainous terraces in the west and dense grasslands that run beyond the Congo River in the north. Not to forget the fascinating glaciated Rwenzori Mountains in the extreme Eastern region.

The country also has an interesting drainage system because of the tropical climate. The climate also favours the Congo River system that dominates the region topographically plus the rain forest it flows through. The river basin spreads out to the entire country, this contributes to the country’s economy and transportation system. The Congo River has its sources in the Albertine Rift Mountains that border the western branch of the East African Rift, the Albertine Rift plays a major role of shaping the geography of Congo. The Northeastern part of the country is very mountainous but due to the rift’s tectonic activity, this area also suffers volcanic activity. This same geologic activity created the famous African great lakes, Congo having three of them laying in the eastern frontier.

The DRC is the most bio-diverse country in Africa. It inhabited several great ape species that include the common chimpanzee, the mountain gorilla, the low land gorilla and also a wide range of other rare and endemic species that include the African forest elephant, white rhino, the okapi and the bonobo. The DRC is the only country in the world that has the bonobo in the wild. These can be found in the five National Parks in the DRC namely; Garumba, Salonga, Okapi Wildlife Reserve and then we have the Virunga National Park and Kahuzi-Biega that are the safe ones to visit at the moment. The number of apes detoriated due to the civil war.

The country is also blessed with mineral wealth in abundance throughout the east and mostly the south of the country. The minerals include cobalt, copper, cadmium, industrial and gem-quality diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, germanium and a lot more.

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