Republic of the Congo Country Facts

By | June 27, 2024
Republic of Congo
Capital city Brazzaville
Surface 342,000 km²
Population 5,126,000
Road network length 3,111 km
Length of highway network 0 km
First highway N/A
Motorway name N/A
Traffic drives Right
License plate code RCB

The Republic of the Congo (French: République du Congo), is a country in Central Africa. The country is approximately 9 times the size of the Netherlands and has more than 5 million inhabitants. The capital is Brazzaville.

Geography

The Republic of the Congo lies for a small part on the Atlantic Ocean and borders on Gabon in the west, Cameroon and the Central African Republic in the north. To the east is the Democratic Republic of Congo and to the south Angola (Exclave Cabinda). The country takes its name from the mighty Congo River, which also largely forms the border with the DRC. The capital Brazzaville is located on this river, opposite Kinshasa. The country consists largely of impenetrable jungles, and is largely very sparsely populated. The north of Congo is flat and consists of swamps and jungles. The center and west are hilly to slightly mountainous, Mont Nabeba is the highest point with 1,020 meters.

The country has a tropical climate with a wet and dry season. The average maximum temperature in the capital Brazzaville varies from 27 to 32 °C. There is about 1400 mm of precipitation per year, with a fairly long wet season from October to May and in between a dry season in which almost no precipitation falls.

Demographics

The Republic of the Congo is much less populated than the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 1950 the country had only 800,000 inhabitants, which grew to 3.2 million in 2000 and more than 5 million today. About a quarter of the inhabitants live in the capital Brazzaville, which has 1.4 million inhabitants. The second city is Pointe-Noire on the coast, which has more than 700,000 inhabitants. Other places are smaller than 100,000 inhabitants. The Republic of Congo is one of the most urbanized countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, most inhabitants live in the southwest, the north is virtually unpopulated and consists of impenetrable jungle.

The country has a diverse population, it is estimated that more than 60 languages ​​are spoken, divided into three major groups. The Congo makes up about half of the population. French is the official language of the Republic of Congo. Lingala is considered the lingua franca.

Economy

The Republic of Congo’s economy is largely made up of food-growing agriculture, but the country also has a large oil sector, being the fourth largest oil-producing country in the region. The oil has been of increasing importance since the 1980s and gives the government some opportunity to spend money on projects. The country also potentially has many raw materials such as minerals, but these are hardly exploited. The Republic of Congo is one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

History

Bantu tribes lived in the area until Portuguese explorer Diogo Cão reached the mouth of the Congo River in 1484. The area south of the Congo River became the personal property of the Belgian king, and later a Belgian colony, while the area north of the river became a French colony from the late 19th century. Brazzaville became the capital of a series of colonies in Central Africa called French Equatorial Africa (Afrique équatoriale française). After World War I, the French built a railway from Brazzaville to the coast at Pointe-Noire. In 1958, the colony of Afrique équatoriale française was split and the Republic of Congo was created, which gained independence from France in 1960.

In the 1960s, Congo adopted a socialist economy and strengthened ties with the Soviet Union, China, North Korea and North Vietnam. The political situation was unstable, several coups followed until Denis Sassou Nguesso came to power in 1979. He established an increasingly repressive regime. In 1992 he was succeeded by the democratically elected Pascal Lissouba. However, in the next elections in 1997, a civil war erupted in which Sassou returned to power.

Road Network

The road network of the Republic of Congo is very limited, with actually three main routes, which are mostly paved. In 2020, the Republic of Congo had 3,111 kilometers of asphalted road. The main road from the port city of Pointe-Noire to Brazzaville is the main transport link. There is a branch from this towards Libreville in Gabon, which is still under development. There is also a road from Brazzaville to the remote north. This road has recently been paved and continues as a paved road as far as the Owando region. This is also the only route in the very wide region. There is also a paved road that branches off to the border with Cameroon. There is no connection between Brazzaville and Kinshasa, both cities are separated by the Congo River. However, a 4 kilometer long rail/road bridge is planned. There are no highways in the Republic of Congo. In Brazzaville only the main roads are paved, side streets are almost always unpaved and full of holes.

Route Nationales in the Republic of Congo
N1 • N2 • N3 • N4 • N5 • N6

History

Before 2000, the Republic of Congo had virtually no paved roads. Transport was usually by rail from Brazzaville to Pointe-Noire. Brazzaville was also a transfer point for goods to and from the Central African Republic, northern Democratic Republic of the Congo and Chad. In the 1960s, attempts were made to develop a Trans-Equatorial Route from N’Djamena to Pointe-Noire, in order to make the countries less dependent on slow river transport. From this plan, the N2 in particular was developed from Brazzaville to the north.

Practically all roads outside Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire were dirt roads before 2000. The first focus was on the asphalting of the N2 from Brazzaville to the north of the country. By 2013, much of this had been paved, with support from China. In the period 2008-2014, the N1 from Brazzaville to Pointe-Noire was also constructed as an asphalt road. In the period 2015-2018, the N3 to Gabon has been asphalted. On February 5, 2016, a cable-stayed bridge in Brazzaville, the ‘Pont 15 août 1960’, opened. The ‘Route de la Corniche’ was also built along the Congo River in Brazzaville, a road with 2×2 lanes and mostly roundabouts, but also two grade separations, making this the first 2×2, grade separated road in the Republic of Congo.

In the north of Congo, a 312 kilometer east-west route has been asphalted that branches off from the N2 to the border with Cameroon. The Ketta – Sembé section was completed on 11 February 2016 and the Sembé – Ntam section as far as the border with Cameroon was completed on 6 March 2020. Since 2021, Brazzaville has been connected to Yaoundé in Cameroon by paved roads.

Toll roads

To improve the road network and keep it in good condition, important roads have been built as toll roads. The national toll road operator is La Congolaise des Routes SA (LCR). LCR is owned by CSCEC (70%), Egis (15%) and the Congolese government (15%). LCR has a concession for 30 years.

Road numbering

The road network consists of Route Nationales (N) and Route Provinciales (P). Both types are by no means always paved. There is hardly any network, there are only a few main routes. Therefore, there is not really a numbering system, but N roads run radially from Brazzaville or are branches of those routes. P-roads have even numbers for east-west routes and ascend northward, and odd numbers form north-south routes that ascend eastward.

Routes

  • N1 Brazzaville – Pointe Noire: 550 km
  • N2 Brazzaville – Quesso: 710 km
  • N3 Loubomo – Ngongo (gr. Gabon): 230 km
  • N4 Pointe-Noire – Nzassi (gr. Angola): 30 km
  • N5 Pointe-Noire – Madingo-Kayes: 50 km
  • N6 N1 – N5: 154 km

Signage

Signage is virtually non-existent.

 

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