CONGOLESE Facts & Figures
Size: 905,355 square miles
Currency: Congolese Franc
Weather / Climate:
The DRC lies on the Equator, with one-third of the country to the north and two-thirds to the south. The climate is hot and humid in the river basin and cool and dry in the southern highlands, with a cold, alpine climate in the Ruwenzori Range. There is a South of the Equator, the rainy season lasts from October to May and north of the Equator, from April to November. Along the Equator, rainfall is fairly regular throughout the year. During the wet season, thunderstorms often are violent but seldom last more than a few hours. The average rainfall for the entire country is about 1,070 mm (42 in).
Taken from wikipedia
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a multilingual country where an estimated total of 242 languages are spoken (Ethnologue.com lists 214 living languages). The official language, inherited from the colonial period, is French. Four indigenous languages have the status of national language: Kikongo, Lingala, Swahili and Tshiluba.
When the country was a Belgian colony, it had already instituted teaching and use of the four national languages in primary schools, making it one of the few African nations to have had literacy in local languages during the European colonial period. During the colonial period both Dutch and French were the official languages but French was by far the most important.
French is the official language of the country since its colonial period under Belgian rule. Therefore, the variety of French used in the DRC has many similarities with Belgian French. The colonial language has been kept as the official language since the time of independence because it is widely spoken around the educated groups in the country, as it belongs to none of the indigenous ethnic groups and eases communication between them as well as with the rest of the Francophonie. According to the OIF, 6,080,000 or 10% of the population were proficient French speakers in 2005 whereas another 18,240,000 or 30,0% were partially French speaking. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is currently the most populous French-speaking country.
The Republic of the Congo's sparse population is concentrated in the southwestern portion of the country, leaving the vast areas of tropical jungle in the north virtually uninhabited. Thus, Congo is one of the most urbanized countries in Africa, with 85% of its total population living in a few urban areas, namely in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, or one of the small cities or villages lining the 332-mile railway which connects the two cities. In rural areas, industrial and commercial activity has declined rapidly in recent years, leaving rural economies dependent on the government for support and subsistence. Before the 1997 war, about 15,000 Europeans and other non-Africans lived in Congo, most of whom were French. Presently, only about 9,500 remain. Pygmies make up between 5 to 10 percent of Congo's population.
Note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to STD's; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2011 est.)
0-14 years: 46.4% (male 864,407/female 853,728)
15-64 years: 50.7% (male 930,390/female 945,545)
65 years and over: 2.9% (male 44,430/female 63,814) (2006 est.)
Population growth rate
2.835% (2011 est.)
Adult prevalence rate: 3.4% (2009 est.)
People living with HIV/AIDS: 77,000 (2009 est.)
Deaths: 5,100 (2009 est.)
Major infectious diseases
Degree of risk: very high
Food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne disease: malaria (2005)
Less than 2% of the land is cultivated, and most of this is used for subsistence farming. Congo's farmland is the source of a wide variety of crops. These include maize, rice, cassava (manioc), sweet potatoes, yam, taro, plantain, tomatoes, pumpkin and varieties of peas and nuts. These foods are eaten throughout the country, but there are also regional dishes. The most important crops for export are coffee and palm oil. Wild plants,fruits, mushrooms, honey and other foods such as bushmeat and fish are also gathered and hunted and used in dishes. People often sell these crops at markets, or by the roadside. Cattle breeding and the development of large-scale agricultural businesses has been hindered by the recent war and the poor quality of the road system.
Congolese meals often consist of a starchy ingredient, along with vegetables and meat in the form of a stew. The starch can come in the form of a paste or mash made of cassava and/or corn flour, called fufu or ugali. When eaten, the fufu is rolled into golf ball-sized balls and dipped into the spicy stew—often an indentation is made with the thumb in order to bring up a thimbleful of sauce. A type of fermented bread, kwanga, made from cassava, is commercially produced throughout the country. Lituma is a popular plantain dish made from mashed plantains which are formed into balls and baked. Sweet potatoes are prepared in a similar way, and mixed with roasted peanuts in some parts of the country. Rice is often mixed with beans. To accompany these starchy ingredients, green vegetables such as cassava leaves, tshitekutaku (a spinach-like plant) and okra are often added. Mushrooms, especially prized amongst the Luba people, are often seen as a substitute for meat in times of shortage. Though actual vegetarianism is unknown, most meals are eaten without meat due to its high price.
Fish are plentiful along the River Congo, its tributaries, and various lakes; and are baked, boiled or fried for immediate consumption; or smoked or salted when preserved. Markets often sell ready-to-eat peppered fish baked in banana leaves. Goat is the most widely consumed meat.Mwambeis a common way of cooking chicken with peanut sauce. Edible insects such as grasshoppers and caterpillars are eaten; they tend to have a nutty flavour.
Sauces to mix with the ingredients above can be made with tomatoes, onions, and the local aromatic herbs. Vegetable oil, together with salt, hot red chile pepper and sweet green pepper are used to impart extra flavour. These spices are less frequently used in the far south.
However, unlike 1980s advert claimed, Um Bongo, a tropical mixed fruit drink, has never been available in Democratic Republic of the Congo or any of its previous names.
Kinshasa's nganda restaurants, with a greater mix of ethnicities, are ethnic restaurants serving food from specific parts of the country, as well as Western imports such as bread and beer. Often owned by unmarried women, the nganda occupy a middle ground between bars and restaurants. Three typical types of nganda restaurants are:
- Riverside nganda serve baked fish served with cooked plantains: recipes from up river.
- Kongo nganda serve fish dishes with a vegetable sauce, together with kwanga mentioned above. These dishes originate downriver from Kinshasa.
- Kasainganda serve goat meat with rice and green vegetables. They also use rabbit as the grand dessert at a special occasion.
Ngandarestaurants are often geared not only to specific regions, but also different classes—from migrant menial workers and miners, to professionals and government officials.
List of Congolese foods
- Mwamba, a sauce or a dish prepared with a sauce usually made from the pericarp (not the seeds) of palm nuts, the fruit of the African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) tree, in western Middle Africa.
- Chikwanga, made from cassava, cooked and stored in banana leaves, darker in some parts of the country, nearly white in other parts.
- Fufu, sticky dough-like dish made of cassava flour. This is a staple dish much like rice or potatoes. Various recipes exist, such as Loso na Madesu beans and rice.
- Sombe or Mpondu, boiled, mashed and cooked cassava leaves
- Ndakala, small dried fish
- Pili pili, very hot pepper, served with nearly everything, even occasionally dried and sprinkled on fruit.
Taken from wikipedia
Places to go in CONGO KINSHASA
Doing business in CONGO KINSHASA
Although citizens of the DRC are among the poorest in the world, having the second lowest nominal GDP per capita, the Democratic Republic of Congo is widely considered to be the richest country in the world regarding natural resources; its untapped deposits of raw minerals are estimated to be worth in excess of US$ 24 trillion.
The economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a nation endowed with resources of vast potential wealth, has declined drastically since the mid-1980s. At the time of its independence in 1960, DRC was the second most industrialized country in Africa after South Africa, it boasted a thriving mining sector and its agriculture sector was relatively productive. The two recent conflicts (the First and Second Congo Wars), which began in 1996, have dramatically reduced national output and government revenue, have increased external debt, and have resulted in deaths of more than five million people from war, and associated famine and disease. Malnutrition affects approximately two thirds of the country's population.
Foreign businesses have curtailed operations due to uncertainty about the outcome of the conflict, lack of infrastructure, and the difficult operating environment. The war has intensified the impact of such basic problems as an uncertain legal framework, corruption, inflation, and lack of openness in government economic policy and financial operations.
Conditions improved in late 2002 with the withdrawal of a large portion of the invading foreign troops. A number of International Monetary Fund and World Bank missions have met with the government to help it develop a coherent economic plan, and President Joseph Kabila has begun implementing reforms. Much economic activity lies outside the GDP data. A United Nations Human Development Index report shows human development to be one of the worst in decades.
The economy of the second largest country in Africa relies heavily on mining. However, the smaller-scale economic activity occurs in the informal sector and is not reflected in GDP data. The largest mines in the Congo are located in the Shaba province, in the South. The Congo is the world's largest producer of cobalt ore, and a major producer of copper and industrial diamonds, the latter coming from the Kasai province in the West. The Congo has 70% of the world’s coltan, and more than 30% of the world’s diamond reserves., mostly in the form of small, industrial diamonds. The coltan is a major source of tantalum, which is used in the fabrication of electronic components in computers and mobile phones. In 2002, tin was discovered in the east of the country, but, to date, mining has been on a small scale. Smuggling of the conflict minerals, coltan and cassiterite (ores of tantalum and tin, respectively), has helped fuel the war in the Eastern Congo. Katanga Mining Limited, a Swiss-owned company, owns the Luilu Metallurgical Plant, which has a capacity of 175,000 tonnes of copper and 8,000 tonnes of cobalt per year, making it the largest cobalt refinery in the world. After a major rehabilitation program, the company restarted copper production in December 2007 and cobalt production in May 2008. The Democratic Republic of Congo also possesses 50 percent of Africa’s forests and a river system that could provide hydro-electric power to the entire continent, according to a U.N. report on the country’s strategic significance and its potential role as an economic power in central Africa. It has one of the twenty last ranks among the countries on the Corruption Perception Index.
In 2007, The World Bank decided to grant the Democratic Republic of Congo up to $1.3 billion in assistance funds over the next three years.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is in the process of becoming a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA).
Taken from wikipedia
CONGO KINSHASA: useful links