Congo, Republic of the (Fr. République du Congo)
- Justin Serge Mongosso
- and Michelle Kisliuk
(Fr. République du Congo)
Country in West Central Africa. Proclaiming its independence from France in 1960, the Republic of the Congo retains relations with the former colonial power and continues an economic partnership. The country is situated in the equatorial zone of Africa bordering the Atlantic Ocean in the south-west, with approximately 170 km of coastline. Its land and river-marked borders are Gabon to the west, Cameroon to the north-west, the Central African Republic to the north-east and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the south-east. There is also a small border with the Cabinda region of Angola to the south-west. The country covers a surface area of 341,821 km². In 2000 the population was estimated to be approximately 2.98 million inhabitants, with close to one million living in the capital, Brazzaville, and about 600,000 living in the port city Pointe Noire. Rural flight has become one of the biggest problems in the country because outside of the cities there is almost no work available for young people. In the sparsely populated rural areas, people live by fishing, hunting and gathering. A small number of people, mostly women, practice agriculture in these areas....