The Republic of the Congo is situated in Central Africa. It is also known as Congo-Brazzaville to distinguish it from its giant eastern neighbour, the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Congo-Kinshasa or the Congo-L??opoldville.
Congo Republic shares it borders with Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola (the exclave of Cabinda). The Republic of Congo was a former French colony.
It won independence from the French rule in 1960 and celebrates National Day on 15 August.
The first president was Fulbert Youlou. But trade union leaders and political parties started a three day uprising causing him to lose power. The military took control and installed a provisional government with Alphonse Massamba-Debat as the head. He was elected president under the 1963 constitution for a five year term. Scientific socialism was the constitutional ideology.
After a quarter century of Left-wing politics, Congo became a multi-party democracy in 1992. But 1990s was marked by civil war and factional politics. After a brief civil war in 1997 it ended in the restoration of former Marxist President Denis Sassou Nguesso to power.
On account of political instability development suffered and poverty continues to be a key challenge in the Congo Republic. Realising this challenge well, the President Denis Sassou Nguesso embarked on two-development plans-‘New Hope’ and ‘Future Path’ to achieve more in just a few years than the country had seem since it became independent.
The World Bank has pointed out that nearly half the population still lives in poverty in Congo, though high levels of extreme poverty have declined significantly over recent years.
The Government is also working hard to implement a five-year plan to fight poverty and unemployment.
The country counts approximately 4-5 million Congolese and stretches over a surface of 342,000 km.
President Denis Sassou Nguessou is inspiring his government to undertake to development in basic infrastructure-roads, airports, electricity, water, river and sea ports and telecommunications. According to the President without these things the human development is not possible.
In 2004 Congo government undertook modernising the municipalities in all the 12 provinces and the programme has acted as a source of national equity, infrastructure facilities, and a dynamic production and poverty reduction incubator. Last year in 2014 the second phase of accelerated municipalisation was kicked off
Congo as a whole is sparsely populated. More than half of its population live in the cities. The most populous city is the capital, Brazzaville, which is positioned in the south-eastern corner of the country and is a major inland port on the Congo River.
Endowed with natural resources such as- petroleum, Timber, Potash, Lead, Zinc, Iron, Uranium, Copper, Phosphates, Gold, Magnesium, Natural gas, Hydropower- the Republic of the Congo (RoC) continues to demonstrate sustained moderate growth, hovering near 4 per cent according various estimates.
According to several multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund Republic of Congo is currently one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa with an annual growth of roughly seven percent.
The economy of the Republic of Congo is predominated by petrol and natural gas. As a result, Oil accounts for around 95 per cent of export earnings and 50 per cent of GDP. Large oil resources and a small population have resulted in a GDP higher than most other sub-Saharan African countries.
The earnings from the non-oil sector is from logging industry. However due to progressive outlook of the President Denis Sassou Nguesso Congo is now branching out the economy and reduce its dependence on oil revenue for socio economic development. As a result growth is also occurring in the telecommunications, banking, mining (potash, iron ore), construction, and agricultural (palm oil, rubber) sectors.
The RoC is a country poised for economic diversification, with some of the largest iron ore and potash deposits in the world, a heavily-forested land mass, a deep-water International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code-certified port, fertile land, and a small but heavily urbanized population.
This will enable RoC to become a transportation hub for the region and promises to become an emerging economy by 2025.
The Republic of Congo is a member of an integrated market of more than 148 million people which comprise the Central African Economic and Monetary Community and the Economic Community of Central African States
Besides being a growing business haven in Central Africa Republic of Congo is an admirable eco-tourism destination for those who admire exotic wildlife and beautiful landscapes. Unlike many hot tourist spots for international tourists Republic of Congo-Brazzaville features a wealth of hidden natural resources and ecotourism attractions. Take for example the southwest of the country, the Cote Sauvage 170 kilometers of unspoilt Atlantic coastline with picture postcard beaches at Loango, Ndjeno and Mvassa.
At the northern end of the coast is the Conkouati-Douli National Park is a UNESCO recognised coastal national park in the Republic of the Congo and is home to leatherback turtles which come to nest on beach. The park is also home to whales, elephant, buffalo, gorillas, leopards, Chimpanzees, bongos, bushpigs, sitatunga and mandrill.
Close to one of the major water catchment area in the world, the Congo rain forests, Brazzaville is with no doubt a hot destination in its own right. The Basilique Sainte Anne of the Congo is one of the most exciting and beautiful churches in the modern world which tourists from far and distant places come to visit. The nicely built Palais du Peuple was built in 1901 and is currently the presidential palace.
As part of the revival of tourism in the central African region, the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) has implemented a program of river tourism on the Congo River.
Realising the significant role of travel and tourism that could contribute to economic growth and combat poverty, the government has undertaken to equip the travel and tourism industry with appropriate regulations and to engage in a programme of capacity development. The programme includes the development of tourist sites and strengthening hotel and leisure facilities, as well as human resources and promoting tourism and recreational activities.
Congo-Brazzaville cannot be missed by anyone who wants to know Africa, wants to find market, or engaged in reconstruction, wildlife or ecotourism.
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