The Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of CongoThe Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in an important country of Africa. It was formerly called Zaire. It is the third largest country in Africa in terms of area.

The Democratic Republic of Congo shares it boundary with Central African Republic and Sudan in the North; Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi in the East ; Zambia and Angola in the South; and Republic of Congo in the West.

The river Congo flows through the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is Africa’s second largest and the world’s seventh largest river. About two third area of the Democratic Republic of Congo lies in the Congo Basin. To the North of the Democratic Republic of Congo, lies the world’s largest desert, the Sahara Desert.

The equator passes through the northern part of the country. So, the Democratic Republic of Congo is located in the equatorial region.

CLIMATE

Since the Democratic Republic of Congo lies in the Equatorial Region, it has an equatorial climate – hot and wet throughout the year. The mornings are pleasant, but at noon the temperature rises steadily. This causes formation of clouds by the afternoon and there is heavy rainfall for a short period. This happens almost everyday throughout the year. This rainfall is known as 4 o’clock rainfall.

The length of day and night is almost equal. There is no demarcation of seasons here.

VEGETATION

Most of the Democratic Republic of Congo is covered with tropical evergreen forests. These forests have very tall and dense trees. Their branches form a thick canopy. Even sunlight cannot reach the ground. So, they remain dark and dim even during the day time. The important trees of these forests are rubber, ebony, mahogany, bomboo and coconut. The southern part of the country is covered with small trees, shrubs and tall grasses. This area is called the Savanna grassland.

ANIMAL LIFE

Several species of animals such as monkeys, chimpanzees, antelopes, deer, lions, giraffes, wolves and wild dogs are found in the Savanna grassland. The river Congo is the home of crocodiles, dolphins, deadly snakes and hippopotamuses.

Okapi, a rare kind of giraffe, and the Congo peacock are found only in the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Insects, such as butterflies and Tse-Tse flies are also found in the forests. The Tse-Tse fly causes a deadly disease called sleeping sickness in human beings. Many kinds of colourful birds such as parrots, pelicans, flamingoes, cuckoos, herons and are also found.

Owing to its large variety of animal species, the Democratic Republic of Congo is sometimes called the ‘Natural Zoo of the world’ or the ‘Gigantic zoo of the world’

NATURAL RESOURCES

The Democratic Republic of Congo is very rich in natural resources. It is the world’s biggest producer of industrial diamond and cobalt. It also has rich deposits of gold, copper and manganese. The Katanga province in the southern part of the country is famous for its copper fields. The Democratic Republic of Congo is very rich in water resources. Many dams have been built on the rivers to produce hydroelectricity. A big hydroelectric project has been constructed at Igna on the river Congo. In fact, the Democratic Republic of Congo ranks first in the world in terms of hydroelectricity generation.

Industries are not well-developed in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The main industries include textiles, cigarettes, beverages, chemicals and food processing.

LIFE STYLE OF THE PEOPLE

The people of the Democratic Republic of Congo lead a tough life

The people of the Democratic Republic of Congo lead a tough life. The country is thickly populated. Most of the people live in rural areas.

Farming and mining are the main occupations of the people. Rice and cassava are the staple food of the people. Cassava is a underground fleshy root. It is dried and powdered to make flour. The Flour is used to make bread. Honey and banana form a regular part of their diet. Rice, maize and millets are the main crops.

Coconuts are also grown in plenty. Yam, a kind of sweet potato, is also produced. Due to the hot and humid climate, people do not wear many clothes. The people are tall and hefty. They have dark complexion and short, curly hair.

In cities and towns, people wear modern dresses. They live in buildings and apartments.

In villages, houses are made up of mud and sticks with thatched roofs. People are mostly tribes. They belong to Bantu tribe.

The pygmies are the original inhabitants of the country. They live in dense forests. They are very short, measuring less than 1.5 meters in height. They use sign language and lead a nomadic life. The pygmies are excellent hunters.

The local language is Bantu and the official language is French. Majority of people in the DRC follow Christianity.

Transport system is very poor because of the dense forests. The river Congo is navigable only partly because of many waterfalls such as the Living-stone Falls, Igna Falls and Stanley Falls. Matadi is the main seaport and Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is an important river port. Bakava is a famous tourist center. It has a beautiful lake. The DRC is now developing fast. Money earned from exports is being used to improve the infrastructure of the country and to provide facilities to the people. As a result, the