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Democratic Republic of Congo (Formerly Zaire)


    • Location:
      Central Africa, northeast of Angola

    • Map references:
      Africa

    • Area:

        total area:
        2,345,410 sq km

        land area:
        2,267,600 sq km

        comparative area:
        slightly more than one-quarter the size of US

    • Land boundaries:
      total 10,271 km, Angola 2,511 km, Burundi 233 km, Central African Republic 1,577 km, Congo 2,410 km, Rwanda 217 km, Sudan 628 km, Uganda 765 km, Zambia 1,930 km

    • Coastline:
      37 km

    • Maritime claims:

        exclusive economic zone:
        boundaries with neighbors

        territorial sea:
        12 nm

    • International disputes:
      Tanzania-Zaire-Zambia tripoint in Lake Tanganyika may no longer be indefinite since it is reported that the indefinite section of the Zaire-Zambia boundary has been settled; long section with Congo along the Congo River is indefinite (no division of the river or its islands has been made)

    • Climate:
      tropical; hot and humid in equatorial river basin; cooler and drier in southern highlands; cooler and wetter in eastern highlands; north of Equator - wet season April to October, dry season December to February; south of Equator - wet season November to March, dry season April to October

    • Terrain:
      vast central basin is a low-lying plateau; mountains in east

    • Natural resources:
      cobalt, copper, cadmium, petroleum, industrial and gem diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, germanium, uranium, radium, bauxite, iron ore, coal, hydropower potential

    • Land use:

        arable land:
        3%

        permanent crops:
        0%

        meadows and pastures:
        4%

        forest and woodland:
        78%

        other:
        15%

    • Irrigated land:
      100 sq km (1989 est.)

    • Environment:

        current issues:
        poaching threatens wildlife populations; water pollution; deforestation; 1.2 million Rwandan refugees are responsible for significant deforestation, soil erosion, and wildlife poaching in eastern Zaire

        natural hazards:
        periodic droughts in south; volcanic activity

        international agreements:
        party to - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83; signed, but not ratified - Desertification, Environmental Modification

    • Note:
      straddles Equator; very narrow strip of land that controls the lower Congo River and is only outlet to South Atlantic Ocean; dense tropical rain forest in central river basin and eastern highlands






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