Worldwide Travel Information (area) World Countries > Africa > Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the CongoThe "Democratic Republic of the Congo", commonly referred to as "DR Congo", "Congo-Kinshasa or the "DRC", is a country located in central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world. With a population of over 71 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the nineteenth most populous nation in the world, the fourth most populous nation in Africa, as well as the most populous officially Francophone country.
It borders the Central African Republic and South Sudan to the north; Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi in the east; Zambia and Angola to the south; the Republic of the Congo, the Angolan exclave of Cabinda, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west; and is separated from Tanzania by Lake Tanganyika in the east. The country has access to the ocean through a 40km stretch of Atlantic coastline at Muanda and the roughly 9km wide mouth of the Congo River which opens into the Gulf of Guinea.
The Second Congo War, beginning in 1998 devastated the country and is sometimes referred to as the "African world war" because it involved nine African nations and some twenty armed groups. Despite the signing of peace accords in 2003 fighting continues in the east of the country. In eastern Congo, the prevalence of rape and other sexual violence is described as the worst in the world.
The war is the world's deadliest conflict since World War II, killing 5.4 million people since 1998 The vast majority died from conditions of malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo was formerly, in chronological order, the "Congo Free State", "Belgian Congo", "Congo-Léopoldville", Congo-Kinshasa and "Zaire ("Zaïre" in French). These former names are sometimes referred to as unofficial names, with the exception of Mobutu's discredited Zaire Though it is located in the Central African UN subregion, the nation is also economically and regionally affiliated with Southern Africa as a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).