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Zaire Zaire:Geography
Location: Central Africa, northeast of Angola
Map references: Africa
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.)
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 Zaire:People
Population: 44,060,636 (July 1995 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 48% (female 10,522,368; male 10,527,451)
15-64 years: 50% (female 11,211,353; male 10,630,118)
65 years and over: 2% (female 647,307; male 522,039) (July 1995 est.)
Population growth rate: 3.18% (1995 est.)
Birth rate: 48.33 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)
Death rate: 16.57 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)
Net migration rate: NA migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)
note: in 1994, more than one million refugees fled into Zaire to
escape the fighting between the Hutus and the Tutsis in Rwanda and
Burundi; a small number of these are returning to their homes in 1995
despite fear of the ongoing violence; additionally, Zaire is host to
105,000 Angolan, more than 250,000 Burundian and 100,000 Sudanese
refugees; repatriation of Angolan refugees was suspended in May 1994
because of the recurrence of fighting in Angola; if present peace
accords hold, repatriation of Angolans may recommence
Infant mortality rate: 108.7 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 47.54 years
male: 45.68 years
female: 49.46 years (1995 est.)
Total fertility rate: 6.7 children born/woman (1995 est.)
noun: Zairian(s)
adjective: Zairian
Ethnic divisions: over 200 African ethnic groups, the majority are
Bantu; four largest tribes - Mongo, Luba, Kongo (all Bantu), and the
Mangbetu-Azande (Hamitic) make up about 45% of the population
Religions: Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim
10%, other syncretic sects and traditional beliefs 10%
Languages: French, Lingala, Swahili, Kingwana, Kikongo, Tshiluba
Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1990 est.)
total population: 72%
male: 84%
female: 61%
Labor force: 15 million (25% of the labor force comprises wage
by occupation: agriculture 75%, industry 13%, services 12% (1985) Zaire:Government
conventional long form: Republic of Zaire
conventional short form: Zaire
local long form: Republique du Zaire
local short form: Zaire
former: Belgian Congo Congo/Leopoldville Congo/Kinshasa
Digraph: CG
Type: republic with a strong presidential system
Capital: Kinshasa
Administrative divisions: 10 regions (regions, singular - region) and
1 town* (ville); Bandundu, Bas-Zaire, Equateur, Haut-Zaire,
Kasai-Occidental, Kasai-Oriental, Kinshasa*, Maniema, Nord-Kivu,
Shaba, Sud-Kivu
Independence: 30 June 1960 (from Belgium)
National holiday: Anniversary of the Regime (Second Republic), 24
November (1965)
Constitution: 24 June 1967, amended August 1974, revised 15 February
1978; amended April 1990; new transitional constitution promulgated in
April 1994
Legal system: based on Belgian civil law system and tribal law; has
not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Marshal MOBUTU Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu wa Za
Banga (since 24 November 1965) election last held 29 July 1984 (next
to be held by 9 July 1995); results - President MOBUTU was reelected
without opposition
head of government: Prime Minister Leon KENGO wa Dondo (since 14 June
cabinet: National Executive Council; appointed by mutual agreement of
the president and the prime minister
Legislative branch: unicameral
parliament: a single body consisting of the High Council of the
Republic and the Parliament of the Transition with membership equally
divided between presidential supporters and opponents
Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Cour Supreme)
Political parties and leaders: sole legal party until January 1991 -
Popular Movement of the Revolution (MPR); other parties include Union
for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), Etienne TSHISEKEDI wa
Mulumba; Democratic Social Christian Party (PDSC); Union of
Federalists and Independent Republicans (UFERI); Unified Lumumbast
Party (PALU), Antoine GIZENGA; Union of Independent Democrats (UDI),
Leon KENGO wa Dondo
Member of: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, CCC, CEEAC, CEPGL, ECA, FAO, G-19, G-24,
Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador TATANENE Manata
chancery: 1800 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 234-7690, 7691
US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: (vacant); Charge d'Affaires John M. YATES
embassy: 310 Avenue des Aviateurs, Kinshasa
mailing address: Unit 31550, Kinshasha; APO AE 09828
telephone: [243] (12) 21532, 21628
FAX: [243] (12) 21534 ext. 2308, 21535 ext. 2308; (88) 43805, 43467
Flag: light green with a yellow disk in the center bearing a black arm
holding a red flaming torch; the flames of the torch are blowing away
from the hoist side; uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia Economy
Overview: Zaire's economy has continued to disintegrate although Prime
Minister KENGO has had some success in slowing the rate of economic
decline. While meaningful economic figures are difficult to come by,
Zaire's hyperinflation, chronic large government deficits, and
plunging mineral production have made the country one of the world's
poorest. Most formal transactions are conducted in hard currency as
indigenous bank notes have lost almost all value, and a barter economy
now flourishes in all but the largest cities. Most individuals and
families hang on grimly through subsistence farming and petty trade.
The government has not been able to meet its financial obligations to
the International Monetary Fund or put in place the financial measures
advocated by the IMF. Although short-term prospects for improvement
are dim, improved political stability would boost Zaire's long-term
potential to effectively exploit its vast wealth of mineral and
agricultural resources.
National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $18.8 billion (1994
National product real growth rate: 4% (1994 est.)
National product per capita: $440 (1994 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 40% per month (1993 est.)
Unemployment rate: NA%
revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA
Exports: $362 million (f.o.b., 1993 est.)
commodities: copper, coffee, diamonds, cobalt, crude oil
partners: US, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, UK, Japan, South Africa
Imports: $356 million (f.o.b., 1993 est.)
commodities: consumer goods, foodstuffs, mining and other machinery,
transport equipment, fuels
partners: South Africa, US, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK
External debt: $9.2 billion (May 1992 est.)
Industrial production: growth rate -20% (1993); accounts for 16% of
capacity: 2,830,000 kW
production: 6.2 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 133 kWh (1993)
Industries: mining, mineral processing, consumer products (including
textiles, footwear, cigarettes, processed foods and beverages),
cement, diamonds
Agriculture: cash crops - coffee, palm oil, rubber, quinine; food
crops - cassava, bananas, root crops, corn
Illicit drugs: illicit producer of cannabis, mostly for domestic
Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-89), $1.1 billion;
Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments
(1970-89), $6.9 billion; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $35 million;
Communist countries (1970-89), $263 million
note: except for humanitarian aid to private organizations, no US
assistance has been given to Zaire since 1992
Currency: 1 zaire (Z) = 100 makuta
Exchange rates: new zaires (Z) per US$1 - 3,275.71 (December 1994),
1,194.12 (1994), 2.51 (1993); zaire (Z) per US$1 - 645,549 (1992),
15,587 (1991), 719 (1990)
note: on 22 October 1993 the new zaire, equal to 3,000,000 old zaires,
was introduced
Fiscal year: calendar year Zaire:Transportation
total: 5,138 km; note - severely reduced trackage in use because of
civil strife
narrow gauge: 3,987 km 1.067-m gauge (858 km electrified); 125 km
1.000-m gauge; 1,026 km 0.600-m gauge
total: 146,500 km
paved: 2,800 km
unpaved: gravel, improved earth 46,200 km; unimproved earth 97,500 km
Inland waterways: 15,000 km including the Congo, its tributaries, and
unconnected lakes
Pipelines: petroleum products 390 km
Ports: Banana, Boma, Bukavu, Bumba, Goma, Kalemie, Kindu, Kinshasa,
Kisangani, Matadi, Mbandaka
Merchant marine: none
total: 270
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 4
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 15
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 2
with paved runways under 914 m: 97
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 22
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 127 Zaire:Communications
Telephone system: NA telephones
local: NA
intercity: NA barely adequate wire and microwave service in and
between urban areas; 14 domestic earth stations
international: 1 INTELSAT (Atlantic Ocean) earth station
broadcast stations: AM 10, FM 4, shortwave 0
radios: NA
broadcast stations: 18
televisions: NA Zaire:Defense Forces
Branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, National Gendarmerie, paramilitary
Civil Guard, Special Presidential Division
Manpower availability: males age 15-49 9,479,245; males fit for
military service 4,828,367 (1995 est.)
Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $46 million, 1.5% of
GDP (1990)
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