The Republic of Congo gained its independence from France on August 15, 1960, with Fulbert Youlou as its first president.
The Republic of Congo has experienced several political and social upheavals since independence, including coups, civil wars, ethnic conflicts and economic crises.
The Republic of Congo has a population of about 6.1 million people, while the Democratic Republic of Congo has a population of about 102.8 million people. The two countries are separated by the Congo River, which is the second longest river in Africa.
Some of the landmarks in the Republic of Congo include:
Basilique St. Anne, a Roman Catholic church built in 1949 with a unique green-tiled roof.
Cathédrale du Sacré-Cœur de Brazzaville, a Gothic-style cathedral built in 1892 and renovated in 1983.
Charles de Gaulle House, a historic site where the French leader stayed during World War II.
Some of the landmarks in the Democratic Republic of Congo include:
The Congo River, a natural monument that resembles a large lake dotted with islands, such as Mbamou Island.
The Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to endangered mountain gorillas, volcanoes, and waterfalls.
The Lola ya Bonobo Sanctuary, a refuge for orphaned bonobos, which are a type of great ape endemic to the Congo Basin.
THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
The official language of both countries is French, which was introduced during the colonial period. However, there are also many other languages spoken by different ethnic groups and regions. The two national languages of the Republic of Congo are Kituba and Lingala, which are both Bantu languages. The four national languages of the Democratic Republic of Congo are Kikongo, Lingala, Swahili, and Tshiluba, which are also Bantu languages except for Swahili, which is a Niger-Congo language.
The culture of both countries is rich and diverse, influenced by various factors such as history, geography, religion, and art. Some of the cultural aspects that you can explore are:
The music and dance styles, such as rumba, soukous, ndombolo, and makossa, which are popular across Africa and beyond.
The traditional clothing and accessories, such as pagne (wax-printed fabric), dashiki (loose-fitting shirt), kufi (hat), and kitenge (head wrap).
The cuisine and beverages, such as fufu (starchy dough), cassava (root vegetable), moambe (palm nut sauce), pondu (cassava leaves), kwanga (fermented cassava bread), ngalakh (peanut-based dessert), palm wine, and beer.
THE ECONOMIC STABILITY
The economic stability of both countries is affected by various factors such as political instability, corruption, poverty, conflict, and natural resources. Some of the economic indicators that you can compare are:
The gross domestic product (GDP), which measures the total value of goods and services produced in a country. According to the World Bank, the GDP of the Republic of Congo was $11.5 billion in 2020, while the GDP of the Democratic Republic of Congo was $43.7 billion in 2020.
The human development index (HDI), which measures the level of social and economic development in a country based on life expectancy, education, and income. According to the United Nations Development Programme, the HDI of the Republic of Congo was 0.606 in 2020, ranking 140th out of 189 countries, while the HDI of the Democratic Republic of Congo was 0.480 in 2020, ranking 175th out of 189 countries.
The corruption perceptions index (CPI), which measures the perceived level of public sector corruption in a country based on expert assessments and surveys. According to Transparency International, the CPI score of the Republic of Congo was 19 out of 100 in 2020, ranking 165th out of 180 countries, while the CPI score of the Democratic Republic of Congo was 18 out of 100 in 2020, ranking 170th out of 180 countries.
The GDP measures the total value of goods and services produced in a country. The GDP of the Republic of Congo was $14.6 billion in 2022, while the GDP of the Democratic Republic of Congo was $69.5 billion in 2023. The GDP per capita, which divides the GDP by the population, was $2,504 for the Republic of Congo and $676 for the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2022.
The currency of both countries is the franc, but they are different types. The Republic of Congo uses the Central African franc (CFA), which is shared by six other countries in Central Africa and is linked to the euro at a fixed exchange rate of 1 euro = 655.957 CFA francs. The Democratic Republic of Congo uses the Congolese franc (CDF), which is not linked to any other currency and has a floating exchange rate. As of today, 1 US dollar = 2,476 CDF.
The food of both countries is diverse and influenced by various factors such as geography, climate, culture, and history. Some of the common ingredients are cassava, plantain, rice, potatoes, palm oil, peanuts, fish, and meat. Some of the popular dishes are:
Fufu, a starchy dough made from cassava or plantain that is eaten with sauces or soups.
Moambe, a palm nut sauce that is cooked with meat, fish, or vegetables and served with rice or fufu.
Saka saka, a dish made from cassava leaves that are boiled and mixed with palm oil, peanuts, and sometimes meat or fish.
Maboke, a dish made from fish that is wrapped in banana leaves and steamed over a fire.
Chikwanga, a fermented cassava bread that is wrapped in banana leaves and baked.
The major cities of both countries are:
For the Republic of Congo: Brazzaville (the capital and largest city), Pointe-Noire (the second largest city and main port), Dolisie (the third largest city and an industrial center), and Owando (the fourth largest city and a cultural hub).
For the Democratic Republic of Congo: Kinshasa (the capital and largest city), Lubumbashi (the second largest city and a mining center), Mbuji-Mayi (the third largest city and a diamond hub), and Kisangani (the fourth largest city and a river port).
MAJOR AIRPORTS, SEA PORTS AND SCHOOLS
The major airports, sea ports and schools of both countries are:
For the Republic of Congo: The main international airport is Maya-Maya Airport in Brazzaville, which connects to several African and European destinations. The main sea port is Pointe-Noire Port, which handles most of the country’s trade. Some of the notable schools are Marien Ngouabi University in Brazzaville, which is the largest public university in the country, University Denis Sassou Nguesso in Kintele, which is a new public university that opened in 2017, and University Aube Nouvelle in Pointe-Noire, which is a private university that offers various courses.
For the Democratic Republic of Congo: The main international airport is N’djili Airport in Kinshasa, which connects to several African and European destinations. The main sea port is Matadi Port, which is located on the Congo River near the Atlantic Ocean. Some of the notable schools are University of Kinshasa, which is the largest public university in the country, University of Lubumbashi, which is the second largest public university in the country, and Catholic University of Congo, which is a private university that offers various courses.