Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire, is located in Central Africa, with a short Atlantic coastline (37 km). It is third largest country in Africa by area after Sudan and Algeria, and the 12 largest in the world. With a population of nearly 71 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the eighteenth most populous nation in the world, and the fourth populous in Africa, as well as the most populous French-speaking country.

In order to distinguish it from the neighboring Republic of the Congo to the west, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is often referred to as DR Congo, DROC, DRC or RDC (French abbreviation), or is called Congo-Kinshasa after its capitol. It also borders the Central African Republic and Sudan to the north, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi to the east; Zambia and Angola to the south; the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and is separated from Tanzania by lake Tanganyika to the east.

The Second Congo War, beginning in 1998, devastated the country, involved seven foreign armies and is sometimes referred to as the "African World War." Despite the signing of peace accords in 2003, fighting continues int he east of the country. (We will be in the West part of the country)

Although citizens of the DRC are among the poorest in the world, having the second lowest nominal Gross National Product per capita, the DRC is widely considered to be the richest country in the world regarding natural resources; with untapped deposits of raw minerals estimated to be worth in excess of US$ 24 trillion.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is growing in the DCR. Currently, there are approximately 30,000 members with organized branches, wards, and stakes.