AU Watch

​Republic of the Congo​

Brief Overview

With a population of 5.2 million (2018) over a surface area of 342,000 km2, the Republic of Congo is sparsely populated, with more than half of the population concentrated in its two largest cities, Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire. The rest of the country is one of the least densely populated areas in Africa, with just 12.8 persons per square kilometer.

Largely covered by tropical forests, the Republic of Congo also possesses vast expanses of unused arable land that represent approximately one third of its total area. Moreover, the country ranks among the top 10 of Africa’s oil producers and has substantial mineral resources, the majority of which are yet untapped. 

Political Context

President Denis Sassou-Nguesso, who led the People’s Republic of the Congo from 1979 to 1992, returned to power in 1997. He won the presidential elections in 2002, 2009, and 2016.

In November 2017, a ceasefire agreement was signed between the Congolese Government and representatives of the former rebel leader, Frédéric Bintsamou (known as Pastor Ntoumi), who had reignited a rebellion in the department of Pool following the 2016 presidential elections.

Peace and security have since gradually returned, while the government and the international community strive to consolidate the still-fragile peace in this southern department of the country. A disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) program established under the control of the United Nations is expected to be launched soon.

Economic Overview

  • After the profound economic crisis that plagued the country from mid-2014 following the decline in oil prices, the Congolese economy resumed an upward trajectory in 2018 with real GDP growth projected to reach 1.6% after two years of negative growth.
  • Growth was driven by the increase in oil production and by favorable market conditions, with oil prices holding steady in late 2018 and the resumption of demand from partner emerging countries.
  • Nevertheless, the non-oil sector continues to decline, contracting by 5.5% as a result of the weakening of activity in construction and public works, transport, and telecommunications.
  • Inflation remained contained at 1.2% in 2018 owing to weak domestic demand and a tightening monetary policy. The country’s debt burden has decreased, but remains unsustainable despite the signature of a debt restructuring agreement with China in April 2019. The country will also have to restructure its domestic debt and other commercial debt with oil traders.
  • Economic growth is projected to reach 5.4% in 2019, then continue its trajectory, gaining an average of 1.8% per year for the period 2020-21. This outlook is based on a strong hydrocarbon sector and the upturn in investments from 17.1% of GDP in 2018 to 22.7% of GDP in 2019-21, assuming favorable oil prices and budget surpluses.
  • During the same period, non-oil growth, driven primarily by industry, construction, and agriculture, is expected to average 3%, hinging on restoring the confidence of the private sector and implementing structural reforms aligned with the economic and financial program of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC).

Republic of the Congo
Capital: Brazzaville
Population 5 million

Area Area: 342,000 sq km (132,047 sq miles)

Major languages French, indigenous African languages

Major religions Christianity, indigenous African beliefs

Life expectancy 63 years (men), 66 years (women)

Currency CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine) franc

UN, World Bank

President: Denis Sassou Nguesso

Development Challenges

  • Although the proportion of the population living below the poverty line fell from 51% in 2005 to 41% in 2011, the extreme poverty rate appears to have increased from 2016, especially in rural areas, as a result of the decline in oil prices.
  • The poorest 65% of Congolese citizens live in the six regions in the south of the country. Less than 4.9% of them are covered by the social protection programs.
  • Congo’s human capital index stands at 0.42, which is below the average for middle-income countries. Despite a slight uptick in per capita income, the country has seen little progress in the areas of health and education. Maternal and infant mortality rates remain highwith 5% of children not making it to their fifth birthday. Chronic malnutrition affects 21% of children, and only 30% of primary students have achieved the required proficiency level in mathematics, 40% in French.
  • Moreover, ranked 180 of 190 countries in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 report, which measures business regulation, the Republic of Congo would benefit from improving its governance to attract more private investors.

Important Addresses and Contacts

Physical Contacts of the Presidency

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Physical Contacts of the Prime Minister’s Office

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Physical Contacts of the National Assembly

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Physical Contacts of the Chief Of State and Cabinet Ministers

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Physical Contacts of the Ministry of Interior

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Physical Contacts of the Ministry of Justice

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Physical Contacts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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Physical Contacts of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs

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Physical Contacts of the National Human Rights Commission

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Physical Contacts of the Police

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Physical Contacts of the Military

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Important Information of Key Human Rights Issues in Republic of the Congo


Number Prisons in the Republic of the Congo

Number Prisoners in the Republic of the Congo
Secret Detention Centres:
Police Stations in the Republic of the Congo

Corruption in the Republic of the Congo

 

What are the current and ongoing human rights issues in ​the Republic of the Congo

 

(1) Freedom of the Press

 

(2) Human Rights Defenders Issues

 

(3) Impunity

Membership of African Regional Organisations

 

African Union (AU)

Joined the OAU 

Signed the Constitutive Act of The African Union on: 

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Key Regional Human Rights & Governance InstrumentsSigned and Ratified

 

  1. African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights

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2.Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights

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  1. Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights

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4.Protocol on Amendments to the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights

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  1. Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa

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  1. African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption

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  1. African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance

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  1. Statute of the African Union Commission on International Law (AUCIL)

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  1. OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa

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  1. African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention)

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  1. Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community Relating to Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment

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  1. African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

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  1. Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Older Persons

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  1. Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa

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