DRC Profile

What is now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has changed names a few times over the last half century and, even today, is known to many as Congo Kinshasa to differentiate it from its neighnour, the Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville.) Most of the country lies within the vast hollow of the Congo River basin, a basin covered by tropical rainforest and crisscrossed by rivers. The Democtaric Republic of Congo is surrounded by mountainous terraces in the west, while plateaus merge into savannas in the south and south-west.

Until 1960 it was a Belgian colony known as the Belgian Congo. On gaining independence, political instability ensued followed by a coup in 1965 which installed Joseph-Desire Mobutu as national leader.

Mobutu then changed both his name to Mobutu Sese Seko and that of the country to Zaire, or Republic of Zaire with himself as president. He stayed in power until 1997 when his regime fell to the armies of Rwanda and Uganda with Laurent Kabila then installed as president. This event marked the beginning of what is called the Second Congo War, a war that involved nine African countries and some twenty armed groups.

The basis of the war was that Rwanda and Uganda wanted to control the perceived riches of the Democratic Republic of Congo having installed Kabila as president only to find he wanted their troops out of the country fearing they would in turn oust him and install a Tutsi subservient to Rwanda's President Paul Kagame.

The war itself, which was to outlast Kabila after he was assassinated in 2001, continued for 4 years, 11 months, 2 weeks and 2 days and took the lives of around 5,400,000 people, mostly through disease; the most causalities of any war in Earth's history, save for the Second World War. It was a struggle that still simmers particularly in the east of the territory

Today the country is home to 89.56 million people (2020) and is Africa's second largest country by size and the 11th largest in the world. It is ranked in 179th place out of 191 countries and territories in 2021 in terms of life expectancy, literacy, access to knowledge and living standards of its people.


DRC Profile

DRC Profile

DRC Profile

DRC Profile


Volunteer DRC

Volunteer Work Democratic Republic of Congo

Check out all the latest volunteer work placements and opportunities in the DRC.
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Children's Lives

Children in the Democratic Republic of Congo

About daily life for children in DRC Congo in facts, information, pictures and video.
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Street Children

Street Children Africa: Congo Kinshasa

About street children in DRC together with details of projects and programs supporting them.
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DRC Profile

DRC Profile

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The ongoing simmering conflicts there however continue to damage the country's economy, despite it's natural wealth in terms of resources including copper, cobalt, gold, diamonds, coltan, zinc, tin, and tungsten. In fact, at the time of its independence in 1960, the DRC was the second most industrialized country in Africa, following South Africa however foreign businesses and investors have been unwilling to work in partnership with the government because of its instability.

This situation is slowly changing and foreign investment is beginning to rise with its economy growing by 6.1% in 2022, driven by increased investment and exports in the mining sector. Find out more about the Democratic Republic of Congo in our DRC profile pages above.


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