A 2005 estimate raised to 60,085,000 residents the population of this vast state of equatorial Africa, whose territory coincides more or less with the basin of the Congo river, covered by the equatorial forest and the savannah, and bordered to the south by the lands of southern Africa, to the east by the plateau of the Great Lakes, to the north from the countries of the Sudanese belt. The Democratic Republic of Democratic Republic of the Congo borders on nine states, and the borders measure a total of 10,730 km. The agglomeration of the capital Kinshasa, which in 1957 had 370,000 residents, has reached 7 million residents. in 2005. The chronic agricultural crisis and the long periods of civil war are at the origin of the convulsive urbanism that has manifested itself over the last few decades. The annual growth rate of the population (2.8 % in the 2000-2005 period) is high, due to the high birth rate (43.7 ‰). In the ranking drawn up by the United Nations on the basis of the human development index (2003), the Democratic Republic of Democratic Republic of the Congo occupies 167th place out of 177 countries.
It has been estimated that about 4 million Congolese have lost their lives due to poverty or disease or as a result of the war events that have devastated the country since 1996. In addition, fighting between government troops and Congolese rebels flanked by Rwanda and Uganda, according to a 2005 estimate, reduced 1.8 million Congolese to internal refugee status, while 300,000 took refuge in neighboring nations. Natural disasters (recurring droughts in the south, seasonal flooding of the Congo River and eruptions in the east in the Great Rift Valley) also sometimes contribute to making life difficult: an eruption of Nyiragongo volcano in January 2002 devastated the city of Goma, burying it under a blanket of lava and forcing tens of thousands of residents of the region, already ravaged by war, to abandon their homes and seek refuge in neighboring Rwanda.
According to Andyeducation, the economy of the Democratic Republic of Democratic Republic of the Congo – a state that has an enormous potential for raw materials – has gone through, since 1998, a phase of decline characterized by a drastic reduction in the value of national production, an increase in indebtedness with the abroad, flight of foreign investors due to the uncertainty about the outcome of the conflict. A return to greater economic stability began to take shape in 2003-04, after the withdrawal of most of the armed tribal militias from Rwanda and Uganda, even if the pacification process appears to be held back by continuing clashes in the north-eastern regions. while economic growth is slowed down by corruption, illegality and the weakness of the government.
The economic structure remains in some respects similar to that of a colonial country, being still based on the exploitation of mineral resources (copper, cobalt, diamonds, gold and other metals, as well as oil) which contribute to forming 75 % of the value of exports and about 25 % of the gross domestic product. The production and trade of diamonds was liberalized in 2000, suspending the buying and exporting monopoly held by an Israeli company. Exports of diamonds, which represent the first source of income for the state economy, amount to 240 millions of dollars a year, but production is largely smuggled and poached. Another mineral resource of primary importance, whose control and trade are among the main reasons for internal conflict, is coltan, a kind of slightly radioactive black sand formed by colombite and tantalite minerals. About 80 % of world resources of coltan is found in Africa, and the’ 80% of these are in the Congo, in the East Kivu region. Tantalum is extracted from coltan, a rare metal, very hard and resistant to corrosion, which from being an essential ingredient for missile and nuclear production and for the aerospace sector has recently become highly sought after by mobile phone manufacturers. The coltan ‘fever’ in Democratic Republic of the Congo, which seems to have subsided after the discovery of new deposits on other continents, has had disastrous repercussions among other things on the wildlife of the natural parks of the East Kivu region, exterminated to feed the great mass. of improvised miners flocked to the places of extraction. Agriculture contributed to 55 % of GDP in 2005, industry 11% and tertiary activities 34 %, but a large part of economic activity is informal and escapes statistical surveys; transactions based on bartering are still widespread. It is estimated that three quarters of the population do not carry out any regularly paid activity and live on the very scarce fruits of an agricultural activity that barely covers the essential food needs of families or villages. Commercial plantations have a small weight: the main crops are palm oil, grown in the lowlands, and coffee, grown in the eastern highlands, which is the main export product, but which is in the process of contraction (33,000 t in 2004), also due to the fall in prices on the international market.
The road network is severely lacking and in a state of neglect, and moreover made unsafe and expensive by the imposition of illegal tolls. Most of the commercial exchanges take place with European countries and with the Republic of South Africa.