Republic Of The Congo

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Republic of the Congo, republic in west central Africa, bounded on the north by Cameroon and the Central African Republic, on the east and south by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC, formerly Zaire), on the southwest by Angola (Cabinda enclave) and the Atlantic Ocean, and on the west by Gabon. Formerly called People s Republic of the Congo, the republic has an area of 342, 000 sq km (132, 000 sq mi). Brazzaville is the capital and largest city.
LAND AND RESOURCES  Along the Atlantic coast is a low, treeless plain, which rises inland to the Mayumbe Mountains, an almost completely forested region with an average elevation of about 550 m (about 1800 ft). In the south central region is the fertile valley of the Niari River. To the north lies the central highlands region, the Plateau Bateke. The plateau is cut by numerous tributaries of the Congo and Ubangi rivers. The Congo Basin occupies the northeastern part of the country. Dense tropical rain forests cover more than half of the country and constitute a major natural resource. The principal commercial species are okoume (a mahogany) and limba (a hardwood). Savanna vegetation is found in the northeast and the higher plateau areas. Wildlife is diverse and abundant, including antelope, giraffes, cheetahs, crocodiles, and numerous birds and snakes.
The climate is tropical, with mostly high heat and humidity. While the Mayumbe Mountains experience a long dry season, parts of the Congo Basin receive more than 2500 mm (more than 100 in) of rainfall annually. Average temperatures in Brazzaville are 26 C (78 F) in January and 23 C (73 F) in July, with an annual rainfall of about 1500 mm (about 60 in). Temperatures along the coast are slightly cooler.
Petroleum, found offshore, is the Congo s principal mineral resource. Other resources include potash, gold, iron ore, lead, and copper.
Agriculture  Cassava, pineapples, plantains, bananas, peanuts, maize, and avocados are the principal subsistence crops raised in the Congo. The main cash crops are sugarcane, palm kernels, cacao, and coffee. The most successful commercial agricultural operations are in the fertile Niari Valley.
Forestry and Mining  Forest products account for a substantial share of the Congo s exports. Petroleum is produced from offshore oil fields, and crude oil typically accounts for about three-quarters of the country s yearly exports. The output of crude petroleum in 1995 was 64 million barrels and is expected to increase as a new offshore field is developed. In addition, natural gas, lead, copper, and gold are mined.
Manufacturing  Industry is oriented mainly toward producing consumer goods. The largest industries process agricultural products (including tobacco) and forest products. Other manufactures include textiles, cement, footwear, and soap. A petroleum refinery began operation at Pointe-Noire in 1976. ...

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