Originally a Belgian Colony (Belgian Congo), Zaire, in west central Africa, became independent on June 30, 1960. Until Oct. 1971, Zaire was known as the Democratic Republic of Congo or Congo (Kinshasa). In 1971, the name of River Congo was changed to River Zaire.
Economic difficulties plagued Zaire in the 1980s and the situation worsened in the 1990s. President Mobutu announced an end to a 20-year ban on multi-party politics in 1990. In 1991 he agreed that the political oppositon should form a government. During 1994, Zaire was flooded with Hutu refugees (a million) from the ethnic bloodshed in Rwanda.
The year 1997 saw the fall of President Mobutu Sese Seko (in power since 1965), after a 7-month civil war. In May, Mobutu left Kinshasa and the next day rebel leader Laurent Kabila declared himself head of state. Zaire was renamed Democratic Republic of Congo. Laurent Kabila was assassinated in January 2001. His son Joseph Kabila became the new leader. Two rebel leaders were sworn in VPs (July 2003). France sent a UN-backed peace-keeping force to eastern Congo to quell fighting between ethnic militias.
Minerals and Agriculture: The major assets of Congo are her copper mines and the diamond deposits. The country is rich in other minerals like cobalt (60% of the world reserves), cadmium, manganese, zinc and uranium. The forests abound in high-class wood like mahogany, ebony and teak. Principal agricultural products are coffee, palm oil, rubber, sugarcane, maize rice, cassava and plantains. Main manufactures are tobacco, textiles, wood products, metal items, building materials, foodstuffs and beverages.
Also visit: Republic of the Congo
Mission in India
Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo
D-6, Anand Niketan
New Delhi - 110 021
Tel: +91 - 11 - 51660976