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Congo:
Geography

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Background
Definition
Upon independence in 1960, the former French region of Middle Congo became the Republic of the Congo. A quarter century of experimentation with Marxism was abandoned in 1990 and a democratically elected government took office in 1992. A brief civil war in 1997 restored former Marxist President Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO, and ushered in a period of ethnic and political unrest. Southern-based rebel groups agreed to a final peace accord in March 2003, but the calm is tenuous and refugees continue to present a humanitarian crisis. The Republic of Congo was once one of Africa's largest petroleum producers, but with declining production it will need new offshore oil finds to sustain its oil earnings over the long term.
Location
Definition
Western Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and Gabon
Geographic coordinates
Definition
1 00 S, 15 00 E
Map references
Definition
Africa
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 342,000 sq km
land: 341,500 sq km
water: 500 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly smaller than Montana
Land boundaries
Definition
total: 5,504 km
border countries: Angola 201 km, Cameroon 523 km, Central African Republic 467 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 2,410 km, Gabon 1,903 km
Coastline
Definition
169 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 200 nm
Climate
Definition
tropical; rainy season (March to June); dry season (June to October); persistent high temperatures and humidity; particularly enervating climate astride the Equator
Terrain
Definition
coastal plain, southern basin, central plateau, northern basin
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Berongou 903 m
Natural resources
Definition
petroleum, timber, potash, lead, zinc, uranium, copper, phosphates, gold, magnesium, natural gas, hydropower
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 1.45%
permanent crops: 0.15%
other: 98.4% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
20 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
832 cu km (1987)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 0.03 cu km/yr (59%/29%/12%)
per capita: 8 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
Definition
seasonal flooding
Environment - current issues
Definition
air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from the dumping of raw sewage; tap water is not potable; deforestation
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note
Definition
about 70% of the population lives in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, or along the railroad between them


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