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Economics of Congo
Congo (formerly Zaire) is the largest and most diverse of the Central African nations. In size it approximates the entire U.S. east of the Mississippi River. Congo's terrain consists of rainforests, savannas, dense grasslands, and mountains. Located near the equator, its climate is hot and humid in the Congo River basin, but cooler and drier in the highlands to the south and east.

Congo's economy was one of the most developed and diversified in sub-Saharan Africa upon independence in 1960, but it suffered a decline under Mobutu Sese Seko's 32-year rule. Agriculture, which employs approximately 70% of the population, is important to the economy, although mining generates more revenues. Agriculture, industry, and mining contribute 32%, 30%, and 19%, resp., to the GDP. Congo's per capita GNP is only about $220 and reflects large population growth and corrupt government policies.

Congo, like Rwanda and Uganda, experienced a period of European domination. Under Belgian rule, the country was named the Belgian Congo. After independence in 1960, the country was renamed the Republic of Congo. Political and military unrest followed. In 1965, Mobutu Sese Seko came to power in a coup, and later, in 1971, he renamed the country Zaire. Despite 32 years of political stability under Mobutu's rule, the country suffered economically due to his corruption.

In October 1996, rebel Congolese forces, with the help of troops from neighboring countries, began a campaign against Mobutu's government. Within seven months, on May 29, 1996, a new government was established in this country. The new president, Laurent Kabila, renamed the country The Democratic Republic of Congo with the promise to rebuild its economy. Although Mobutu and his supporters fled the country, Congolese military forces, including Rwandan Tutsi, continue to slaughter Hutu refugees along the Congo-Rwanda border.

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