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Congo, Republic of the

The Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) is a developing nation in central Africa.  The official language is French.  The largest cities are the capital, Brazzaville, located on the Congo River, and Pointe Noire on the coast.  Civil conflict in 1997 and again in 1998-99 damaged parts of the capital and large areas in the south of the country.  The last rebel group signed a cease-fire accord with the government in March 2003.  Facilities for tourism are very limited.  Read the Department of State Background Notes on the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville) for additional information.

Congo, Republic of the

   
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 COUNTRY OVERVIEW
Country Name: Congo, Republic of the
Continent: Africa
Capital City: Brazzaville
Boundary Countries: Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon
Recommended Hospitals in Capital:
Main Cities: Pointe-Noire, Loubomo Kayes, Djambala, Oyo, Owando, Ouesso, Impfondo, Mossendjo, Madingo-Kayes
Country Size: 342.000 sq km
Population: 4,012.809 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS

 

COUNTRY GENERAL INFORMATION
Language:

French (official), Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages), many local languages and dialects (of which Kikongo is the most widespread)

Currency: Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF)
Predominant Religions:

Christian 50%, animist 48%, Muslim 2%

National Holidays: Independence Day, 15 August (1960)
Economic Status:
The economy is a mixture of subsistence agriculture, an industrial sector based largely on oil, and support services, and a government characterized by budget problems and overstaffing. Oil has supplanted forestry as the mainstay of the economy, providing a major share of government revenues and exports. In the early 1980s, rapidly rising oil revenues enabled the government to finance large-scale development projects with GDP growth averaging 5% annually, one of the highest rates in Africa. The government has mortgaged a substantial portion of its oil earnings through oil-backed loans that have contributed to a growing debt burden and chronic revenue shortfalls. Economic reform efforts have been undertaken with the support of international organizations, notably the World Bank and the IMF. However, the reform program came to a halt in June 1997 when civil war erupted. Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO, who returned to power when the war ended in October 1997, publicly expressed interest in moving forward on economic reforms and privatization and in renewing cooperation with international financial institutions. Economic progress was badly hurt by slumping oil prices and the resumption of armed conflict in December 1998, which worsened the republic's budget deficit. The current administration presides over an uneasy internal peace and faces difficult economic challenges of stimulating recovery and reducing poverty. Recovery of oil prices has boosted the economy's GDP and near-term prospects. In March 2006, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) treatment for Congo.
Security:

Congolese Armed Forces (Forces Armees Congolaises, FAC): Army, Navy, Congolese Air Force (Armee de l'Air Congolaise), Gendarmerie, Special Presidential Security Guard (GSSP)

US Presence:

Americans living or traveling in the Republic of the Congo are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within the Republic of the Congo.   Americans without Internet access may register in person at the U.S. Embassy in Brazzaville .  By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. 

The U.S. Embassy is located on Boulevard Maya-Maya (the main road to the airport) across the street from the Blanche Gomez Maternity Hospital.  The Embassy's Consular Section can be reached at [011-242] 612-2046 between 7:30 AM and 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday.  The Embassy can also be reached via email at BrazzavilleACS@state.gov.  For after-hours emergencies, contact the Embassy Duty Officer at [011-242] 444-0013.

Document Requirements:

A passport, visa, and evidence of yellow fever vaccination are required for entry.  Additional information on entry requirements may be obtained from the Embassy of the Republic of the Congo, 4891 Colorado Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C.  20011, telephone (202) 726-5500, or from the Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Congo to the United Nations, 14 E. 65th St., New York, NY, 10021, telephone (212) 744-7840.  Overseas, inquiries should be made at the nearest Congolese embassy or consulate.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website.  For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information Sheet.

Major Airports:

Airports:  24;  Airports with paved runways:  6

Brazzaville - Maya Maya Airport (BZV/FCBB)
Brazzaville Airport, Congo (People's Republic), BP 218, Brazzaville, BRAZZAVILLE CONGO
Tel: +242-820-996

Pointe - Noire Aerodrome (PNR/FCPP)
Pointe-Noire Airport, Congo (People's Rep.), BP 1188, Pointe-Noire, BRAZZAVILLE CONGO
Tel: +242-941-025

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

Although the Republic of the Congo is still recovering from the Civil War, there have been no serious episodes of unrest or violence since the March 2003 peace accord.  Continued security awareness, however, remains a key consideration for all visitors.

In the lead-up to the July 2009 presidential elections, U.S. citizens should take particular care to avoid political rallies and street demonstrations.

Travel in the Pool region south of Brazzaville should be avoided.  The Embassy continues to receive reports of roadblocks and armed robberies from travelers to this region.  The passenger train connecting Brazzaville and Point Noire passes through this region and train travelers have also been robbed.  For this reason the Embassy discourages travel by road or rail between Brazzaville and Pointe Noire. 

Visitors should also pay close attention to events in the Democratic Republic of Congo as unrest in Kinshasa can also affect Brazzaville.  In 2007, stray small arms fire originating in Kinshasa landed in Brazzaville.  For the most up to date security and safety information on the Democratic Republic of Congo, please refer to the Department of State's Travel Warning and Country Specific Information Sheet for the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR total: 79.78 deaths/ 1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:  TOTAL  54.15 years (male 52.9/ female 55.43)

Immunization Indicators:

Required:  YELLOW FEVER for all travelers over 1 year of age (recommended for all travelers over 9 months of age
Recommended:  Hepatitis A & B, Typhoid, Rabies, Polio
Boosters: MMR, DPT, etc.

Drugs to Prevent Malaria (antimalarial drugs)
If you will be visiting a malaria risk area in the Congo, you will need to take one of the following antimalarial drugs: atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine (primaquine in special circumstances and only after G6PD testing).
Note: Chloroquine is NOT an effective antimalarial drug in Congo, Republic of the and should not be taken to prevent malaria in this region.
Malaria risk area in the Congo: All

Infectious Disease Concerns:
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria and African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness)
animal contact disease: rabies
water contact disease: schistosomiasis 

Many countries in this region have high incidence rates of tuberculosis and high HIV prevalence rates.

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

Medical facilities are extremely limited. Some medicines are in short supply, particularly in rural areas.  Travelers should carry their own supply of properly labeled medications.

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 3
Referrals: 6
View Network Providers
Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:

Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, and onchocerciasis (river blindness) are other diseases carried by insects that also occur in Central Africa. African trypanosomiasis (African sleeping sickness) has increased in Africa (it is epidemic in Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Sudan; and highly endemic in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mozambique, Uganda, and Tanzania; low levels are found in most of the other countries), and an increase in travelers has been noted since 2000.  Most had exposures in Tanzania and Kenya, reflecting common tourist routes.  Protecting yourself against insect bites will help to prevent these diseases.

Plague occurs sporadically or in outbreaks.  Outbreaks have occurred since 2000 in Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, and Tanzania.  Ituri Distric (Oriental Province) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo reports about 1,000 caes per year and was the site of an outbreak in 2006.

Schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection, can be contracted in fresh water in this region. Do not swim in fresh water (except in well-chlorinated swimming pools) in these countries. (For more information, please see Swimming and Recreational Water Safety.)

Polio outbreaks were reported in several previously polio-free countries in Central, Eastern, and Western Africa beginning in 2003.  Polio is still endemic in Nigeria.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) has been found in poultry populations in several countries in Africa. Avoid all direct contact with birds, including domestic poultry (such as chickens and ducks) and wild birds, and avoid places such as poultry farms and bird markets where live birds are raised or kept.  For a current list of countries reporting outbreaks of H5N1 among poultry and/or wild birds, view updates from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and for total numbers of confirmed human cases of H5N1 virus by country see the World Health Organization (WHO) Avian Influenza website.

Other risks to travelers to Central, East, and West African countries include typhoid (a large outbreak occurred in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2004-2005) and paratyphoid fever, amebiasis, and brucellosis.

Communications Info:

Country Calling Code:  +242
Internet Country Code:  .cg

 



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Seven Corners is one of the industry's most experienced travel health insurance providers. The company serves leisure, student, business, government and missionary/volunteer travelers. It offers an extensive selection of international medical and travel insurance policies to U.S. citizens traveling overseas, or foreign nationals visiting the United States. Seven Corners has thousands of policy holders and a worldwide network of over 30,000 agents. The company created and maintains the industry's most comprehensive network of international health care providers that includes thousands of doctors, pharmacies and hospitals around the globe. Seven Corners is a member of the United States Travel Insurance Association; is GSA certified and is currently pursuing a SAS 70 Type II compliant designation. In addition to travel medical insurance, Seven Corners also offers health care administration to the government sector. The company is privately held and headquartered just north of Indianapolis in Carmel, IN.