Country Listing

Zaire Table of Contents



Size: Second largest country in sub-Saharan Africa; about 2,344,885 square kilometers, roughly size of United States east of Mississippi River.

NOTE--The Country Profile contains updated information as available.

Topography: Major geographic regions include central Congo Basin, uplands north and south of basin, and eastern highlands. Core region is central Congo Basin, large depression with average elevation of about forty-four meters, constituting about one-third of Zaire. North and south of basin lie higher plains and hills covered with mixtures of savanna grasses and woodlands. Southern uplands region also constitutes about one-third of Zaire, with elevations between 500 meters and 1,000 meters. Eastern highlands region highest and most rugged portion, bounded by Great Rift Valley, with some mountains more than 5,000 meters. Eastern border extends through valley and its system of lakes.

Drainage: Most of Zaire served by Congo River system. Congo and its tributaries provide Zaire with Africa's most extensive network of navigable waterways as well as vast hydroelectric potential. Flow of Congo unusually regular because tributaries feed in from both sides of equator.

Climate: Ranges from tropical rain forest in Congo River basin to tropical wet-and-dry in southern uplands to tropical highland in eastern areas above 2,000 meters. In general, temperatures and humidity quite high, but with much variation; many places on both sides of equator have two wet and two dry seasons. Average annual temperature 25°C. Average annual rainfall between 1,000 millimeters and 2,200 millimeters, highest in heart of Congo River basin and highlands west of Bukavu.

Data as of December 1993