Country Listing

Zaire Table of Contents



Roads: Network of approximately 145,000 kilometers, but only 2,500 kilometers paved. Vast interior virtually devoid of roads. Entire network in serious disrepair in early 1990s.

Railroads: 5,138 kilometers in three discontinuous lines: one linking Kinshasa and Matadi, another in northeastern Zaire, and another in southeastern Zaire to export minerals. National Route (Voie Nationale) combines rail and river transport network between copper-mining region of Shaba and principal port of Matadi. Whole rail system in desperate need of repair in early 1990s.

Inland Waterways: Traditionally important, but limited in early 1990s because barges old and in short supply and marking of navigable channels neglected. Congo River most significant waterway for passengers and freight between Kinshasa and Kisangani. In late 1993, riverboats between Kinshasa and Kisangani said to have ceased operating because of lack of fuel and spare parts.

Ports: Ports limited because Zaire has tiny Atlantic coastline of about forty kilometers. Matadi on lower Congo River principal port, but not accessible by large vessels, also Atlantic port at Boma and inland ports at Kinshasa and at Ilebo on Kasai River.

Air Transport: Principal airport at Kinshasa badly damaged by looting in late 1991, subsequently used by few foreign airlines. Travelers could fly to Brazzaville in Congo and continue to Kinshasa by ferry across Congo River. Domestic air services deteriorated in 1980s and 1990s. National carrier, Air Zaire, virtually bankrupt.

Telecommunications: In 1990 about 32,000 telephones, most in Kinshasa. Adequate international service, domestic service limited. In early 1990s, entire system dysfunctional. Residents of most larger towns could receive radio and television programming. In 1990 estimated 40,000 television sets and 3.7 million radio receivers, but system in poor condition. Only reliable national radio network said to be that run by Roman Catholic Church.

Data as of December 1993