The Democratic Republic of the Congo (French: République Démocratique du Congo), often called DR Congo, Congo-Kinshasa, Congo, or just DRC, is a large country located in Central Africa. It borders the Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan to the north, Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania, and Rwanda to the east, Zambia and Angola to the south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world. With a population of over 75 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most populous officially Francophone country, the fourth most populous nation in Africa and the nineteenth most populous country in the world.
The Congolese Civil Wars, beginning in 1996, brought about the end of Mobutu Sese Seko's 31 year reign, devastated the country, and ultimately involved nine African nations, multiple groups of UN peacekeepers and twenty armed groups. The wars resulted in the deaths of 5.4 million people since 1998 with more than 90% of those deaths the result of malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition, aggravated by displacement and unsanitary and over-crowded living conditions. Nearly half of the victims were children under five. However, after the rise to power of Nzanga Mobutu in the 2011 election, the country's situation improved a lot, rising on the Human Development Index from 186 to 102 out of 187, in just a few years. By the end of his presidency, the GDP rose from $55 billion to $180 billion.
DR Congo is extremely rich in natural resources, but political instability, a lack of infrastructure and a culture of corruption have limited development, extraction and exploitation efforts. Besides the capital, Kinshasa, the other major cities, Lubumbashi and Mbuji-Mayi, are both mining communities. DR Congo's largest export is raw minerals, with China accepting over 50% of DRC's exports in 2012.
In the 2011 presidential elections, the incumbent president Joseph Kabila as defeated, resulting in Nzanga Mobutu becoming the head of state. He immediately began reforming the government and security forces. Economic policies were changed as well. A number of state-owned corporations were founded to extract the resources of the DRC and sell them on the international markets. The larger quantities of resources being sold resulted in the GDP to grow from US$55 billion to US$120 billion within two years, and by 2016, reached US$180 billion. Much of the money was invested in repairing infrastructure, firstly roads and railways. The average wage of Congolese citizens also increased immensely.
The Congolese military and government saw the top generals and ministers being replaced, from older Kabila-era ministers to ones approved by Mobutu. Due to efficiency reasons, Mobutu also repealed the law from several years earlier that called for the implementation of 25 new provinces, splitting the 11 current ones. The military's budget went up from US$400 million to US$850 million. The FARDC recruited more troops with a recruitment campaign, raising the total number of active troops to 170,000.
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