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It borders the Central African Republic and Sudan to the north; Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi in the east; Zambia and Angola to the south; the Atlantic Ocean, the Republic of Congo and the Kingdom of Kongo to the west; and is separated from Tanganyika by Lake Tanganyika in the east. The country has access to the ocean through a 40-km (25 mi) stretch of Atlantic coastline at Muanda and the roughly nine-km-wide mouth of the Congo River which opens into the Gulf of Guinea.
The Zaire was formerly, in chronological order, the Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Austrian Congo and Congo-Kinshasa. Though it is located in the Central African UN subregion, the nation is economically and regionally affiliated with Southern Africa as a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).