Your guide to being an expatriate in DR Congo

Caffeinate Your DR Congo Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today!

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, commonly referred to as DR Congo, is a country located in Central Africa. It is the second-largest country in Africa, covering over 2 million square kilometers. The country is a federal presidential republic, consisting of 26 provinces. Its capital and largest city is Kinshasa. The DR Congo is blessed with abundance in natural resources, including diamonds, cobalt, and oil, and is home to several national parks that feature unique flora and fauna.

DR Congo

Expat destinations in DR Congo

Demographics of DR Congo:

Ethnic groups

Lega, Kongo, Luba, Mongo, Teke, Tshiluba, Bemba, Twa, Chokwe, Dendo, Hunde, Kissi, Mbunda, Mongo-Bolengi, Ngbaka-Shangho, Ngbandi, Nyali, Pende, Suku, Tetela, Tua, Wongo, Yansa.


Swahili (Kiswahili), French, Lingala, Kongo, Kikongo, Tshiluba

Religion Overview

DR Congo is a secular state that values religious freedom. Christianity is the most widely practiced religion in the country, with over 95% of the population identifying as Christian. Roman Catholicism is the largest Christian denomination, accounting for approximately 70% of the population. Protestantism is also widespread, particularly in urban areas.

Major Religions


DR Congo has a tropical climate in the equatorial region and a subtropical climate in the south. The country is divided into two main seasons, wet and dry. The rainy season lasts from March to May and from October to December. The dry season runs from June to August and from December to February.

Economy Overview

The economy of DR Congo is predominantly based on agriculture, which occupies about 75% of the workforce and contributes 39% to the Gross Domestic Product. Key export crops include coffee, tea, tobacco, cotton, sugar, and palm oil. Mining is also a vital sector of the economy, with the country being rich in resources such as copper, cobalt, diamonds, and oil.

Key Industries

  • Agriculture
  • Mining
  • Timber
  • Hydropower
  • Cement and construction materials
  • Fishing
  • Forestry
  • Tourism
  • Telecommunications

Major Companies

  • Glencore
  • China Molybdenum
  • Katanga Mining
  • DR Congo's National Agency for the Promotion of Investments
  • Globe Metallurgical

Culture and Language Overview

The culture of DR Congo is diverse, informed by its vibrant and complex history. It is characterized by unique music, dance, art, and cuisine. Traditional ceremonies, such as initiation rituals and festivals, are significant parts of Congolese culture. Despite the deep influence of European culture, African traditions remain an integral part of Congolese life.

Cultural Highlights

  • Rumba and Soukous music: These are popular styles of music that originated in the Congo. They are characterized by lively dance moves and energetic rhythms.
  • Painting and Sculpture: There is a thriving art scene in the Congo, with famous artists such as Léonard Tsuro, Kimani Mucii, and Joseph Kizitu producing evocative pieces that speak to the country's unique heritage and modern life.
  • Cuisine: Congolese cuisine combines vivid flavors and aromas. Popular dishes include fufu (mashed starchy vegetables), steamed manioc, and fish in peanut sauce.
  • Textile Arts: Congolese textiles are renowned for their intricate patterns, bold colors, and exquisite style. Likemiics, hand-woven fabrics used in traditional ceremonies, are decorated with symbolic motifs that represent ideas such as fertility, prosperity, and luck.
  • Literature: Congo has a rich literary heritage, with authors such as Honoré Ngimgimbi, V.Y. Mudimbe, and António Lopi fortifying it. Their works offer a fascinating insight into Congolese society, history, and identity.

Geography and Landmarks Overview

The DR Congo is home to stunning landscapes, from dense rainforests to rolling savannahs. Notable geographical features include Lake Kivu, one of Africa's Great Lakes, the Congo River basin, and Virunga National Park, one of the world's oldest national parks and home to endangered mountain gorillas.

Notable Landmarks

  • Virunga National Park
  • Kinshasa, the country's largest city and capital
  • Ikanga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring ancient rock paintings
  • Soptioni National Park
  • Kalahari Desert, which borders South Africa and Botswana
  • Bemba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring diverse flora and fauna
  • Lihamba Lefwe National Park
  • Inga Dam, being constructed on the Congo River
  • Lukaya Township, a bustling urban area known for its vibrant nightlife and delicious seafood
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo National Museum, showcasing the country's unique heritage
  • Kasai Nature Reserve, another UNESCO World Heritage Site with abundant wildlife and diverse plant species

National Holidays

  • New Year's Day (January 1)
  • Liberation Day (January 3)
  • Martyrs' Day (January 17)
  • International Day of Culture of the Resistance (February 4)
  • Carnival (Shrove Tuesday)
  • Palm Sunday
  • Easter Sunday
  • Easter Monday
  • Christianity Day (May 25)
  • World Environment Day (June 5)
  • Children's Day (June 1)
  • Independence Day (June 30)
  • Isihiza mu Bwoko Bwa Rwanda (Remembrance Day for the Victims of Rwanda's 1994 Genocide)
  • Assumption of Virgin Mary (August 15)
  • All Saints' Day
  • All Souls' Day
  • Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8)
  • Christmas Eve
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

Political Stability

The political climate of DR Congo has been volatile in recent years. The country has experienced conflict and instability, particularly in the eastern regions, where armed groups have caused much suffering to civilians. There have been allegations of human rights abuses and corruption at the highest levels of governance. The government has attempted to address these challenges through international partnerships and reform initiatives.

Find out more about expats in Africa

Latest articles for expats living in DR Congo