The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is located in sub-Saharan central Africa. Its surface area of 2.3 million km2 equals two-thirds of the area of the European Union. It shares borders with Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Angola, Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and South Sudan. DRC has the potential to be one of the richest countries in Africa thanks to 80 million hectares of arable land and over 1,100 minerals and precious metals on its territory (The World Bank 2015).
The country has 40km of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean but is otherwise landlocked. A coastal plain along the Atlantic Ocean rises gradually from the sea to a low mountain range, the Mayombe Massif. Most of the country is composed of the central Congo basin. High plateaus border almost every side of the central basin and rise between 915m and 1600m. The northeast is made up of a vast 155,000 km² plain, which floods annually. The country’s eastern border consists of lakes and mountains (Encyclopaedia Britannica 2015). The country is divided into four major climatic regions: equatorial, tropical and subequatorial, Atlantic, and mountain climate zone. 60% of the country –133 million hectares – is forest (DRC Ministry of Health 03/2010; Encyclopaedia Britannica 2015; Mongabay 04/02/2006).
DRC’s capital is Kinshasa. The country was originally divided into 11 provinces. The 2006 constitution mandated that they would be divided into 26, and this officially took place on 16 July 2015 (The National Law Review 12/06/2015, Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum 2015).