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At a glance: Congo


Click for a detailed map (PDF)

This map does not reflect a position by UNICEF on the legal status of any country or territory or the delimitation of any frontiers.


Economically, the Republic of Congo is making strides. In 2007, its national debt decreased by 80 per cent and its status rose to that of a lower middle-income country. Despite important economic growth, stemming largely from rising oil prices, poverty and lack of access to social services is rife.

Sixty-five per cent of Congo’s 3.5 million population is urban 50 percent of the population is under the age of 18.  The Pool region, most affected by war which displaced millions of people and ravaged the economy in the late 1990’s, remains a fragile area prone to emergencies.

Issues facing children in Congo

  • Except for primary education, most of the Millennium Development Goals will not be met if current trends continue.
  • Fifty-four per cent of children live in poverty.
  • The mortality rate for children under five stands at approximately 13 per cent.
  • Twenty-six per cent of children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition.
  • Malaria, respiratory infections, diarrhoea and neonatal complications kill more than 45,000 children per year.
  • HIV/AIDS is the number-one cause of death among adults and children aged 5 to 14, and 100,000 children are currently affected or orphaned by AIDS.
  • Though 95 per cent of children attend school, one-third will not complete primary school.
  • Thousands of children are orphans and face alienation and exploitation as street children. Twenty per cent of newborns are not registered at birth.

Activities and results for children

  • Since 2005, the percentage of children sleeping under an insecticide-treated mosquito net has increased from 7 per cent to 93 percent, saving 7,000 lives as a result.
  • Immunization coverage increased from 50 per cent in 2004 to 89 per cent in 2007, with the government owning more of the funding responsibility.
  • The Congolese Government launched a policy of free access to public school in January 2008.
  • Some 25,000 children received the basic educational package, which entails construction or rehabilitation of classrooms, furniture, a teaching kit, a recreation kit, latrines and safe drinking water.
  • Through UNICEF’s support to government and local organizations, almost 100 street children have been reintegrated into society.
  • UNICEF-supported birth registration programs registered more than 17,000 children.
  • With the support of UNICEF, 6,527 children affected by HIV/AIDS gained access to care. Four thousand adolescents throughout Congo received peer education from 30 UNICEF-partnered non-governmental organizations.
  • Almost 29,000 pregnant women were tested for HIV and received prevention counselling.
  • With funding from the Government of Japan and the US Fund for UNICEF, and in cooperation with the Congolese Government and the national railroad company, UNICEF distributed 300,000 insecticide-treated bed nets on a historic two-day train trip through Congo.



Basic Indicators

Under-5 mortality rank


Under-5 mortality rate (U5MR), 1990


Under-5 mortality rate (U5MR), 2012


U5MR by sex 2012, male


U5MR by sex 2012, female


Infant mortality rate (under 1), 1990


Infant mortality rate (under 1), 2012


Neonatal mortality rate 2012


Total population (thousands) 2012


Annual no. of births (thousands) 2012


Annual no. of under-5 deaths (thousands) 2012


GNI per capita (US$) 2012


Life expectancy at birth (years) 2012


Total adult literacy rate (%) 2008-2012*

Primary school net enrolment ratio (%) 2008-2011*


Definitions and data sources [popup]

Source: The State of the World's Children

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