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The DRC is the economic engine of the African Union in the same way that Germany was the engine of the EU and Brazil to Latin america. Less than a century ago, it was one of the most impoverished, most corrups, and least stable nations in the world. Times have changed however and today it currently holds the 4th largest GDP.
Pre 21st Century:
From 1885 to 1908, the area was ruled by Belgian king Leopold. He enslaved the entire population which mined the country's resources on his behalf. It didn't belong to belguim, it belonged to king leopold.
In 1908, Leopold was done with the colony and handed it over to the state of Belguim.
In 1960, the country gained independence and became a parliamentary republic. In 1964, the country was given its current name to distinguish it from its northwestern neighbor. This democratic, but unstable government was not to last as only 5 years after independence, a military coup saw Mobutu being the leader of a dictatorship which would last until 1998 when the 1st congo war saw him overthrown.
In the early years of the Mobutu regime, changes were made to the constitution which allowed him to stay in power. In 1971, the flag was edited and the name was changed to Zaire. This coup was backed by the US, thanks to Mobutu's opposition to communism. Under Mobutu, the capital's name was changed from Leopoldville to Kinshasa and opposition was cracked down upon.
In 1994, the rwandan genocide led to many Hutus fleeing to Zaire. This didn't sit well with the rwandan government which was ruled by the tutsis. So their army plowed through the country in 1998 and toppled Mobutu with help from Burundi, Uganda, and Angola. A year after the 1st congo war ended, a 2nd one was started by ethnic tensions. Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda were at it again and tried to do the same thing but this time, congo had better international support: Sudan, LRA (hindered uganda), Angola, Chad, and Nambia. The war ended with a stalemate and the country was left in shambles.
The 2nd congo war was ongoing during the turn of the new millenia.
After the 2nd congo war ended, the DRC became a multi-party state in which Kabilla was the 1st president. After his assasination in 2001, his son Joseph kabilla took over. He was actually elected in 2006 and won a 2nd term in 2011. He often ignored the impoverished population of the country which did make him unpopular. In 2015, Kabila decided to conduct a census which he knew would delay the election (the constitution forbade him from running a 3rd term), allowing him to stay in power past the date. This led to protests in Kinshasa as well as other major cities which led to 36 deaths. In January 23, the senate amended the law to allow the 2016 election and the protests stopped. In November 2016, many candidates were running for president. Next month, Joseph Kabilla stepped down and Étienne Tshisekedi. This election marked a turning point in the country's history; although Kabilla tried to stay in power, he had no choice but to step down.
Under Tshisekedi, the country began to turn around. Since he had strong support in the Kivu region which was previously a turbulent region, ethnic tensions calmed down in the east. Thanks to increased stability, mining in the congo increased. Over the decades, the DRC became more and more developed and mining increased.
In later decades, the deforestation of the congo rainforest became a big concern. The deforestation was hastened by the growing population and increased development.
Economy and Infrastructure
Mining accounts for the majority of the country's GDP. The country holds 80% of the world's cobalt, 70% of the world's coltan, and nearly a third of the world's diamonds; the first 2 are key components in the world's electronics. Since much of the mining is done by robotics, this creates a high demand for engineers
The country still has agriculture though most of the country's food is imported from other AU countries such as Zimbabwe and South Sudan. The congo rainforest has been largely deforested and as a consequence, many species which live in the rainforest are now endangered.
A quarter of the country's population lives in Kinshasa where many tech companies have based themselves. As a result, Kinshasa has a very boisterous skyline with 5 skyscrapers over a killometer tall and the tallest being almost 2 killometers tall.
Cars are still an effective method of transport to get around major cities in the DRC. This has led to Kinshasa having major traffic jams despite a shrinking in the size of cars and their autonomy which has allowed them to drive much closer. Therefore, Kinshasa has subway systems, which has eased the congestion. Vactrains connect each of the country's major cities with the rest of africa.