Foreign policy and defense
Based on geographical map from Digopaul, Republic of the Congo is a nation in Central Africa. Its capital city is Brazzaville. France is Congo-Brazzaville’s most important partner abroad, both politically and economically, but since the turn of the millennium, relations with China have become increasingly important.
Half of the aid that Congo-Brazzaville receives comes from France, and France is the only country that has openly supported President Denis Sassou-Nguesso ever since he forcibly took power from the people-elected Pascal Lissouba in 1997. Other western countries were more skeptical at first, but eventually gave the coup maker their silent consent as they felt that the shift in power could end the civil war that erupted that year (see Modern History).
- Countryaah: Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Republic of the Congo for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
Angola has had a key role in Congo-Brazzaville since the country intervened militarily in the civil war on Sassou-Nguesso’s side. The reason for the intervention was that Sassou-Nguesso’s opponents in the war, President Lissouba, had previously supported the Angolan separatist guerrilla Unita. With the peace agreement in Angola in 2002, the country’s strategic need for Congo-Brazzaville decreased. Officially, the Angolan troops were withdrawn the same year, but they participated in the Militia War that took place in the Pool region until 2005. During the civil war in Angola, about 3,000 Angolans fled to Congo-Brazzaville but most have since returned.
Relations with Angola were strained in 2013 when Angolan troops in search of separate rebels in the Angolan Cabinda province crossed a disputed border section and captured about 50 Congolese soldiers. After negotiations, the Angolans released the Congolese and retreated across the border. The two governments agreed the following year to resolve the border conflict with the help of a joint technical commission.
The relationship between Congo-Brazzaville and Congo-Kinshasa is strained, in large part because both have opposition politicians from the other country. Tensions escalated with a suspected coup attempt against Congo-Kinshasa President Joseph Kabila in February 2011. The many refugees from Congo-Kinshasa who are in Congo-Brazzaville have also caused irritation. As Congo-Brazzaville expelled 180,000 of these immigrants, the tension between the two countries increased.
Gabon is closely allied with Congo-Brazzaville. Former Gabonese President Omar Bongo, who passed away in 2009, was married to a daughter of Sassou-Nguesso and mediated during the civil war in Congo-Brazzaville. Now it is Bongo’s son, Sassou-Nguesso’s grandson, who reigns in Gabon.
The exchange with China has grown and China is now an important trading partner and investor. With China, Congo-Brazzaville has signed several agreements on infrastructure expansion (see Finance).
In other words, the military affiliations are divided according to ethnic origin, in other words, they are connected to a certain group of people or more. Both women and men can do volunteer military service for two years.
Defense equipment is old and decaying. In practice, the Air Force does not work. The fleet is made up of a few patrol boats, which usually steer up and down the Congo River.
Virtually all parties had their own militia in the past, but after the civil war of 1997-2000, the government tried to reform the army and integrate the rebels from the former militia groups, which was a condition of the peace agreement in 1999. However, the process has been slow. Many former rebels have chosen to keep their weapons, even though they have stopped fighting.
Congo Brazzaville contributes 800 soldiers to UN peacekeeping force Minusca in neighboring Central African Republic.
FACTS – DEFENSE
Army: 8,000 men (2017)
The air Force: 1 200 men (2017)
The fleet: 800 men (2017)
Military expenditure’s share of GDP: 6.2 percent (2017)
Military spending’s share of the state budget: 17.9 percent (2017)
Investigation against the president continues
The Supreme Court of France provides a clear indication for further investigation into the embezzlement charges against President Sassou-Nguesso (see May 2009).
Pygmy people are discriminated against
The UN’s special reporter for indigenous peoples says that the pygmy people in the country are discriminated against and are appealing to the government to protect their rights.
Vaccination campaign against polio
A nationwide polio vaccination campaign has been launched since over 100 people have died and hundreds have been paralyzed in a polio epidemic.
Congo-Brazzaville celebrates 50 years of independence from France.
Congo-Brazzaville is approved for the debt-cancellation program HIPC, which means that the country’s large external debt is reduced.