Democratic Republic of Congo - République démocratique du Congo (CD)

"Congo-Kinshasa" (ex-Zaire)

Repubilika ya Kongo Demokratiki - Jamhuri ya Kidemokrasia ya Kongo
Republiki ya Kɔ́ngɔ Demokratiki - Ditunga dia Kongu wa Mungalaata

1.  Language information / Données sur les langues

1.1  Languages spoken / Langues parlées

a) Official / Officielle(s) :

French (English was proposed in a former constitution, but the current and the constitution to be validated by referendum only specify French as the official language) (Aménagement linguistique)

b) National, indigenous / Nationale(s), indigène(s) :

Kikongo, Lingala, Swahili, Tshiluba? are national languages, as indicated in the constitution (Aménagement linguistique)

Over 200 other languages are listed by Ethnologue at

c). Relevant pages in the Major Languages section of this report / Pages appropriées dans la section de ce rapport sur les Langues principales :

Lingala, Kongo (Kikongo), Swahili (Kiswahili), Luba (Tshiluba), Mongo/Nkundo, Nyoro, Zande

1.2  Language policy / Politique de langue

a) Laws/legislation / Lois/législation :

The site L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde has a page on Dem. Rep. of Congo at

b) Agencies / Agences :

CELTA - Centre de Linguistique Théorique et Appliquée. B.P. 4956, Kinshasa Gombe

Four institutions "involved in or responsible for African Language research" in DRC (UNESCO 1985). Updated information is needed, including location & status of CELTA. [NB- "Université du Zaïre" in the original list has been changed to "Université de Lumumbashi" - are the two entities listed at the university still there?]:

  • Institut de recherche scientifique B.P. 3474 - KINSHASA GOMBE
  • Ecole supérieure du développement KINSHASA
  • Centre de linguistique théorique et appliquée, Université de Lumumbashi, LUMUMBASHI
  • Département des langues et littératures africaines, Université de Lumumbashi, B.P. 1825 - LUMUMBASHI

c) Languages in education/literacy / Langues dans l'éducation/l'alphabétisation :

UNDP (2006) gives a literacy figure (without reference to which language[s]) of: 67.2%

1.3  Writing in national/indigenous languages / Ecriture en langues nationales/indigènes

a) Orthographies / Orthographes :

National languages are written in the Latin alphabet with some additional modified letters (extended characters) and diacritics. A chart showing the extended Latin characters and diacritics used in some Congolese languages is available at:

In 1974 there was a set of rules of orthography recommended by the first seminar of Zairean linguists in Lubumbashi (1974/5/22-26). This standardisation et uniformisation de l'orthographe des langues nationales du Zaïre concerned Kongo, Lingala, Swahili and Luba. (Wikipedia)

A new alphabet called Mandombe has been developed in the Kimbanguist church for Kongo and other languages.

b) Print publications / Editions imprimées :

UNESCO (1985) reported the following periodicals (name, frequency of publication, language). Updated information is needed:

1.4  Other comments / Autre commentaire

2.  ICT situation / Situation des TIC

2.1  Infrastructure / Infrastructure

a) Telephones / Téléphones :

  • Fixed lines:
    • Telephone mainlines: 0 per 1000 people (APC)
    • Telephones - main lines in use: 10,600 (2005) (CIA)
  • Mobile subscriptions:

b) Radio stations / Stations de radio :

Radio broadcast stations: AM 3, FM 11, shortwave 2 (2001) (CIA)

c) Connectivity / Connectivité :

  • International internet bandwidth / Bande passante internationale d'internet :
  • ISPs / FSI :
  • Internet hosts on .cd domain: 1894 (ISC)
  • Geographic coverage / Couverture géographique :

2.2  Computer & internet access / Accès aux ordinateurs et à l'internet

a) Computers & points of access / Ordinateurs et lieux d'accès :

b) Internet / Internet :

  • Dial-up subscribers / Abonnés par ligne téléphonique :
  • Internet users / Utilisateurs de l'internet : 140,600 Internet users as of Sept/06, 0.2% of the population, per ITU (Internet World Stats)

c) Other / Autre :

  • Digital Opportunity Index (DOI): 0.16 (ITU 2006); 0.08, ranked 176 (ITU 2007)
  • ICT Opportunity Index (ICT-OI?):
  • ICT Development Index (IDI):

Four main "ICT challenges" identified by Gjerstad (in GISW 2007) are: "lack of infrastructure, the lack of a broad-based ICT vision for the country, the absence of properly defined institutional roles and responsibilities, and a lack of public funds and human resources."

2.3  ICT policy / Politique de TIC

"Given the DRC's recent history, the country is just beginning to lay the foundations for basic ICT policies and laws. ... The four Congolese institutions responsible for ICTs are the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, the Ministry of Press and Information, the High Authority on Media (HAM), and the ARPTC. ... ICTs are under the mandate of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications." (Gjerstad in GISW 2007)

"A defined national policy for ICT is still non-existent .but a number of initiatives are taken, notably with reference to COMESA, NEPAD, and Law 012/2002, enacted October 16, 2002 about telecommunications. The government expects to begin the setting up of a plan for national information and communications infrastructure (NICI). ... A national policy concerning ICT use in education was launched in 2004 within which two main priorities were identified: the internet network and electronic governance." (WikiEducator)

"Because of the size of the country, the complexity of the administrative setup and the political diversity, the DRC NICI process may take longer than the normal time usually allocated to the NICI process. Twenty data enumerators were trained and the baseline study was undertaken in Kinshasa and all the provinces. Due to political situation, the process was stalled for several months, however with the new Government swearing in around December 2006, it is expected that the NICI process will restart early 2007." (Excerpt from the UNECA/AISI country page for DRC at )

The APC page, "ICT Policy in Dem. Rep. of Congo" has some information and links:

2.4  ICT4D/E & ICT training / TIC pour le développement/éducation, et formation en TIC

WikiEducator has a page on ICTs and education, including table on enabling and constraining factors, at

2.5  Resources / Ressources

3.  Localisation situation / Situation de localisation

3.1  Country web content / Contenu web du pays

3.2  Web content in indigenous languages / Contenu web en langues indigènes

(See also specific language pages.)

3.3  Software localisation / Localisation de logiciel

The Liboke ya Congo project initiated efforts for localisation in Lingala and had plans for other languages.

The NGO Éveil du Congo is continuing the plans of Liboke ya Congo.

Congolese Languages Team

(See also specific language pages.)

3.4  Projects & organisations / Projets et organisations

Éveil du Congo; Congolese Languages Team (see above)

3.5  Localisation policy / Politique de localisation

4.  References / Références

APC, "ICT Policy in Dem. Rep. of Congo," Africa ICT Policy Monitor,

Gjerstad, Lina. "Dem. Rep. of the Congo (DRC)." Global Information Society Watch (GISW) 2007 Report

International Telecommunications Union (ITU). 2004. African Telecommunication Indicators 2004. Geneva: ITU.

______. 2006. World Information Society Report 2006. Geneva: ITU.

______. 2007. World Information Society Report 2007. Geneva: ITU.

Internet Systems Consortium (ISC), "Distribution of Top-Level Domain Names by Host Country, Jan 2007"

Internet World Stats: Africa. 2007.

Leclerc, Jacques. L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde, "Congo-Kinshasa (République démocratique du Congo),"

SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Languages of Democratic Republic of the Congo,"

UNDP. 2006. ''Beyond scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis. Human Development Report 2006.'' New York: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). [Human development index Adult literacy rate (% ages 15 and older) (HDI) ]

UNECA/AISI (2006?) "NICI Country Pages: Democratic Republic of Congo"

UNESCO Regional Office for Education in Africa. 1985. African Community Languages and Their Use in Literacy and Education: A Regional Survey. Dakar: UNESCO.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), "The World Factbook: Congo, Democratic Republic of the"

Vodafone. 2005. "Africa: The Impact of Mobile Phones." The Vodafone Policy Paper Series, Number 3, March 2005.

WikiEducator, "ICT4Africa/Country Report Democratic Republic of Congo,"

Wikipedia, "Communications in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,"

______, "Democratic Republic of the Congo,"

______, "Languages of the Democratic Republic of the Congo,"

______, "République démocratique du Congo,"épublique_démocratique_du_Congo

______, "Standardisation et uniformisation de l'orthographe (Zaïre),"

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