The Republic of Zaire: Most of the Congo Basin lies within the Congo Republic (Kinshasa), formerly a colony of Belgium that became independent in June 1960.
The Congo (renamed Zaire in 1971) drains a circular plain-like basin, whose area is about 1,000,000 square miles. A great part of the basin is over 1,500 feet. above sea-level and it is almost entirely surrounded by the edges of higher plateaux.
The main stream and its tributaries, of which the longest are the Ubangi and the Kasai, lie within the equatorial wet belt, and thus the Zaire probably carries more water to the ocean than all other African rivers combined. In higher areas such as the Katanga Highlands, the forests become more open and pass into wooded savannas. The forests contain useful hardwood, including mahogany. Thus, though there are in the Congo Basin 6,000 miles of streams suitable for floating logs, lumbering is not of primary importance. Timber is, however, felled for local use, and a certain amount is exported.
The Republic has much mineral wealth. Gold is obtained from the Kilo-Moto mines in the north-east, and diamonds in the Kasai valley. But the leading mining district is Katanga. which, with its extension into Zambia, is a major copper-producing area.
Its capital is Kinshasa, which was previously known as Leopoldville. Its total area is 2345409 sq. km. Majority of the population is engaged in shifting cultivation. Subsistence farming exists in the sparsely populated tropical rain forest region. Kasai province A of Zaire is very famous for its industrial diamonds throughout the world. Katanga is the mineral rich part of Zaire and on it depends at least sixty per cent economy of the country. There was a time when Shinkolobwe mine of uranium was the largest producer of uranium in the world. One half of cobalt of the world is produced here. Lubumbashi (Previously known as Elizabethville) is the economic centre of the country. Apart from minerals coffee, cotton and rubber, are also exported and these add to the economy of Zaire.