Every year people from all over the world come to Canada in search of new opportunities. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of Congolese who have immigrated to Canada. Some come to work or study; others come as refugees.

 You may be a volunteer with the HOST program, where you will have the opportunity to meet people from the Democratic Republic of Congo. You may meet newcomers from Congo at your workplace, school or place of worship. If you have some understanding of their background, you can help Congolese adjust to life in Canada. This cultural profile provides a brief description of some aspects of Congolese culture.

There are more than 250 ethnic groups in Congo, each with its own language, dialect and customs. Although this cultural profile provides insight into some customs, it does not cover all facets of life. The culture described may not apply in equal measure to all newcomers from Congo.
  Summary Fact Sheet
Official Name Democratic Republic of Congo
Capital Kinshasa
Type of Government Republic
Population 50 million
Area 2.3 million sq. km
Major Ethnic Groups Kongo, Luba, Lunda, Mongo, Azande, about 250 other ethnic groups
Languages French, Lingala, Swahili, Tshiluba, Kikongo
Religions Traditional beliefs, Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Kimbanguism, Islam
Unit of Currency Congolese franc 
National Flag Light blue with a large yellow five-pointed star in the centre and a vertical arrangement of six small, yellow, five-pointed stars along the hoist side
Date of Independence June 30, 1960
  Did you know?
Two countries are named after the River Congo. The Democratic Republic of Congo is sometimes called Congo (Kinshasa) to distinguish it from Congo (Brazzaville) or the Republic of Congo.

  Did you know?
Kinshasa, the capital city, was called Leopoldville in 1881 by Anglo-American explorer Henry Morton Stanley and renamed in 1966 after one of the African villages that originally occupied the site. The name comes from the Kongo word kinsasa, meaning "why are things happening this way." 

  Did you know?
Congo, which means "central point," is named for the Congo River. This is the second longest river in Africa, after the Nile, and the fifth longest in the world. It carries the largest potential supply of hydroelectric power in the world. It is 4,677 km long and ranges in width from 0.8 to 16 km. The Congo River drains the Central African equatorial basin, an area of more than 4.1 million sq. km.