The name Democratic Republic of the Congo is a misnomer: the country has never been truly democratic or a republic. For decades this country in central Africa, which was once known as Zaire, was ruled by a brutal and corrupt dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko. Since the mid-1990s, when Mobutu's government was overthrown, various groups within Congo have been fighting for power. Although a peace agreement was signed in 2003 and a new constitution adopted in 2006, fighting has continued in the eastern part of the country. Overall, the Second Congo War involved nine African nations and caused more than 5.4 million deaths, making it the deadliest conflict since World War II.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the second-largest country in Africa and possesses a wealth of natural resources. However, the government still has no control over large areas of the country, and the years of fighting have devastated the economy. Although the prospects for peace have improved, it will take years for Congo to fully recover from its devastating civil war.
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