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Ville de Kinshasa
Ville-province (city-province)
Template:Infobox settlement/columns
Nickname(s): Kin la belle
(English: Kin the beautiful)
DRC, highlighting the city-province of Kinshasa
DRC, highlighting the city-province of Kinshasa
DRC, highlighting the city-province of Kinshasa

Coordinates: 4°19′30″S 15°19′20″E / 4.32500°S 15.32222°E / -4.32500; 15.32222Coordinates: 4°19′30″S 15°19′20″E / 4.32500°S 15.32222°E / -4.32500; 15.32222{{#coordinates:4|19|30|S|15|19|20|E|type:city(9046000)_region:CD |primary |name=

Country 23x15px Democratic Republic of the Congo
Province Kinshasa
Founded 1881
Administrative HQ La Gombe
 • Governor André Kimbuta
 • City-province 9,965 km2 (3,848 sq mi)
 • Urban[2] 583 km2 (225 sq mi)
Elevation 240 m (790 ft)
Population (2012)[2]
 • City-province 9,046,000
 • Density 910/km2 (2,400/sq mi)
 • Urban[2] 9,046,000
 • Urban density 16,000/km2 (40,000/sq mi)
 • Language French
Area code(s) 243 + 9
HDI 0.58 Medium (2012)[3]

Kinshasa (/kɪnˈʃɑːzə/ or /-ˈʃɑːsə/; formerly Leopoldville (French: Léopoldville or Dutch About this sound Leopoldstad )) is the capital and the largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is located on the Congo River.

Once a site of fishing villages, Kinshasa is now an urban area with a 2013 population of over 9 million.[2] It faces the capital of the neighbouring Republic of Congo, Brazzaville, which can be seen in the distance across the wide Congo River. The city of Kinshasa is also one of the DRC's 11 provinces. Because the administrative boundaries of the city-province cover a vast area, over 90% of the city-province's land is rural in nature, and the urban area only occupies a small section in the far western end of the city-province.[1]

Kinshasa is the third largest urban area in Africa after Cairo and Lagos.[2] It is also the second largest "francophone" urban area in the world after Paris, French being the language of government, schools, newspapers, public services and high-end commerce in the city, while Lingala is used as a lingua franca in the street.[4] If current demographic trends continue, Kinshasa should surpass Paris in population around 2020.[5] Kinshasa hosted the 14th Francophonie Summit in October 2012.[6]

Residents of Kinshasa are known as Kinois (in French and sometimes in English) or Kinshasans (English).


The city was founded as a trading post by Henry Morton Stanley in 1881. It was named Léopoldville in honor of King Leopold II of Belgium, who controlled the vast territory that is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, not as a colony but as a private property. The post flourished as the first navigable port on the Congo River above Livingstone Falls, a series of rapids over Script error: No such module "convert". below Leopoldville. At first, all goods arriving by sea or being sent by sea had to be carried by porters between Léopoldville and Matadi, the port below the rapids and Script error: No such module "convert". from the coast. The completion of the Matadi-Kinshasa portage railway in 1898 provided an alternative route around the rapids and sparked the rapid development of Léopoldville. In 1914 a pipeline was installed so that crude oil could be transported from Matadi to the upriver steamers in Leopoldville.[7] By 1923, the city was elevated to capital of the Belgian Congo, replacing the town of Boma in the Congo estuary.[7] The town, nicknamed "Léo" or "Leopold", became a commercial centre and grew rapidly during the colonial period. The origin of the HIV virus traces back to 1920s Léopoldville as discovered in 2014.[8]

In 1965, Joseph-Désiré Mobutu seized power in the Congo in his second coup and initiated a policy of "Africanizing" the names of people and places in the country. In 1966, Léopoldville was renamed Kinshasa, for a village named Kinchassa that once stood near the site. The city grew rapidly under Mobutu, drawing people from across the country who came in search of their fortunes or to escape ethnic strife elsewhere. This inevitably brought a change to the city's ethnic and linguistic composition. Although it is situated in territory that traditionally belongs to the Bateke and Bahumbu people, the lingua franca among African languages in Kinshasa today is Lingala, while the administrative and main written language is French (see further Languages of the Democratic Republic of the Congo). In 1974 Kinshasa hosted The Rumble in the Jungle boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, in which Ali defeated Foreman to regain the World Heavyweight title.

In the 1990s a rebel uprising began, which by 1997 had brought down the regime of Mobutu Sese Seko.[7] Kinshasa suffered greatly due to Mobutu's excesses, mass corruption, nepotism and the civil war that led to his downfall. Nevertheless, it is still a major cultural and intellectual center for Central Africa, with a flourishing community of musicians and artists. It is also the country's major industrial center, processing many of the natural products brought from the interior. The city has recently had to fend off rioting soldiers who were protesting the government's failure to pay them.


Kinshasa is both a city (ville in French) and a province (province in French), one of the 11 provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Its status is thus similar to Paris which is both a city and one of the 101 departments of France.

Administrative divisions

Main article: Communes of Kinshasa

The ville-province of Kinshasa is divided into four districts which are further divided into 24 communes (municipalities).[1]

Bandalungwa Barumbu Kisenso (Kinsenso) Kimbanseke
Bumbu Gombe (La Gombe) Lemba Maluku
Kalamu Kinshasa Limete Masina
Kasa-Vubu Kintambo Matete Ndjili (N'Djili)
Makala Lingwala Ngaba Nsele (N'Sele)
Ngiri-Ngiri Mont Ngafula
Selembao Ngaliema
The 24 communes of Kinshasa
Flag of Kinshasa
Abbreviations : Kal. (Kalamu), Kin. (Kinshasa), K.-V. (Kasa-Vubu), Ling. (Lingwala), Ng.-Ng. (Ngiri-Ngiri)


Kinshasa is a city of sharp contrasts, with affluent residential and commercial areas and three universities alongside sprawling slums. It is located along the south bank of the Congo River, directly opposite the city of Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of the Congo. This is the only place in the world where two national capital cities face one another, and are in sight of each other on opposite banks of a river.

The Congo river is the second longest river in Africa after the Nile, and has the continent's greatest discharge. As a waterway it provides a means of transport for much of the Congo basin, being navigable for large river barges between Kinshasa and Kisangani, and many of its tributaries are also navigable. The river is an important source of hydroelectric power, and downstream of Kinshasa it has the potential to generate power equivalent to the usage of roughly half of Africa's population.[9]


Under the Köppen climate classification, Kinshasa has a Tropical wet and dry climate. Its lengthy rainy season spans from October through May, with a relatively short dry season, between June and September. Kinshasa lies south of the equator, so its dry season begins around its "winter" solstice, which is in June. This is in contrast to African cities further north featuring this climate where the dry season typically begins around January. Kinshasa's dry season is slightly cooler than its wet season, though temperatures remain relatively constant throughout the year.

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This page is a soft redirect. Climate data for Kinshasa
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year

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This page is a soft redirect.Source: BBC Weather[10]

Buildings and institutions

File:Palais du peuple de la RDC.jpg
The People's Palace, seat of the Congolese parliament
File:Kinshasa, tour de l'échangeur de Limete - 20090705.jpg
Tower of Limete and monument to Lumumba

Major areas of the city include the Cité de l'OUA, home to the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, quartier Matonge, known regionally for its nightlife, L'ONATRA, the impressive building of the Ministry of Transport and the residential area of Gombe.

Notable features of the city include the Gecamines Commercial Building (formerly SOZACOM) and Hotel Memling skyscrapers, the central market, the Kinshasa Museum and the Kinshasa Fine Arts Academy. The face of Kinshasa is changing as buildings are being built on the Boulvard du 30 Juin: Crown Tower (on Batetela) and Congofutur Tower. The Boulevard du 30 Juin (Boulevard of the 30 June) links the main areas of the central district of the city. Kinshasa is home to the country's national stadium, the Stade des Martyrs (Stadium of the Martyrs).


Marsavco Sarl Biggest FMCG Manufacturing Company located in center of town (Gombe) in Kinshasa.

There are many other industries such as Trust Merchant Bank located in the heart of the city as well as court reporting. Food processing is a major industry and construction and other service industries also play a significant role in the economy.[11]

Social issues


In 2004, Kinshasa was rated as one of Africa's most dangerous cities in terms of crime. Since the Second Congo War, the city has been striving to recover from disorder, with many gangs hailing from Kinshasa's slums. Muggings, robberies, rape, kidnapping and gang violence are relatively common.[12] Kinshasa's homicide rate is estimated to be as high as 112 homicides per 100,000.[13]

Street children

Street children,[14][15] often orphaned, are subject to abuse by the police and military. Of the estimated 20,000 children – up to the age of eighteen – living on Kinshasa's streets, almost a quarter are beggars, some are street vendors and about a third have some kind of employment.[16] Some are there as fallout from the times of war; others are accused of witchcraft[17] and have become outcasts.[18][19][20]

Police regularly round up street children, to an uncertain fate. In 2001, a street child was killed by a policeman, allegedly while fleeing after stealing flour.[21]


Kinshasa is home to several higher-level education institutes, covering a wide range of specialities, from civil engineering to nursing and journalism. The city is also home to three large universities and an arts school:


There are twenty hospitals in Kinshasa, plus various medical centres and polyclinics.[23] In 1997, Dikembe Mutombo built a 300-bed hospital near his home town of Kinshasa.

Since 1991, Monkole Hospital is operating as a non-profit health institution collaborating with the Health Department as district hospital in Kinshasa. Directed by Pr Léon Tshilolo, paediatrician and haematologist, Monkole Hospital opened a 150-bed building in 2012 with improved clinical services as laboratory, diagnostic radiology, intensive care, neonatal unit, family medicine, emergencies unit and a larger surgical area.


File:ACP (Agence Congolaise de Presse).jpg
Office of the Agence Congolaise de Presse (ACP)

Kinshasa is home to a large number of media outlets, including multiple radio and television stations that broadcast to nearly the entire country, including state-run Radio-Television Nationale Congolaise (RTNC) and privately run Digital Congo and Raga TV. The private channel RTGA is also based in Kinshasa.

Several national radio stations, including La Voix du Congo, which is operated by RTNC, MONUC-backed Radio Okapi and Raga FM are based in Kinshasa, as well as numerous local stations. The BBC is also available in Kinshasa on 92.6 FM.[24]

The state-controlled Agence Congolaise de Presse news agency is based in Kinshasa, as well as several daily and weekly newspapers and news websites, including L'Avenir (daily), La Conscience L'Observateur (daily), Le Phare, Le Potentiel, and Le Soft.[25]

Most of the media uses French and Lingala to a large extent; very few use the other national languages.


The official language of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, of which Kinshasa is the capital, is French (See: Kinshasa French vocabulary). Kinshasa is the second largest officially Francophone city in the world[26][27] although Lingala is widely used as a spoken language. French is the language of street signs, posters, newspapers, government documents, schools; it dominates plays, television, and the press, and it is used in vertical relationships among people of uneven rank; people of equal rank, however, speak the Congolese languages (Kikongo, Lingala, Tshiluba or Swahili) among themselves.[28] Thus, while the culture is dominated by the Francophonie, a complex multilingualism is present in Kinshasa.


Several private companies whose Urban Transport Company (STUC) and the Public City train (12 cars in 2002[citation needed]) serves the city. The bus lines are:

  • Gare centrale – Kingasani (municipality of Kimbanseke, reopened in September 2005);
  • Kingasani – Marché central
  • Matete – Royale (reopened in June 2006);
  • Matete – UPN (reopened in June 2006);
  • Rond-point Ngaba – UPN (reopened in June 2006).
  • Rond-point Victoire – clinique Ngliema (opened in March 2007)

Other companies also provide public transport: Urbaco, Tshatu Trans, Socogetra, Gesac and MB Sprl. The city bus carries up to 67,000 passengers per day. Several companies operate taxis and taxi-buses. Also available are fula-fula (trucks adapted to carry passengers).[29] The majority (95.8%) of transport is provided by individuals.

During the early years of the 21st century, the city's planners considered creating a tramway in collaboration with public transport in Brussels (STIB), whose work would start in 2009. That work has not moved beyond the planning stage, partly due to lack of a sufficient electrical supply.[30][31]


Several airlines serve Kinshasa (Ndjili) International Airport (FIH) in Kinshasa, including Kenya Airways, Air Gabon, Cameroon Airlines, Bravo Air Congo, Air Zimbabwe, South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Air France and Turkish Airlines.

As of April 2014 DR Congo has two major national airlines (CAA and Korongo Airlines) which offered flights inside DR Congo and to a small number of international locations. Korongo Airlines is based in Lumbumbashi and CAA was based in Kinshasa but both airlines operated many of the same flight routes.


ONATRA operates three lines of urban railways linking the town centre, which goes to Bas-Congo.[32]

  • The main line linking the Central Station to the N'djili Airport has 9 stations: Central Station, Ndolo, Amicongo, Uzam, Masina / Petro-Congo, Masina wireless Masina / Mapela, Masina / Neighborhood III, Masina / Siforco Camp Badara and Ndjili airport.
  • The second line connects the Central Station in Kasangulu in Bas-Congo, through Matete, Riflart and Kimwenza.
  • The third line at the Central Station Kinsuka-pumping in the town of Ngaliema.

In 2007 Belgium assisted in a renovation of the country's internal rail network.[33] This improved service to Kintambo, Ndolo, Limete, Lemba, Kasangulu, Gombe, Ndjili and Masina.

External transport

Kinshasa is the major river port of the Congo. The port, called 'Le Beach Ngobila' extends for about Script error: No such module "convert". along the river, comprising scores of quays and jetties with hundreds of boats and barges tied up. Ferries cross the river to Brazzaville, a distance of about Script error: No such module "convert".. River transport also connects to dozens of ports upstream, such as Kisangani and Bangui.

There are road and rail links to Matadi, the sea port in the Congo estuary Script error: No such module "convert". from the Atlantic Ocean.

There are no rail links from Kinshasa further inland, and road connections to much of the rest of the country are few and in poor condition.

The city has two airports: N'djili Airport is the main airport with connections to other African countries as well as to Brussels, Paris and some other destinations. N'Dolo Airport, located close to the city center, is used for domestic flights only with small turboprop aircraft.


Sister cities

See also

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  1. ^ a b c "Géographie de Kinshasa". Ville de Kinshasa. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "DemographiaWorld Urban Areas - 8th Annual Edition" (PDF). Demographia. April 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  3. ^ "State of the World's Cities 2012/2013" (PDF). UN Habitat. 2013. p. 18. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  4. ^ Cécile B. Vigouroux & Salikoko S. Mufwene. Globalization and Language Vitality: Perspectives from Africa, pp. 103 & 109. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  5. ^ "Time series of the population of the 30 largest urban agglomerations in 2011 ranked by population size, 1950-2025" (XLS). United Nations, Population Division. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "XIVe Sommet de la Francophonie". OIF. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c
  8. ^ James Gallagher (October 2, 2014). "Aids: Origin of pandemic 'was 1920s Kinshasa'". BBC. Retrieved October 5, 2014. 
  9. ^ Wachter, Sarah J. (19 June 2007). "Giant dam projects aim to transform African power supplies". New York Times. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  10. ^ "Average Conditions Kinshasa, Congo Democratic Republic". BBC Weather. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "U.S. Dept. of State – Congo, Democratic Republic of the Country Specific Information". United States Department of State. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ World Street Children News :: Congo (DR) Streetkid News
  15. ^ Manson, Katrina (22 July 2010). "Congo's children battle witchcraft accusations". Reuters. Retrieved 14 March 2011. 
  16. ^ "Street Children in Kinshasa". Africa Action. 8 July 2009. Retrieved 14 March 2011. 
  17. ^ "A night on the streets with Kinshasa's 'child witches'". War Child UK – Retrieved 14 March 2011. 
  18. ^ "Danballuff – Children of Congo: From War to Witches(video)". Retrieved 14 March 2011. 
  19. ^ "Africa Feature: Around 20,000 street children wander in Kinshasa". 1 June 2007. Retrieved 14 March 2011. 
  20. ^ "Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children". Retrieved 14 March 2011. 
  21. ^ "Police shoot dead street child in Kinshasa". BBC News. 16 August 2001. Retrieved 14 March 2011. 
  22. ^ "". Retrieved 14 March 2011. 
  23. ^ "Provincial Health Division of Kinshasa" African Development Information Services
  24. ^ "Democratic Republic of Congo country profile – Media". BBC News. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  25. ^ "Countries: Democatric Republic of the Congo: News" (Archive). [sic] Stanford University Libraries & Academic Information Resources. Retrieved on April 28, 2014.
  26. ^ Nadeau, Jean-Benoit (2006). The Story of French. St. Martin's Press. p. 483. ISBN 9780312341831.  The world's second-largest francophone city is not Montreal, Dakar, or Algiers, as most people would assume, but Kinshasa, capital of the former Zaire.
  27. ^ Trefon, Theodore (2004). Reinventing Order in the Congo: How People Respond to State Failure in Kinshasa. London and New York: Zed Books. p. 7. ISBN 9781842774915. Retrieved 31 May 2009.  A third factor is simply a demographic one. At least one in ten Congolese live in Kinshasa. With its population approaching ten million, it is the second largest city in sub-Saharan Africa (after Lagos). It is also the second largest French-speaking city in the world, according to Paris (even though only a small percentage of Kinois speak French correctly).
  28. ^ Manning, Patrick (1998). Francophone sub-Saharan Africa: Democracy and Dependence, 1985–1995. London and New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 189. ISBN 9780521645195. Retrieved 31 May 2009.  The apostles of francophonie in the 1980s labelled Zaire as the second-largest francophone country, and Kinshasa as the second-largest francophone city. Yet Zaire seemed unlikely to escape a complex multilingualism. Lingala was the language of music, of presidential addresses, of daily life in government and in Kinshasa. But if Lingala was the spoken language of Kinshasa, it made little progress as a written language. French was the written language of the city – as seen in street signs, posters, newspapers and in government documents. French dominated plays and television as well as the press; French was the language of the national anthem and even for the doctrine of authenticity. Zairian researchers found French to be used in vertical relationsihps among people of uneven rank; people of equal rank, no matter how high, tended to speak Zairian languages among themselves. Given these limits, French might have lost its place to another of the leading languages of Zaire – Lingala, Tshiluba, or Swahili – except that teaching of these languages also suffered from limitations on its growth.
  29. ^
  30. ^ Invalid language code. La Stib à Kinshasa ?, La Dernière Heure, 24 May 2007.
  31. ^ Invalid language code. Werkt MIVB mee aan uitbouw tramnetwerk Kinshasa?[dead link]
  32. ^ Invalid language code. L’enfer des chemins de fer urbains kinois, Le Potentiel, 25 July 2005.
  33. ^ DRC CONGO: KINSHASHA|Railways Africa

External links

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