With over 1.5 million people living in Brazzaville, the city is home to more than one-third of the country’s population. Brazzaville is considered to be safer than many other African cities.
The Republic of the Congo was formerly part of the French Empire, unlike its larger neighbor, the Democratic Republic of Congo, which used to be under Belgian control. It was known as the French Congo until it became independent in 1960. Political events in 1968 led to a period of communism and it was only in 1992 that the first democratically elected government came to power. In 1997 the Marxist President was reinstated in a violent coup, and this was followed by years of political instability and conflict between people of different ethnicities.
Today the population of Brazzaville is mainly made up of people of several ethnicities, including Kongo, Sangha, Teke and M’Bochi peoples. People of European and other foreign nationalities make up around 3% of the population. As you would expect with a former French colony, there are many French citizens living in Brazzaville; there are also people from the US, Canada, Britain and Lebanon. Prior to the coup in 1997, there were greater numbers of Americans and Europeans living in Brazzaville, but several thousand foreign nationals left the country during the conflict.
The official language of the Republic of the Congo is French, but other languages spoken include Kongo, Fang and Lingala. English is not widely spoken outside the business environment, so it is useful to have some knowledge of French before you move to the Republic of the Congo. The French influence is still evident in architecture and in the pavement cafe culture. European food items are relatively easy to get hold of in stores such as Score supermarket.
The unit of currency is the Central African Franc.
Brazzaville’s rainy season lasts from October to April, while the weather is generally dry between June and September. During the wetter months, rainfall can be torrential, and downpours can wreak havoc on the roads. Humidity is also very high in the rainy season. There is relatively little temperature fluctuation through the year. Temperatures average 32°C (89.6°F) during the hot season, which runs from late February through May. The maximum temperature rarely rises above 35°C (95°F). During June, July and August, temperatures are at their coolest, but average highs are still 28°C (82.4°F).
High quality housing is not plentiful in Brazzaville, and it is not easy to find property to rent in the city online. You may be fortunate enough to have the organization you will be working for in Brazzaville arrange accommodation for you. Otherwise you might find it helpful to enlist the services of an international relocation consultant who will help you find a suitable property when you are planning your move to Brazzaville. Many properties are let by word of mouth, and real estate agencies are not the norm in the Republic of the Congo.
Parts of the city were badly damaged during the conflict in 1997, and although much work has been done to restore buildings and infrastructure, there is still more to be done. This has contributed to the shortage of good housing in the city.