A dearth of well-equipped medical facilities and diminutive supplies of drugs mean that a number of health problems are widespread in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The country has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world, second only to Chad. In addition to this, residents of the country have a relatively low life expectancy; in 2014, the CIA estimated it at 56.54 years.
Expatriates considering moving to Congo should note that there are a number of endemic diseases in the nation, including malaria and yellow fever, as well as a number of other insect-borne diseases. One of the most serious health issues in Congo is the prevalence of HIV/AIDS; at the end of 2003, UNAIDS estimated that as many as 1.1 million people were living with HIV/AIDS in Congo, which works our as approximately 4.2% of the adult population.
Relative levels of safety vary widely in Congo. Crime is common and more or less serious, therefore caution is always needed. In general, crimes of opportunity, such as pickpocketing and petty theft, are more common, but more serious crime, such as armed robbery, has been reported as well. Expatriates should take precautions, such as never travelling with an abundance of high value goods or currency and not walking after dark. Gangs and even individuals posing as plain clothes policemen have been known to target expats, so vigilance is key when living in the DRC.
Expats planning on living in the capital Kinshasa should be wary that demonstrations can quickly transmogrify into violent events; special care should be taken if travelling close to these demonstrations that often take place contiguous to the parliament buildings in Kinshasa.
Congo’s terrain and climate, largely associated with the Congo Basin, have made ground transportation difficult. This, in combination with the political unrest and economic difficulties of the nation mean that Congo’s transportation network has remained underdeveloped.
The road network in Congo is generally poorly constructed and maintained, and conditions are liable to worsen during the country’s wet season that occurs between September and May. In general, expats should endeavor to never travel at night because of the associated risk of criminal activity.
Congo has two international airports, Kinshasa International Airport and Lubumbashi International Airport, which allows expats to entry the country, and many other local airports for national flights.