The education system in Congo is heavily
French-influenced. The 10-year compulsory undergraduate
education has a six-year first and a four-year second stage.
The latter is divided into a general education and a
vocational line. The secondary school is three years old,
divided along the same lines. The state took over all
private schools in 1965, which led to a sharp increase in
the number of students at the higher levels, especially on
the general education lines. However, since 1990, private
education has been allowed again. Congo's only university
was founded in Brazzaville in 1971. However, many study at
French universities. Illiteracy in the adult population in
1995 was 25.1% (16.9% for men and 32.8% for women).
After the Civil War 1997-99, the school system was in
great need of reconstruction. Still only about 2/3 of the
children in primary school start, where the proportion of
girls is about the same as the proportion of boys. In
secondary school, however, the boys are in the majority.
There are no current statistics on literacy.
Republic of Congo Foreign Policy
The Republic of Congo formerly belonged to the radical
states of Africa and in the 1980s had good relations with
the Soviet Union and Cuba. In the 1980s, Congo improved
relations with its more conservative neighboring countries
Gabon, Cameroon and DR Congo. The country also made
connections with Israel and Morocco. Congo played an active
role in the negotiations leading to an agreement on Cuban
withdrawal from Angola and independence for Namibia; the
so-called Brazzaville agreement.
Angola's relationship was put to the test during the
civil war in the 1990s, when Angolan forces supported Denis
Sassou Nguessou; Angola accused the Lissouba government of
supporting the Angolan rebel movement UNITA as well as
separatists in the Cabinda enclave. In 1999, the heads of
state in the two Congo states and Angola agreed on a common
policy to deal with the conflict in their respective
countries, and signed a cooperation agreement. In 1998, the
Republic of Congo and DR Congo had signed a non-aggression
agreement. In 2003, the Republic of Congo contributed
military forces in the multinational African peacekeeping
force to the Central African Republic.
Congo has had a particularly close relationship with the
former colonial power France, which is by far the largest
economic partner, both for trade and development aid. There
are also substantial French interests behind the country's
significant oil recovery.