Congo (Republic of)
Bantu people lived in the area of the Republic of Congo long before European colonization began. The territory became a French colony and was part of French Central Africa until independence in 1960. Congo was one of the new nations in Africa with a socialist regime, which lasted several decades. In the 1990s the country suffered two civil wars because of power struggles between political leaders, who had each their own militia. Many people lost their lives, others were displaced or fled to neighbouring DRC. Congo has rich oil resources. Oil is the main export product, followed by coffee, but the revenues do not benefit the people. Most of the population in the rural areas lives from subsistence farming. The Catholic Church is the majority church. Besides the Evangelical Church, which is the largest Protestant denomination, other WCC member churches present in Congo are: the Kimbanguist Church, which has its headquarters in the DRC just across the Congo river, and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, which has a large parish in Brazzaville. These churches, together with the Salvation Army and the Lutherans, form the Ecumenical Council of Congo. There are also several Pentecostal and Evangelical churches.