Provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Article 2 of the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of the Congo divides the country into the capital city of Kinshasa and 25 named provinces. It also gives the capital the status of a province.[1] Therefore, in many contexts Kinshasa is regarded as the 26th province.

Provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Provinces de la République démocratique du Congo (French)
  • Also known as:
  • Mikoa ya Jamhuri ya Kidemokrasia ya Kongo (Swahili) Bitúká bya Kongó-Kinsásá (Lingala)
2006 Nouvelles provinces de la République Démocratique du Congo.png Provinces de la République démocratique du Congo - 2005.svg
CategoryUnitary state
LocationDemocratic Republic of the Congo
Number26 provinces (1 is a city-province)
Populations1,250,000 (Bas-Uele) – 13,916,000 (Kinshasa)
Areas9,545 km2 (3,685 sq mi) (Kasaï-Oriental) – 199,567 km2 (77,053 sq mi) (Tshopo)
  • Provincial government


Map Province Capital Area in km2
(sq mi)[2]
1 Kinshasa 9,965 (3,848) 13,916,000 Kinshasa UTC+1
2 Kongo Central Matadi 53,920 (20,820) 6,365,000 Bas-Congo UTC+1
3 Kwango Kenge 89,974 (34,739) 2,416,000 Bandundu UTC+1
4 Kwilu Bandundu 78,533 (30,322) 6,169,000 Bandundu UTC+1
5 Mai-Ndombe Inongo 127,243 (49,129) 2,082,000 Bandundu UTC+1
6 Kasaï Tshikapa 95,631 (36,923) 3,165,000 Kasaï-Occidental UTC+2
7 Kasaï-Central Kananga 59,500 (23,000) 3,743,000 Kasaï-Occidental UTC+2
8 Kasaï-Oriental Mbuji-Mayi 9,545 (3,685) 3,601,000 Kasaï-Oriental UTC+2
9 Lomami Kabinda 56,426 (21,786) 2,801,000 Kasaï-Oriental UTC+2
10 Sankuru Lusambo 104,331 (40,282) 2,417,000 Kasaï-Oriental UTC+2
11 Maniema Kindu 132,250 (51,060) 2,654,000 Maniema UTC+2
12 South Kivu Bukavu 64,791 (25,016) 6,565,000 South Kivu UTC+2
13 North Kivu Goma 59,483 (22,967) 7,574,000 North Kivu UTC+2
14 Ituri Bunia 65,658 (25,351) 4,008,000 Orientale UTC+2
15 Haut-Uele Isiro 89,683 (34,627) 2,046,000 Orientale UTC+2
16 Tshopo Kisangani 199,567 (77,053) 2,582,000 Orientale UTC+2
17 Bas-Uele Buta 148,331 (57,271) 1,250,000 Orientale UTC+2
18 Nord-Ubangi Gbadolite 56,644 (21,870) 1,425,000 Équateur UTC+1
19 Mongala Lisala 58,141 (22,448) 1,950,000 Équateur UTC+1
20 Sud-Ubangi Gemena 51,648 (19,941) 2,755,000 Équateur UTC+1
21 Équateur Mbandaka 103,902 (40,117) 1,712,000 Équateur UTC+1
22 Tshuapa Boende 132,957 (51,335) 1,789,000 Équateur UTC+1
23 Tanganyika Kalemie 134,940 (52,100) 3,570,000 Katanga UTC+2
24 Haut-Lomami Kamina 108,204 (41,778) 3,444,000 Katanga UTC+2
25 Lualaba Kolwezi 121,308 (46,837) 2,993,000 Katanga UTC+2
26 Haut-Katanga Lubumbashi 132,425 (51,130) 5,378,000 Katanga UTC+2


When Belgium annexed the Belgian Congo as a colony in November 1908, it was initially organised into 22 districts. Ten western districts were administered directly by the main colonial government, while the eastern part of the colony was administered under two vice-governments: eight northeastern districts formed Orientale Province, and four southeastern districts formed Katanga. In 1919, the colony was organised into four provinces:

In 1932, the colony was reorganised into six provinces. Initially they were named after their capital cities, but in 1947 regional names were adopted.[3]

The Belgian Congo became an independent country in 1960, named Republic of the Congo. By 1963, the country was organised into 21 provinces (informally called provincettes) plus the capital city of Léopoldville, similar to the original 22 districts under colonial rule. In 1966, the 21 provincettes were grouped into eight provinces, and the capital city was renamed Kinshasa.[3]

In 1971, the country was renamed Zaire, and three provinces were also renamed. In 1975, the capital city of Kinshasa obtained the status of a province. In 1988, the province of Kivu was split into three. In 1997, the country was renamed Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the three provinces that had been renamed in 1971 either retook their previous name or took another.[3]

Article 2 of the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, adopted in 2006, specifies a territorial organisation into 26 provinces,[4] again resembling the previous provincettes and original colonial districts. The reorganisation was scheduled to take effect within three years of the new constitution's promulgation, however progress was slow.[5] In October 2007 the Minister for Decentralisation, Denis Kalume Numbi, presented a bill for decentralisation in the National Assembly. The subsequent debate turned up a variety of issues that first had to be addressed with changes to related laws.[6] In an October 2010 conclave of the ruling AMP coalition, it was proposed to revise Article 226, which calls for the creation of 26 provinces out of the current 11, in order to allow more time for the transition.[7] On 9 January 2015 the National Assembly passed a law on the new administrative divisions of the country, according to which new provinces should be installed in period of 12 months.[8][9]


Approximate correspondence between historical and current provincesEdit

Approximate correspondence between historical and current provinces
Belgian Congo First Republic Second Republic (Zaire) Third Republic
1908 1919 1932 1947 1963 1966 1971 1988 1997 2015
22 districts 4 provinces 6 provinces 6 provinces 21 provinces + capital 8 provinces + capital 8 regions + capital 11 regions 11 provinces 26 provinces
Tanganika-Moero Katanga Élisabethville Katanga Nord-Katanga Katanga Shaba Katanga Tanganyika
Lulua Lualaba Lualaba
Haut-Luapula Katanga-Oriental Haut-Katanga
Lomami Lusambo Kasaï Lomami Kasaï-Oriental Lomami
Sankuru Congo-Kasaï Sankuru Sankuru
Kasaï Sud-Kasaï Kasaï-Oriental
Luluabourg Kasaï-Occidental Kasaï-Central
Unité-Kasaïenne Kasaï
Moyen-Congo Léopoldville Léopoldville Kinshasa
Bas-Congo Congo-Central Bas-Zaïre Bas-Congo Kongo Central
Kwango Kwango Bandundu Kwango
Kwilu Kwilu
Lac Léopold II Équateur Mai-Ndombe Mai-Ndombe
Équateur Coquilhatville Équateur Cuvette-Centrale Équateur Équateur
Lulonga Moyen-Congo Mongala
Ubangi Ubangi Nord-Ubangi
Bas-Uele Orientale Stanleyville Orientale Uele Orientale Haut-Zaïre Orientale Bas-Uele
Haut-Uele Haut-Uele
Ituri Kibali-Ituri Ituri
Stanleyville Haut-Congo Tshopo
Maniema Costermansville Kivu Maniema Kivu Maniema
Kivu Nord-Kivu Nord-Kivu
Kivu-Central Sud-Kivu

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Constitution de la Republique Democratique du Congo" [The Constitution of the Democratic Republic of the Congo] (PDF). LEGANET.CD (in French). 20 January 2011. Article 2. Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 February 2019. Retrieved 11 Jan 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Annuaire statistique RDC 2020" [Statistical Yearbook DRC 2020] (PDF) (in French). National Institute of Statistics of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. March 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d Provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Statoids, accessed 1 May 2016.
  4. ^ Constitution of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, article 2, Wikisource. (in French)
  5. ^ "Provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo Kinshasa)". Statoids. Retrieved 2011-11-22.
  6. ^ "La décentralisation dans l'impasse". Le Potentiel. 23 October 2007. Retrieved 2011-11-21.
  7. ^ JASON STEARNS (October 12, 2010). "The AMP conclave: Another step towards 2011 elections". Retrieved 2011-11-23.
  8. ^ The National Assembly adopts the laws regarding the limits of the provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 10 January 2015. (in French)
  9. ^ Election of governors: definite results expected on 18 April, Radio Okapi, 27 March 2016. (in French)