The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is located in Central Africa, bordered by nine countries. The climate is tropical, ranging from hot and humid in the equatorial river basin to cool and dry in the southern highlands. The country has two wet seasons: one north of the Equator, April through October; and one south of the Equator, November through March.
Of the total land area, only 3 percent is utilized for cultivated crops, while no measurable amount of the total land supports permanent crops such as fruit- and nut-bearing trees.
Economically, a conflict that began in 1998 dramatically reduced national output and government revenue and increased external debt.
In 2002, conditions began to improve and the DRC reopened relations with international financial institutions and international donors. In 2009, it signed a new Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and is expected to refocus its efforts to build GDP and seek new economic opportunities.