Kinshasa

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Kinshasa (formerly French: Léopoldville, and Dutch: About this sound Leopoldstad ) is the capital and largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, known as Zaire from 1971 to 1997. The city is located on the Congo River.

Once a site of fishing villages, Kinshasa is now an urban area with a population of 10,076,099 inhabitants in 2009. The city of Brazzaville (about 1.2 million inhabitants in 2007 with its suburbs),[2] capital of the Republic of the Congo, lies just across the Congo River from Kinshasa. Together with Brazzaville, the combined conurbation of Kinshasa-Brazzaville has thus nearly 12 million inhabitants—making it the most populous transborder metropolitan area in the world. Because the administrative boundaries cover such a vast area, over 60% of the city's land is rural in nature, and the urban area only occupies a small section in the far western end of the province.[3][4]

Kinshasa holds the status of the second largest city in sub-Saharan Africa and the third largest in the whole continent after Lagos and Cairo. Although it has no significant native French speaking population, it is often considered the second largest officially francophone city in the world after Paris, inasmuch as French is the language of government and commerce, and is used as a lingua franca. If current demographic trends continue, Kinshasa will surpass Paris in population before 2020.[5][6]

Residents of Kinshasa are known as Kinois (French) or Kinshasans (English).

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