Kinshasa: Towards a new modernity

Kinshasa, gigantic metropolis and capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is located on the south bank of the Congo River; it is one of the largest cities in sub-Saharan Africa. The inhabitants of the city commonly called Kinois are, if not musicians, great music lovers giving the city of Kinshasa a rich cultural identity where music, notably Congolese rumba, is a social practice based on sharing and a essential factor of intercultural dialogue and social cohesion. The climate is hot all year round, with a dry season from May to September and a rainy season from October to May punctuated by severe storms that occur frequently but rarely last more than a few hours.

Kinshasa is divided into industrial, residential and commercial zones. Along the western edge of the city center, an industrial zone formerly called Léo-Ouest has been built. The residential and administrative district of Gombe, historically called Léo-Est, is located to the east and along the river. It houses the central government buildings, the embassy district and the residences of wealthy populations. It is crossed by Boulevard du 30-Juin, a main artery lined on each side by shops. The waterfront, north of Kinshasa, is lined with quays and large warehouses. Ndolo, east of Gombe, includes a complex of port facilities and industrial facilities.

The poorest areas extend south, east and west of Kinshasa. Different dynamic and contradictory influences have shaped the city of Kinshasa through a variety of architectural styles. Most of the buildings were built during the economic boom of the early 1970s, including emblematic buildings such as the Parliament, the presidential palace, the headquarters of Radio-Télévision Nationale Congolais, the International Trade Center, etc. The city of Kinshasa experienced a long period of stagnation starting in the 2000s and seems to have found a new lease of modernity for a little over ten years.

Kinshasa has been greatly transformed with a renovation of urban planning and the construction of new emblematic buildings such as the National Museum of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the result of South Korean cooperation and erected in 2019 next to the Palais du Peuple. Currently the city's great urban attraction is the new financial center of Kinshasa, a product of Turkish cooperation composed of six buildings, the first two of which, called Twins Towers, stand proudly towards the sky of Kinshasa.

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