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The Congo River remains Africa's most vital navigational system. There are over 8,700 miles of waterway that are used in DRC (Zaire) alone. Barges carrying loads of 800 to 1,100 tons are able to navigate at least 650 miles of the Congo throughout the year. These barges carry fuel, wood, minerals and agricultural produce and are a communication and transportation resource for those areas that are not served by roads.

There are three main transportation routes, which come together downstream at Kinshasa on the Malebo Pool. These three routes have their origins in three places: Kisangani, Ilebo (on the Kasai River), and Bangui (on the Ubangi River). These routes have continued to aid economic development in those areas that are further inland and do not have access to the coast for shipping, etc.

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Although certain sections of the river can be used for transportation, it is unnavigable in its lower reaches, where there are numerous waterfalls. To facilitate transportation, railway systems have been built to complete the routes inland to the coastal regions along the Atlantic Ocean.

The river system in some areas is a drawback. There are only a few bridges that cross the Congo and its tributaries at present. This problem can only be solved in the future with cooperation and funds provided by the countries through which the river flows.

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