Academic Master


Cultural Etiquette In Congo And Libya

Congo is home to many diverse ethnic groups, hence the focus on the significant diversity and different norms and values that are present in the region. Throughout its prehistory, these racial groups were separated from each other by the dense forests that surround the country.

The Congolese culture is comprised of traditional influences and those assimilated during the colonization period. A large number of Congo citizens profess Christianity as their original religion. Casual clothes are allowed in Congo, but most believe that nice and decent looks attract respect. A large Congolese population wore clean, lenient garments and colored outfits. Women dress in long skirts as trousers are not allowed. Greetings are significant in Congolese life.  Saying hi before addressing any matter is crucial. Particular respect is also given to elders and village headmen.

In Libya the official language is Arabic. Most Libyans are Muslims as they believe that it is only Islam that can meet the economic, political, and social uncertainties of humanity.  Alcohol has been banned in Libya where nightclubs and bars have been closed down. Provocative dressing codes and entertainment have also been outlawed. Using the Hijri calendar in Libya is mandatory. Men greet each other through handshaking.  People are not allowed to say their first names unless asked. Business cards can be issued to business associates. Appointments are significant and must be communicated early, like two days before the scheduled meeting. Shake hands at the beginning and end of meetings. Arriving at meetings on time is crucial.

Libya Congo
Religion The major religion is Islam, which is believed to offer solutions to all of humanity’s problems.  Christianity is the dominant religion, and it believes in the existence of God and life after death.
Appearance Maxi dresses. Provocative dressing has been banned. Women are not allowed to show their body parts. Provocative dressing is highly punished in society, and the people involved are disrespected.  Congolese put on linen clothes and colorful outfits. Women wear long skirts; trousers are never allowed for women. Decent women are highly respected in the society.
Behaviors. §  The most common. Shake hands at the beginning and end of meetings. Gifts are issued with two hands the right hand.

§   Receivers of gifts do not open them immediately after receiving them. It is always good to accept tea or coffee offers. Short prayers are said before all meals. Eating should be done using the right hand. Looking each other in the eyes while talking is highly encouraged.

Greetings are significant in Congolese life.  Saying hi before addressing any matter is crucial. Special respect is also given to elders and village headmen.  Taking photos randomly is prohibited in Congo, especially in militias, borders, and checkpoints. In Congo, no provocative dances are allowed, and bars and nightclubs are not allowed. Effective and respectful relations with each other are highly valued. Women are not allowed to look men directly in the eye as that would be a sign of disrespect.


Communication The official language is Arabic.  Using the first name is not allowed unless permitted.  One can issue business cards to the associates. Handshaking is crucial before and after business meetings.  Libyans take their processes slowly and have effective negotiation skills. The official language is French. Hands are shaken during the encounter and before departure. Senior officials are addressed in formal titles. Requests for meetings are sent in formal writing.

Congolese are fast business decision-makers.


Gesteland, Richard R. Cross-cultural business behavior: Marketing, negotiating, sourcing and managing across cultures. Copenhagen Business School Pr, 2002.



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