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city, northwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo. It lies on the equator about 435 miles (700 km) northeast of Kinshasa, the national capital. It was a colonial administrative centre from 1886. It is now a busy river port situated at the junction of the Congo and Ruki rivers midway on the Kinshasa-Kisangani shipping route. In addition to shipping, Mbandaka's economic activities centre on agriculture and forestry (rubber, coffee, rice, lumber). The city also has a brewery and a printing plant and is the site of a national museum, a teacher-training college, and a botanical garden. It has an airport. Pop. (2004 est.) 262,814.