Pointe-Noire (pwăNt-nwär) [key], city (1984 pop. 294,203), SW Republic of the Congo, Africa, a port on the Atlantic Ocean. Offshore oil drilling and oil refining are the city's most important economic activities. The port exports oil, tropical timber, cotton, palm products, peanuts, and coffee. Plywood, aluminum ware, and soap are manufactured, and there are shipbuilding and food-processing industries. The city is also a noted center for sport fishing. Founded in 1883, it acquired importance only after the completion (1948) of the railroad to Brazzaville and the construction (1934–39) of an artificial harbor. From 1950 until 1958 it was the capital of the French Congo.