The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) rich endowment of natural resources – 197 million acres of arable land and over 1,100 minerals and precious metals – large population, and strategic location in Central Africa make it a potentially rewarding market for U.S. companies, however 70 percent of its population lives on less than one dollar a day and the DRC’s commercial and investment climate remains challenging.
Following decades of economic instability due to fiscal mismanagement, corruption and conflict, the government of the DRC implemented economic reforms aimed at creating sustainable growth, controlling inflation, maintaining the stability of the macroeconomic framework, reducing the weight of external debt and rehabilitating infrastructure. GDRC efforts from 2001 to 2014 yielded some improvement, but a drop in commodity prices in 2015 has resulted in significant economic instability yet again. The Congolese Franc (CDF) began to lose ground against the dollar in 2016.
Economic growth in the DRC is driven mostly by extractive industries, followed by manufacturing, public works, and agriculture, though a substantial portion (88%) of the DRC’s economic activities are dominated by the informal sector. Most consumer goods are imported, largely from China, which account for nearly a quarter of all imports. Though the DRC’s political and security situation remains fragile, the DRC Government has demonstrated a growing commitment to foster sound economic governance and attract foreign direct investment.
Overall, businesses in the DRC faces numerous challenges, including fragility of functional infrastructure, endemic corruption at virtually all levels of government, predatory tax agencies, limited access to capital, shortage of skilled labor, difficulty enforcing contracts, political uncertainty, weak judicial system, and ongoing armed conflict in eastern DRC. The Embassy strongly urges all prospective investors to visit www.travel.state.gov and the additional links provided herein to read the latest country-specific information and travel warnings before traveling to the DRC.