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Congo, Democratic Republic of the Economy

    Economy—overview: The economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo—a nation endowed with vast potential wealth—has declined significantly since the mid-1980s. The new government instituted a tight fiscal policy that initially curbed inflation and currency depreciation, but these small gains were quickly reversed when the foreign-backed rebellion in the eastern part of the country began in August 1998. The war has dramatically reduced government revenue, and increased external debt. Foreign businesses have curtailed operations due to uncertainty about the outcome of the conflict and because of increased government harassment and restrictions. Poor infrastructure, an uncertain legal framework, corruption, and lack of transparency in government economic policy remain a brake on investment and growth. A number of IMF and World Bank missions have met with the new government to help it develop a coherent economic plan but associated reforms are on hold.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$34.9 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: -3.5% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$710 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 59%
    industry: 15%
    services: 26% (1995 est.)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 147% (1998 est.)

    Labor force: 14.51 million (1993 est.)

    Labor force—by occupation: agriculture 65%, industry 16%, services 19% (1991 est.)

    Unemployment rate: NA%

    Budget:
    revenues: $269 million
    expenditures: $244 million, including capital expenditures of $24 million (1996 est.)

    Industries: mining, mineral processing, consumer products (including textiles, footwear, cigarettes, processed foods and beverages), cement, diamonds

    Industrial production growth rate: NA%

    Electricity—production: 6.4 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 6.25%
    hydro: 93.75%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 6.265 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 195 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 60 million kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber, tea, quinine, cassava (tapioca), palm oil, bananas, root crops, corn, fruits; wood products

    Exports: $1.6 billion (f.o.b., 1998 est.)

    Exports—commodities: diamonds, copper, coffee, cobalt, crude oil

    Exports—partners: Benelux 43%, US 22%, South Africa 8%, France, Germany, Italy, UK, Japan (1997)

    Imports: $819 million (f.o.b., 1998 est.)

    Imports—commodities: consumer goods, foodstuffs, mining and other machinery, transport equipment, fuels

    Imports—partners: South Africa 21%, Benelux 14%, China 8%, Netherlands, US, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK (1997)

    Debt—external: $15 billion (1997 est.)

    Economic aid—recipient: $195.3 million (1995)

    Currency: Congolese franc (CF)

    Exchange rates: Congolese francs (CF) per US$1—2.5 (January 1999); new zaires (Z) per US$1—115,000 (January 1998), 83,764 (October 1996), 7,024 (1995), 1,194 (1994)
    note: on 30 June 1998 the Congolese franc (CF) was introduced, replacing the new zaire; 1 Congolese franc (CF)=100,000 new zaires

    Fiscal year: calendar year

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)