Congo flag Congo: Economic outline

Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

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Heavily dependent on oil revenues, the Republic of Congo’s economy is regularly impacted by fluctuations in global oil prices. After the recession induced by low oil prices and aggravated by the Covid-19 global pandemic, economic growth rebounded in 2022. The 2021 contraction of -0.6% GDP turned into a positive growth of 4.3% GDP in 2022, that is expected to further accelerate to 4.6% GDP in 2023 and 7.3% GDP in 2024 (IMF). Economic growth is driven by renewed investment by the largest oil producers, high oil prices, a rebound in oil production, domestic arrears repayments, government investment in agriculture and infrastructure, and steady activity in mining, manufacturing, and services (IMF).

The Congolese economy is largely dominated by oil production, which accounts for 80% of exports and 60% of domestic revenues (Coface). This oil dependency makes the country vulnerable to shifts in commodity prices. After seven years of recession, the Congolese economy rebounded in 2022 despite the deteriorating international environment, driven by higher oil prices and the dynamism of non-oil sector. Reflecting the authorities’ efforts to restore debt sustainability, budget surplus increased from 1.7% GDP in 2021 to 9% GDP in 2022, and is expected to remain high at 6.4% GDP in 2023 and 2024 (IMF). However, the non-oil primary deficit and net domestic financing substantially exceeded their targets, due to the introduction of a subsidy to the national oil company (SNPC) for importing fuel (IMF). Public debt decreased from 103.6% GDP in 2021 to 82% GDP in 2022, and is expected to further reduce to 73.9% GDP in 2023 and 64.5% GDP in 2024 (IMF). It is assessed as sustainable but at high risk of debt distress. Inflation increased from 2% in 2021 to 3.5% in 2022, and it is expected to reduce to 3.2% in 2023 and 3% in 2024 (IMF). Inflationary pressures are driven by high global fuel and transport prices inflating food imports bill, but are contained by food price regulation and subsidised public transport costs (IMF). In January 2022, the IMF approved a 36-month arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility in an amount equivalent to about USD 455 million, to help the country maintain macroeconomic stability and support economic recovery. Reducing debt vulnerabilities, strengthening domestic revenue mobilization and public spending efficiency, and advancing wide-ranging structural reforms are the main priorities. The authorities are also committed to the National Development Plan 2022-26, which focuses on social and infrastructure spending. Lack of economic diversification is a major challenge for the country. While some progress has been made in translating its natural resources into economic growth, the country has not fully succeeded in leveraging them to achieve robust socio-economic outcomes.

Poverty rate is alarming, reaching 52% in 2021 according to the World Bank. The country ranked 153rd in the world on the 2021 Human development index, falling 4 places. Unemployment rate in Congo was estimated at around 22.2% in 2021 (World Bank, modeled ILO estimate).

Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 13.9614.4115.4216.2217.16
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 2,8382,8582,9843,0613,160
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 92.597.891.087.383.1
Inflation Rate (%) n/a3.
Current Account (billions USD) 2.710.570.320.01-0.32
Current Account (in % of GDP)

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, 2016

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
CFA Franc BEAC (XAF) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 ZAR 40.3143.7641.9240.6934.94

Source: World Bank, 2015


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Latest Update: December 2023