Democratic Republic of Congo flag Democratic Republic of Congo: Economic outline

Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) possesses two-thirds of Africa's tropical forests, has a rich subsoil and a significant hydroelectric potential. The economy has suffered political conflicts over the past two decades. After recording the world’s third-fastest growth (10.5%) in 2014, the economy slowed down, mainly due to rising inflation and a drop in the prices of exported raw materials, notably copper. In 2021, the economy grew 4.9%, mainly due to a boost in the mining sector after a slowdown in activity brought on by the pandemic in the previous year. Over that same period, prices of commodities and mining exports rose as global demand restarted. In 2022 and 2023, mining is expected to remain the main contributor to the country's growth, with GDP being expected to reach 5.6% and 6.6%, respectively.

The economy of the DRC is mainly based on extractive industries, which are very dependent on world prices and international economic dynamics. The country's economy is therefore fragile and vulnerable to shocks. In 2021, the country benefited from the increase in copper prices (the leading export product), which led to an increase in revenue, expenditure, and foreign exchange reserves. With copper and cobalt prices expected to remain high, production and exports are set to increase in the coming years, which should continue to benefit the economy as a whole. In 2021, inflation decreased to 9.45%, thanks to a relatively more stable Congolese franc. Inflation should continue a downward trend in 2022, reaching 6.4%, before stabilising at 6.6% in 2023. The debt-to-GDP ratio also decreased in 2021, to 11.9%, and it further decrease in the coming years, reaching 10.1% in 2022 and 8.3% in 2023. The overall deficit remained stable at 2.1%, but it is expected to drop to 1.8% in 2022 and 1.5% in 2023. To answer the coronavirus crisis, the Congolese government implemented a plan estimated at USD 2.6 billion in 2020, which continued on in 2021. The amount was used to face medical challenges, reinforce macroeconomic stability, and help citizens to fulfil their basic needs. The measures put in place in light of the pandemic have been effective in boosting economic activity, which has been gradually recovering. However, although a relatively low inflation and a robust recovery plan have bolstered private consumption in the country, its contribution to growth was constrained by the large share of the population living below the poverty line.

The DRC is one of the poorest countries in the world, with 70% of the population living in extreme poverty (World Bank, 2020). It is among the lowest-ranked in the human development index and violence is frequent, especially in the east of the country. According to the latest data from the World Bank, in 2020, the unemployment rate in the country stood at 5.2%. However, among the employed share of the population, a high percentage of workers have informal jobs.

 
Main Indicators 201920202021 (e)2022 (e)2023 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 50.40e48.71e54.8359.2564.30
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 4.4e1.7e4.95.66.6
GDP per Capita (USD) 581e544e594622655
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 15.015.2e11.910.18.3
Inflation Rate (%) 4.711.4e9.06.46.1
Current Account (billions USD) -1.62-1.10e-1.14-1.09-0.98
Current Account (in % of GDP) -3.2-2.2e-2.1-1.8-1.5

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, 2016

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Congolese Franc (CDF) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 ZAR 68.68110.10122.41114.43112.36

Source: World Bank, 2015

 

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Latest Update: July 2022