Democratic Republic of Congo flag Democratic Republic of Congo: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Foreign Trade in Figures

The DRC is open to international trade, which represents 80.5% of its GDP (2021, World Bank). Former president Joseph Kabila’s government has established a series of reforms intended to improve the business climate and to diversify exports. With 80 million hectares of arable land and over 1,100 minerals and precious metals, the DRC has the potential to become one of the major exporting countries on the continent and a driver of African growth. The country's mainly exports refined copper (49.8%), cobalt (23.4%), copper ore (6.6%), crude petroleum (5.7%), and diamonds (2.9%); while it imports chiefly medicaments (4.9%), refined petroleum (3.9%), sulfuric acid (2.4%), stone processing machines (2.1%), and delivery trucks (2%).

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s key trading partners are China, Zambia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. The DRC is a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (ECGLC), and the WTO. Furthermore, in 2022, the country signed bilateral agreements on cooperation in various sectors with Turkey, including defence and security, infrastructure and transport, non-double taxation, and investment promotion.

Although the DRC's trade balance was structurally negative,  the takeover of the raw material prices plays in favour of the exports growth and of the rebalancing of current accounts, making the country’s trade balance was positive in the last few years. The merchandise trade surplus increased to USD 3.9 billion in 2021, as imports of goods amounted to USD 10.3 billion, while exports reached USD 23.5 billion.

Foreign Trade Values 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 7,9308,8256,6637,65811,000
Exports of Goods (million USD) 20,00413,38214,12224,12528,200
Imports of Services (million USD) 2,8022,2602,6913,9484,492
Exports of Services (million USD) 115142144169109

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 69.955.258.580.598.9
Trade Balance (million USD) 9944001,9233,940n/a
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -1,693-1,719-624161n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 22.6-15.312.043.624.9
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 37.429.429.940.150.9
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 32.625.928.640.448.0

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20232024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)2027 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change)
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change)

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

International Economic Cooperation
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a member of the following organizations:

South African Development Community (SADC)
• World Trade Organisation (WTO)
• Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (ECGLC)
• Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS)
• Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)
• Organisation for Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa (OHADA)
African Union (AU)


To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.


Main Services

0.2 bn USD of services exported in 2021
4.0 bn USD of services imported in 2021

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: December 2023