Country Info: Congo

Congo

Bilateral Trade by Sector: United States - Congo (Brazzaville)

Value ('1000 dollars), US 'domestic exports' *, US 'imports for consumption' / Includes year-to-date data

Economic Background

The Republic of the Congo’s economy is a mixture of subsistence farming, an industrial sector based largely on oil and support services, and government spending. Oil has supplanted forestry as the mainstay of the economy, providing a major share of government revenues and exports.

Natural gas is increasingly being converted to electricity rather than being flared, greatly improving energy prospects. New mining projects, particularly iron ore, which entered production in late 2013, may add as much as $1 billion to annual government revenue. The Republic of the Congo is a member of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) and shares a common currency – the Central African Franc – with five other member states in the region.

The current administration faces difficult economic challenges of stimulating recovery and reducing poverty. The drop in oil prices that began in 2014 has constrained government spending; lower oil prices forced the government to cut more than $1 billion in planned spending.

The fiscal deficit amounted to 11% of GDP in 2017. The government’s inability to pay civil servant salaries has resulted in multiple rounds of strikes by many groups, including doctors, nurses, and teachers. In the wake of a multi-year recession, the country reached out to the IMF in 2017 for a new program; the IMF noted that the country’s continued dependence on oil, unsustainable debt, and significant governance weakness are key impediments to the country’s economy.

In 2018, the country’s external debt level will approach 120% of GDP. The IMF urged the government to renegotiate debts levels to sustainable levels before it agreed to a new macroeconomic adjustment package.

Agricultural products

cassava, sugar cane, oil palm fruit, cassava leaves, bananas, plantains, roots/tubers, game meat, vegetables, mangoes/guavas

Industries

petroleum extraction, cement, lumber, brewing, sugar, palm oil, soap, flour, cigarettes

Industrial production growth rate

-3% (2017 est.)

(Source: World Factbook, 2021)

View related news articles

US embassy working hand-in-hand with Congo to attract American investors

The Republic of the Congo offers “tremendous opportunities” to U.S. investors and both countries are working closely to develop trade partnerships. The business climate in the Republic of the Congo is “trending in the right direction” and has become ripe for foreign investment, according to the latest comments from U.S. officials. The U.S. embassy in the Central African nation believes Congo “offers tremendous opportunities to...

12 May 2015

US trade policy can’t fix waning demand

Exports from sub-Saharan Africa to the US, which had begun to pick up after plunging in the wake of Wall Street's 2008 implosion, dipped again last year - this time by 34% - and do not look as if they will recover soon. This is not something US trade policy, in the form of the African Growth and Opportunity Act’s (Agoa’s) preferential tariff treatment for most African products, can do much about in the immediate term, even if the act is...

19 February 2013