Democratic Republic of the Congo
The operating environment in DRC is challenging. Businesses must deal with the day-to-day realities of an economy and society ravaged by years of conflict and underinvestment. The poor state of infrastructure in the country, particularly in the regions in which we operate, creates additional challenges. The DRC has tremendous potential when it comes to agricultural production with abundant land, nutrient rich soil, ample rainfall and a year-round growing season yet its capacity has been undermined by its past. It remains chronically food insecure, relying upon substantial imports to feed its people, and with staple food costs amongst the highest in the world.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world with tropical forest and woodlands covering more than 40 percent of its land mass. It borders the Atlantic Ocean to the west and has nine neighbours - the Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia and Angola.
The DRC has a population of over 71 million people and it is predicted that the population will exceed 100 million by 2030 and 150 million by 2050 [Source: www.esa.un.org]. The official language of the DRC is French and it has four national languages (Kituba, Lingala, Tshiluba, and Swahili) and there are estimated to be a further 240 other languages and dialects spoken.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a nation blessed with considerable natural resources and excellent agricultural potential. A period or conflict, wars and unrest in the late 1990s and early 2000s mean that it is currently considered one of the world’s most under-developed countries and its infrastructure has suffered from years of under investment. However, things are gradually improving.
Today, the DRC is repairing and expanding its infrastructure and there is reason for optimism about its economic outlook. The International Monetary Fund estimates that the DRC's economy expanded by 9.2 percent in 2014 and it is expected to grow by 9.2 percent in 2015. This represents one of the highest gross domestic product growth rates in the world and, when coupled with low inflation, suggests the medium-term economic outlook is promising.
The DRC is:
- The largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa
- The second largest Country in Africa
- The 11th largest country in the world
- The fourth most populous nation in Africa
- The 19th most populous country in the world
- Forecast to be the 13th most populous country by 2030 (UN Population Forecasts)
- The most populous French speaking country in the world
The DRC has:
- Experienced more than a decade of continuous economic expansion
- Updated its business laws by signing up to OHADA, the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa