Economy of the Republic of the Congo

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Republic of the Congo Map Economy

Economy - overview: The economy is a mixture of village agriculture and handicrafts, an industrial sector based largely on oil, support services, and a government characterized by budget problems and overstaffing. Oil has supplanted forestry as the mainstay of the economy, providing a major share of government revenues and exports. In the early 1980s, rapidly rising oil revenues enabled the government to finance large-scale development projects with GDP growth averaging 5% annually, one of the highest rates in Africa. Moreover, the government has mortgaged a substantial portion of its oil earnings, contributing to the government's shortage of revenues. The 12 January 1994 devaluation of Franc Zone currencies by 50% resulted in inflation of 61% in 1994, but inflation has subsided since. Economic reform efforts continued with the support of international organizations, notably the World Bank and the IMF. The reform program came to a halt in June 1997 when civil war erupted. Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO, who returned to power when the war ended in October 1997, publicly expressed interest in moving forward on economic reforms and privatization and in renewing cooperation with international financial institutions. However, economic progress was badly hurt by slumping oil prices and the resumption of armed conflict in December 1998, which worsened the Republic of the Congo's budget deficit. Even with the IMF's renewed confidence and high world oil prices, Congo is unlikely to realize growth of more than 5% in 2001-02. With the return to fragile peace, the IMF approved a $14 million credit in November 2000 to aid post-conflict reconstruction.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $3.1 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 5% (1999 est.), 3.8% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,100 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture:  10%
industry:  48%
services:  42% (1999 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4% (1999 est.), 3.5% (2000 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $870 million
expenditures: $970 million (1997 est.)
Industries: petroleum extraction, cement kilning, lumbering, brewing, sugar milling, palm oil, soap, cigarette making
Electricity - production: 302 million kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel:  0.66%
hydro:  99.34%
nuclear:  0%
other:  0% (1999)
Agriculture - products: cassava (tapioca), sugar, rice, corn, peanuts, vegetables, coffee, cocoa; forest products
Exports: $1.7 billion (f.o.b., 1999), $2.6 billion (f.o.b., 2000)
Exports - commodities: petroleum 50%, lumber, plywood, sugar, cocoa, coffee, diamonds
Exports - partners: US 23%, Benelux 14%, Germany, Italy, Taiwan, China (1998)
Imports: $770 million (f.o.b., 1999), $870 million (f.o.b., 2000)
Imports - commodities: petroleum products, capital equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs
Imports - partners: France 23%, United States 9%, Belgium 8%, United Kingdom 7%, Italy (1997 est.)
Debt - external: $5 billion (1999 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: $159.1 million (1995)
Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note - responsible authority is the Bank of the Central African States

SOURCE: The World Factbook

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Republic of the Congo Map Economy