• Civil wars and militia conflicts have plagued the Republic of Congo, also referred to as Congo-Brazzaville.
  • The Republic of Congo is one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s main oil producers. Oil is the mainstay of the economy and in recent years the country has tried to increase financial transparency in the sector.
  • In recent years poverty has decreased significantly. Due to the high level of urbanization and low levels of food production it is estimated that the Congolese market has a great potential for imported foodstuffs



67.5 mill.

(% of population)

65 %

Corruption Perception Index

23 / Rank 146

Income per Capita

385 USD

Income Distribution (gini index)

40 (2011)

Tourism contribution to GDP

3.9 %

Annual growth rate

2.5 %

Wholesale & retail sector (% of GDP)

6.1 % (2014)

Travel Turist industry growth forecast

1.7 %

Import 2015

Trading partner - EXPORT

China 35 %, Australia 9%, Gabon 8%

Main export of goods (USD):

Petroleum, lumber, plywood, sugar, cocoa, coffee, diamonds

Export 2015

Trading partner - IMPORT

France 17%, China 15%, Belgium 14%

Main import of goods (USD):

Capital equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs


Sources:  World Bank, AfDB, CIA Factbook & Transparency International

  1. World Bank: Population, Income pr. Capita (current USD 2015), Annual growth rate (2015), Urbanization (% of population), Income distribution (Gini index of 0 represents a perfectly equal distribution of income, where all income recipients receive the same income. The greater inequality, the higher the gini index. If the gini-index is 100, one person earns the entire income in the economy. ), Poverty at 1,25/day
  2. AfDB 2011: Middle class distribution: Middle class with floating class ($2-20 per day) / Middle class without floating class ($4-20 per day)
  3. Transparency International 2014: Corruption Perception Index (a scale from 0-100, where 0 means the country is highly corrupt and a 100 mean that a country is perceived as very clean). The ranking is out of 168 countries.
  4. The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015, World Bank
  5. World Integrated Trade Solutions, World Bank 2015: Trading partners, main imports and exports of goods

The political climate

The political climate has been stable since the end of the civil war in 2000. However, remnants of the civil war militias, known as Ninjas, are still active in the southern Pool region. Most of them have yet to disarm and many have turned to banditry.  The Northern part of Congo is in power and the Southern ethnic groups form a non-organized opposition. 90% of the country’s income is from oil, centralizing the wealth in the hands of few people. In 2010, the IMF and World Bank approved debt relief for the Republic of Congo of $1.9 billion, reducing its debt burden by 34 per cent in an effort to free up resources to support growth and social policies. President Sassou-Nguesso won the 2016 election with 60 % of the votes and therefore enters his 3rd term in office.

According to Transparency International’s Corruptions Perception Index, which measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption worldwide, Congo ranks 146 out of 168 countries with a score of 23. This is a sign of widespread bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and public institutions that don’t respond to citizens need.

Primary production

In 2011-2012 agriculture and livestock sectors were among the top performers with almost double digit growth rates and agriculture is one amongst five sectors which have demonstrated high potential to contribute to economic diversification. The Niari Valley in the Southwestern part is amongst the most fertile areas. Two-thirds of Congo is covered with rainforest and only 2 percent of the soil is cultivated. Due to two rain seasons there is a possibility to harvest twice a year. Due to safety reasons is it not recommendable to start aquaculture in the Congo along the rivers.  

Agricultural production consists of sugar, yams, cocoa, bananas, cassava and groundnuts. The Congo imports approximately $250 million in food products each year, which represents at least 75 percent of Congolese food consumption; poultry (137 billion US$), rice (78 billion US$), wheat (55 billion US$), frozen bovine meat (47 billion US$), fish (40 billion US$), milk (28 billion US$), and pig meat (8 billion US$). Most of these imports currently pass through the Brazzaville port by boat from Kinshasa, the capital of the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Farmers complain about problems in getting farm equipment through the port and lack of access to basic sanitation such as water.

Agriculture, value added (% GDP)  Food imports  Food exports  
 7,5 18 



Since 1999 the government has implemented policies or programs aimed at boosting agricultural production. The government has been working with national and international experts to increase food and cash crop production. The Republic of the Congo is currently undertaking reforms to its investment policy framework in order to attract and benefit more from foreign direct investment and promote agricultural development.

Commercial indicators

People living for US$ 1.25 per day have declined from 54.1% in 2005 to 32.8% in 2011. The oil industry does not require much labor, which implies that 53 % of the population is unemployed. It is difficult to move up the middle class, in order to have money you have to be closer to power.

Wholesale & retail  Retail growth  Informal/traditional open trade 
 6,1 (2014) N.A.  N.A. 
The society is very hierarchical and power is centralized. Indigenous groups are often concentrated in isolated rural areas they are not registered to vote and are actively discriminated against which leaves them politically marginalized. Congo is a highly collectivistic society which is manifested in a close long-term commitment to the member group. This implies that loyalty is paramount and overrules most other societal rules and regulations. The society fosters strong relationships where everyone takes responsibility for fellow members of their group; in a collectivist society offence leads to shame and loss of face.  Managers are expected to be decisive and assertive. The Congolese society is more normative than pragmatic. In normative societies there is a great respect for traditions, a relatively small propensity to save for the future and a focus on achieving quick results.

Building economic infrastructure is a key priority in Congo. Congo currently underperforms in transport, in electricity and in water and sanitation. Congo’s poor transport and energy infrastructure need particular attention. With regard to road infrastructure, only 7.1 percent of the road network is paved compared to an average of 18.3 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa. Due to lack of rehabilitation and maintenance, Congo’s railway network is one of the least developed in the continent. The number of accidents per km traveled is 0.05 percent against 0.001 percent and 0.03 percent in Cameroon and DRC, respectively. Despite an estimated 14,000 MWh of hydroelectric potential, access to energy infrastructure in Congo is low. Only 30 percent of the population has access to electricity, well below the low income country average (41 percent). Access to electricity in rural areas remains low at about 5 percent. Significant efforts have been made to expand access to mobile phones with good results. In 2009 the number of mobile phone subscriptions per 100 people was 53 compared to 37.3 for the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa.  According to the 2014 Doing Business report, it takes 54 days to import goods and 50 days to export goods. The railway between Pointe- Noire and Brazzaville is inefficient with high freight tariffs, and the road between the two cities is still under construction. The rail network is among the worst in Africa in terms of service quality and safety. Rail traffic fell by two-thirds during the conflict and has not yet returned to pre-conflict levels. Tariffs, at US$ 0.16 per ton/km, are up to three times as high as in Southern Africa. This is due to insufficient rehabilitation and maintenance of tracks, outdated and insufficient rolling stock, weak internal supervision, management deficits and human resource limitations. Surface transportation costs are more than double the Southern Africa average. China recently invested in new A/C train carriages decided to invest in providing new engines for the trains running between Pointe Noire and Brazzaville.


The port Pointe Noire harbor is the only deep-water port in the entire Gulf of Guinea and is frequently used by Mærsk. The Congolese government is taking measures to improve the current infrastructure situation. From 2006 to 2013 about 1000 km of national, sub-regional and urban roads have been built, paved or rehabilitated. Furthermore, the building of the Pointe-Noire-Brazzaville-Ouesso truck road (asphalted) by China State Construction Engineering will enable a drive all the way from northern to southern Congo. Furthermore, the government has launched a program to rehabilitate, modernize and extent the autonomous Port of Painte-Noire (PAPN), build or rehabilitate 8 airports and repairing and modernizing the Congo-Ocean Railway (WB 2014).

Paved roads (% of total)  Total network (railways km)  Mobile Cellular subscribers (per 100 people)  Airports with paved runways 
 7 (2009) 510 (2014)   53 (2014) 8 (2014) 

Tourism is not yet a developed sector. Market failures are almost complete. Tourism contributes to 3.9 percent of GDP and the growth prospect is low, 1.7 percent. The Congolese government is pursuing a proactive policy to develop tourism and hospitality, which aims at promoting the ecological heritage of Congo, develop tourist sites and improve hotels and leisure facilities. With the establishment of a new air link by the Congolese national airline, ECAir, between Dubai and Brazzaville, more Chinese tourists are expected to visit Congo during thepnextpyear.

Middle class distribution (millions)

Religion (percentage)

Hofstede's culture dimension

The Danish Embassy in Congo



Currently Denmark does not have an Embassy in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Danish Ambassador to DR Congo is Trine Rask Thygesen, Pretoria, South Africa. Please contact the Embassy of Denmark in South Africa which also covers Congo. 


The Embassy of Denmark, South Africa

iParioli Office Park, Block B2

1166 Park Street

Hatfield 0083



Tlf: +27 (012) 430-9340


Click here to visit the website of the Embassy