Republic of the Congo Economy

Republic of the Congo borders Cameroon and the Central African Republic to the north, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Angolan exclave Cabinda to the east and south, the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest and Gabon to the west.

As a country located in central Africa according to COUNTRYAAH.COM, Republic of the Congo stretches on both sides of the equator north and west of the border rivers Congo and Ubangi in the area of ​​the Congo Basin and its marginal thresholds. Flat layers of the extensive basin landscape and the heavily eroded threshold areas determine the surface forms; vast areas and hilly areas predominate. The highest peaks are in the area of ​​the Lower Guinea Sill (in the west of the country) in the mountainous region of Mayombe (Mont Nabemba: 1,020 m above sea level), which is in front of a flat coastal land on the Atlantic Ocean (40 km) in the south-west. Extensive swamps occur in the northeast of the country, in the basin of the lower Ubangi and Sanga.


Measured in terms of gross national income (GNI) of (2017) US $ 1,360 per resident, the Congo is one of the African low-income countries. The dominant branch of the economy since the mid-1970s has been the oil industry with a contribution of (2014) 95% of export earnings, 70% of state income and 59% of gross domestic product (GDP). As a result of the drop in oil prices on the world market and high foreign debt (2015: US $ 4.77 billion), the Republic of the Congo slipped into recession (GDP fell by 2.8% in 2016). The agricultural sector, which only generates 8.7% of GDP, has long been neglected in favor of – less successful – industrialization, but today it still employs around 30% of the workforce. Services and trade account for 41.1% of the generation of GDP.

Foreign trade: The country’s foreign trade balance is positive due to oil exports, but varies depending on the development of world market prices (import value in 2014: US $ 3.3 billion; export value US $ 6.6 billion). In addition to crude oil, mainly forestry products are exported. The main trading partners are China, France, Italy and Turkey.


Around 31% of the state’s land is used for agricultural purposes (around 2% arable land, 29% meadows and pastures). Manioc, maize, peanuts, yams, plantains are grown for self-sufficiency, while small amounts of coffee, cocoa and sugar cane ( cash crops ) are grown for export. Smallholders cultivate more than 90% of the area under cultivation. Due to the low fertility of the soil and the lack of traffic in rural areas, the country is dependent on the importation of agricultural products, especially wheat, rice and maize. Because of the lack of fertile pastureland and the spread of the tsetse fly, livestock farming is also not of great importance.

Forestry: Congo has large forests, around 65% of the country is designated as forest areas. Tropical precious woods such as okoumé and limba wood are exported. The timber industry is increasingly in the hands of foreign corporations.

Fisheries: Inshore and river fisheries are only important to meet the needs of the population.

Natural resources

The first oil deposits were discovered near Pointe-Noire as early as 1957; Since 1968, the production in the shelf area has taken a clear upswing. The oil reserves are 200 million t. The natural gas reserves (reserves: 90 billion m 3) are now also being used commercially. Other mineral resources include: Potash salts, diamonds, zinc, gold, phosphate, bauxite, iron ore, copper and magnesium.


In addition to the oil processing in Pointe-Noire (oil refinery), the food, textile, cement and chemical industries as well as wood processing are the most important branches of industry. Important industrial locations are Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire.


Thanks to the favorable climate, beautiful sandy beaches and lagoons as well as the savannahs and tropical rainforests, tourism has gained in importance and the number of foreign visitors (2014: 252,000) has risen sharply.


The transport network is concentrated in the southern parts of the country. The dense tropical forests and impassable swamp areas in the north are hardly developed. River navigation is the most important and often the only mode of transport here. The railway network consists of a 510 km east-west link from Brazzaville to Pointe-Noire. The most important road connection of the 17,300 km long road network runs parallel to this railway line. The south-north axis from Brazzaville via Owando to Ouesso on the border with Cameroon is also of great importance. The rather dense river network (Congo, Ubangi and the tributaries) favors inland navigation. The main axis of the inland waterway network with a length of 1,120 km is the connection from Brazzaville to Bangui (Central African Republic). The country’s only overseas port is Pointe-Noire. Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire and Oyo have international airports. There are also numerous airfields and landing strips.


The entire north and large parts of the Lower Guinea Sill are covered with tropical rainforest, which turns into wet forest on the flanks of the Lower Guinea Sill. Mangrove is widespread on the coast, followed by wet savannah.

Republic of the Congo Economy