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- GDP (PPP):
- $55.8 billion
- 9.1% growth
- 7.7% 5-year compound annual growth
- $704 per capita
- Inflation (CPI):
- FDI Inflow:
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s immense natural resources, including copper and diamonds, have fueled conflict rather than lasting economic development. Despite annual average growth of around 8 percent since 2012, the economy has not achieved meaningful structural transformation. Political unrest has led foreign businesses to limit their operations, and the weak rule of law remains a powerful disincentive to expanding economic activity in the formal sector.
Economic Freedom Snapshot
- 2016 Economic Freedom Score: 46.4 (up 1.4 points)
- Economic Freedom Status: Repressed
- Global Ranking: 163rd
- Regional Ranking: 40th in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Notable Successes: Monetary Freedom
- Concerns: Property Rights, Corruption, and Investment Freedom
- Overall Score Change Since 2012: +5.3
The Democratic Republic of Congo is home to a long-running conflict between government forces historically backed by Angola, Namibia, and Zimbabwe and rebels supported by Uganda and Rwanda. In 2013, rebel activity in the eastern regions prompted the United Nations to form the Force Intervention Brigade, part of its MONUSCO peacekeeping mission, to begin offensive operations. In 2006, Joseph Kabila won the first multi-party election in 40 years. He was reelected in December 2011 in a flawed process rife with violence. His apparent determination to seek a third term in 2016 despite a constitutional prohibition has sparked protests that have been met with a harsh crackdown by the government.
Massive government corruption and weak rule of law remain prevalent. The clandestine trade in minerals and other natural resources in eastern Congo by armed rebel militias and elements of the army helps to finance violence and depletes government revenues. Protection of property rights is weak and dependent on a dysfunctional public administration and judicial system. Human rights abuses and banditry deter economic activity.
The top personal income tax rate is 30 percent, and the top corporate tax rate is 40 percent. Other taxes include a rental tax and a tax on vehicles. The overall tax burden equals 13 percent of total domestic income. Tax enforcement is arbitrary. Government spending equals 12.7 percent of domestic output. Much of the public debt was cancelled in 2010 under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.
The regulatory system still discourages private entrepreneurship. Institutional deficiencies such as pervasive corruption and very limited access to credit discourage business start-ups. Much of the workforce is employed in the agricultural sector, and informal labor activity is widespread. Prices are controlled and regulated by the government, which also heavily subsidizes electricity.
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s average tariff rate is 12 percent. Importation of goods is costly and time-consuming. Foreign investment in some economic sectors is restricted. The private sector suffers from inadequate access to credit, particularly long-term loans, and overall use of financial services is highly constrained. Credit to the private sector amounts to less than 10 percent of GDP.