About CountryThe DR Congo has the third largest population (66 million in 2008) and the second largest land area (2.3 million Km2) in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is rich in natural and human resources, and is endowed with the second largest rain forest in the world, with fertile soils, ample rainfall, and considerable and varied mineral resources. Historically, mining (copper, cobalt, diamonds, gold, zinc, and other base metals) and petroleum extraction accounted for about 75 percent of total export revenues and about 25 percent of the country’s GDP.
Since 2001, the government has launched the implementation of economic, financial and structural reforms aimed at stabilizing the macroeconomic situation and the creation of a climate conductive to private sector-led development. It managed to break the hyperinflation cycle and to stabilize the exchange rate. From a rate of 511% in 2000, the inflation declined to 135% in 2001, and fell further to 18% in 2006. Reforms included the adoption of new investment, labor, mining, and forestry codes which are keys to attracting foreign investors and restoring transparency in traditionally opaque sectors. In addition, DR Congo reached the HIPC Decision Point in 2003 (with a total relief estimated at USD 6.3 billion for a total stock of outstanding external debt estimated at USD7.9 billion in NPV terms). As a result of the reforms, economic growth returned in 2003 after a decade of contraction. Growth stood at approximately 6 percent a year, driven mainly by a post-conflict rebound of basic activities (a pattern typical of post-conflict countries), notably in the trade, transport, construction, agriculture and selected manufacturing and services. In the coming years, the real GDP growth is projected to rise substantially with a recovery in mining and manufacturing. Private sector investment has been relatively high (about USD 2.7 billion in new investments since 2003).
Despite The global economic downturn which has had a profound effect on DR Congo economy, the economy remained resilient in 2008, maintaining growth at the 2003 to 2008 average. Playing off growing demand and record high prices for industrial commodities, increased activity in the extractive industries sector in the first three quarters of 2008 led to an 11 percentage increase in production in 2008 and stimulated growth in the construction and services sectors; this led to a structural change in the GDP growth composition in 2008.
While growth remains driven by trade and commerce, growth contributions from the extractive industries sector rose significantly from 5 to 24 percent. Growth was also maintained in the agriculture sector. The sectors contribution to growth stood at 18.8 percent in 2008, while that of transport and telecommunication was 8.0 percent.