Economy overview: The economy of the Republic of the Congo is a mixture of agriculture, handicrafts, industrial sectors (mainly oil production) and the public sector, characterized by budgetary problems and exorbitant bloat. The oil sector has replaced the forest industry as the backbone of the economy, providing the bulk of government revenue and exports. In the early 1980s rapidly growing oil revenues enabled the government to finance large-scale economic development projects, which allowed to raise the level of GDP growth to an average of 5% per year; this is one of the highest growth rates among African countries. Moreover, the government has pledged a significant portion of oil profits, making up for the shortfall in government revenues. The 50% devaluation of the CFA franc (January 12, 1994) led to inflation, which amounted to 61% in 1994, but since then the inflation rate has decreased. Attempts at economic reforms continued with the support of international organizations, especially the World Bank and the IMF. In June 1997, the reform program was suspended due to the outbreak of the civil war. Denis SASSU-NGESSO, who returned to power in October 1997, after the end of the war, publicly expressed his desire to continue economic reforms and privatization, as well as to resume cooperation with international financial institutions. However, in 1998 the country’s economy was seriously affected by the fall in oil prices and the resumption of armed conflict in December 1998, which led to a further increase in the budget deficit. Despite the rise in world oil prices and the resumption of relations with the IMF, the Republic of the Congo is unlikely to achieve in 2001-02. GDP growth exceeding 5%.
GDP: Purchasing Power Parity $3.1 billion (1999 est.)
Real GDP growth rate: 3.8% (2000 est.).
GDP per capita: at purchasing power parity – $1,100 (2000 est.).
The composition of GDP by sectors of the economy: agriculture: 10%; industry: 48%; services: 42% (1999 est.).
Proportion of the population below the poverty line: no data available.
Percentage distribution of household income or consumption: for the poorest 10% of households: n/a; by top 10% of households: no data.
Inflation rate at consumer prices: 3.5% (1999 est.).
Labor force: no data.
Unemployment rate: no data.
Budget: revenues: $870 million; expenditures: $970 million, including capital expenditures – NA (1997 est.).
Economic sectors: oil production, cement production, timber and woodworking industry, brewing, sugar, palm oil, soap and cigarette production.
Growth in industrial production: no data available.
Electricity generation: 302 million kWh (1999).
Sources of electricity generation: fossil fuels: 0.66%; hydropower: 99.34%; nuclear fuel: 0%; others: 0% (1999).
Electricity consumption: 406.9 million kWh (1999)
Electricity export: 0 kWh (1999).
Electricity import: 126 million kWh (1999).
Agricultural products: cassava (tapioca), sugar, rice, corn, peanuts, vegetables, coffee, cocoa; wood products.
Export: $2.6 billion (free on board, 2000)
Export articles: oil 50%, timber, plywood, sugar, cocoa, coffee, diamonds.
Export partners: USA 23%, Benelux 14%, Germany, Italy, Taiwan, China (1998).
Imports: $870 million (free on board, 2000)
Import articles: petroleum products, construction equipment, building materials, food products.
Import partners: France 23%, US 9%, Belgium 8%, UK 7%, Italy (1997 est.).
External debt: $5 billion (1997) Economic aid recipient: $159.1 million (1995)
Economic aid donor:
Currency: African Financial Community Franc (CFA franc, Communaute Finan-ciere Africaine franc); note – the circulation of the CFA franc is regulated by the Central Bank of West African countries.
Currency code: XOF.
Exchange rate: XOF/USD – 699.21 (January 2001), 711.98 (2000), 615.70 (1999), 589.95 (1998), 583.67 (1997), 511.55 (1996); note: since January 1, 1999, the CFA franc has been exchanged for the euro at a ratio of 655.957 CFA francs to 1 euro.
Fiscal year: calendar year.
Telecommunications Telephone lines: 22,000 (1997).
Mobile cell phones: 1,000 (1996).
Telephone system: a service that barely satisfies government needs; the main switches are in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire and Loubomo; long-distance lines are often out of service; domestic: the main network consists of a microwave radio link and a coaxial cable; international: satellite earth stations – 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean).
Broadcast stations: AM – 1, FM -5, shortwave – 1 (1999).
Radio receivers: 341,000 (1997).
Television broadcast stations: 1 (1999).
TVs: 33,000 (1997).
Internet country code: cg
Internet Service Providers: 1 (2000).
Number of users: 500 (2000).
Transport Railways: total length: 894 km; narrow gauge: 894 km (1.067 m gauge) (2000).
Roads: total length: 12,800 km; coated: 1,242 km; unpaved: 11,558 km (1996 est.)
Waterways: 1,120 km of shipping lanes on the Congo and Oubangi rivers for commercial transport; other rivers are used only for local transportation.
Pipelines: for crude oil – 25 km.
Ports and harbours: Brazzaville, Impfondo, Pointe-Noire, Huesso, Wayo.
Airports: 33 (2000 est.).
Airports with paved runways: total: 4; over 3,047 m: 1; from 1524 to 2437 m: 3 (2000 est.).
Airports with unpaved runways: total: 29; from 1524 to 2437 m:7; from 914 to 1523 m:12; less than 914 m: 10 (2000 est.).
Branches of the armed forces: army, air force, navy, gendarmerie. See militarynous.com to know more about Republic of the Congo Military.
Enlistment age: 20 years old.
Total Military Manpower: Male 15 to 49: 684,922 (2001 est.).
Eligible for military service: males aged 15 to 49: 347,946 (2001 est.).
Number of persons reaching military age each year: male: 32,350 (2001 est.).
Military spending in dollar terms: $110 million (1993)
Military spending as part of GDP: 3.8% (1993).
International issues International disputes: Most of the river’s border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo is undefined (no agreements have been reached on the division of the river and its islands, with the exception of the Stanley Pool [Pup-Malebo] area).