The Democratic Republic of the Congo (French: République démocratique du Congo), also known as DR Congo, DRC, DROC, Congo-Kinshasa, or simply the Congo is a country located in Central Africa. From 1971 to 1997 it was named Zaire, and from 1908 to 1960 it was called the Belgian Congo. The DRC borders the Central African Republic, and South Sudan to the north; Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania to the east; Zambia and Angola to the south; the Republic of the Congo to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest. It is the second largest country in Africa by area, the largest in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the eleventh largest in the world. With a population of over 80 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most populated officially Francophone country, the fourth most populated nation in Africa and the eighteenth most populated country in the world.
The DRC’s banking system is comprised of the BCC and 18 commercial banks as well as savings/credit cooperatives, microfinance institutions, financial transfer services, and one development bank, SOFIDE. A postal checking system and several credit cooperatives exist, but most of these institutions do not function well, if at all. Citibank-DRC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Citigroup, is the only U.S. bank in the DRC.
The vast majority of commercial bank activity in the DRC is focused on short-term credit, which is offered to a restricted number of private enterprises, exchange market operations and export-import services. Three-quarters of disbursed credit is short-term, less than one year. The political context, the weakness of the legal system, and the hostile business climate do not encourage banks to provide long-term loans, despite the dire need for longer-term investment to finance the renovation and rehabilitation of the DRC’s derelict industrial and agricultural sectors. Loans are generally denominated in foreign currencies, which further diminish what little confidence economic operators have in the national currency. There are only limited possibilities for banks to finance major projects in Congolese Francs, given the comparison between the level of their own Congolese Franc holdings (on average USD 12 million per bank) and foreign currency deposits which account for on average 70.3 percent of their commitments.
Most DRC commercial banks do not require the payment of service fees to open bank accounts. Most banks require individuals and companies to have a minimum deposit of up to USD 100. Some banks, like Citibank and Standard Bank, do not have commercial banking operations, working only with corporate and institutional clients.
Though the banking system is gradually expanding, particularly after the GDRC required civil servants to receive their salaries through direct deposit, most bank accounts are used only to receive paychecks and these are usually withdrawn in full shortly after being deposited.
|Agriculture||coffee, palm oil, rubber, cotton, sugar, tea, cocoa, rice, cassava|
|Manufacture||mining, textiles, plastics, cigarettes, metal products, lumber, cement|
|Services (Including financial)||33.1% (2012 estimate)|
|Air Congo||Defunct Airlines|
|Central Bank of the Congo||Financial|
|Commercial Bank of Congo||Financial|
|Radio Television Groupe Avenir||Telecommunications|
Ongoing conflicts dramatically reduced government revenue increased external debt. As Reyntjens wrote, “Entrepreneurs of insecurity are engaged in extractive activities that would be impossible in a stable state environment. The criminalization context in which these activities occur offers avenues for considerable factional and personal enrichment through the trafficking of arms, illegal drugs, toxic products, mineral resources, and dirty money.” Ethnic rivalries were made worse because of economic interests and there was lots of looting and smuggling of coltan. Illegal monopolies started forming in the country where they used forced labor for children to mine or work as soldiers. National parks were overrun with people looking to exploit minerals and resources. Increased poverty and hunger from the war and that increased the hunting of rare wildlife. Education was denied when the country was under foreign control and very few people make money of the minerals in the country. The national resources are not the root cause for the continued fighting in the region, however, the competition has become an incentive to keep fighting. The DRC’s level of economic freedom is one of the lowest in the world putting it in the repressed category. The armed militias fight with the government in the Eastern section of the country over the mining sector or the corruption of the government and weak policies lead to the instabilities of the economy. The abuse of human rights also ruins economic activity considering that the DRC has a 7% unemployment rate, but still has one of the lowest GDP’s per capita in the world. A major problem for people trying to start their own companies is that the minimum amount of capital needed to launch the company is 5 times the average annual income and prices are regulated by the government which almost forces people to have to work for the larger, more corrupt businesses otherwise they won’t have work. It is hard for the DRC to encourage foreign trade because of the barriers to regulation.
The Congolese Civil Wars, which began in 1996, brought about the end of Mobutu Sese Seko's 32-year reign and devastated the country. The wars ultimately involved nine African nations, multiple groups of UN peacekeepers and twenty armed groups, and resulted in the deaths of 5.4 million people.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is extremely rich in natural resources, but political instability, a lack of infrastructure, deep rooted corruption, and centuries of both commercial and colonial extraction and exploitation have limited holistic development. Besides the capital, Kinshasa, the other major cities, Lubumbashi and Mbuji-Mayi, are both mining communities. DR Congo's largest export is raw minerals, with China accepting over 50% of DRC's exports in 2012.
As of 2013, according to the Human Development Index (HDI), DR Congo has a low level of human development, ranking 176 out of 187 countries.
Augustin Matata Ponyo
The franc is the currency of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is subdivided into 100 centimes.
The franc was re-established in 1997, replacing the new zaïre at a rate of 1 franc = 100,000 new zaïres. This was equivalent to 300,000,000,000,000 old francs.
Coins were issued but inflation having taken its toll, they are no longer used. The smallest note in use is 10 francs.
In July 1998, banknotes were introduced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 centimes, 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 francs, though all are dated 01.11.1997. 200-franc notes were introduced in 2000, followed by 500-franc notes in 2002. As of June, 2012 the only negotiable instrument in circulation in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo are banknotes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 francs.
In 2010, Banque Centrale du Congo issued 20 million 500 franc banknotes to commemorate the country's 50th anniversary of independence from Belgium.
On July 2, 2012, the Banque Centrale du Congo issued new banknotes in denominations of 1000, 5000, 10,000 and 20,000 francs.
|National Song||"Debout Congolais"|
|Currency||Congolese franc (CDF)|
|GDP / GDP Rank||65.037 Billion USD|
|GDP Growth Rate||7.7 Percent|
|GDP Per Captial||$773.055 (PPP)|
UTC+01:00 (WAT) — western part of the country
UTC+02:00 (CAT) — eastern part of the country
< 1.0% Hindus
< 1.0% Buddhists
< 1.0% Jews
< 1.0% Other Religions
President - Félix Tshisekedi
Prime Minister - Vital Kamerhe
|Website||Go to the web|
|Public Debt||21.506 Percent|
|Unemployment Rate||3.636 Percent|
|Labor Force (Occupation)||-|