The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has a land mass of 2.35 million km² and is bounded to the north by the Central African Republic and South Sudan; to the east by Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania; to the southeast by Zambia; and to the southwest by Angola. To the west are the country’s short Atlantic coastline, the Angolan exclave of Cabinda, and Congo (Brazzaville). It has a population of 95.9 million people and a GDP of US$62.7bn.
After the brutal Belgian colonial rule under King Leopold II, the DRC has been independent for 62 years, but did not experience its first peaceful transition of power until January 2019. Félix Tshisekedi, son of longstanding opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, won the December 2018 presidential election and succeeded Joseph Kabila, son of former dictator Laurent Kabila, who had led the country for 18 years.
The DRC contains unexploited deposits of coal, lithium and uranium, while cobalt, copper, diamonds, gold, lead, manganese, niobium, silver, tantalum, tin, tungsten and zinc are produced. The country’s 2 million artisanal and small-scale miners produce around 50% of its gold, between 20% and 40% of its cobalt, and most of its diamonds, niobium, tantalum, tin, and tungsten. State-owned company La Generale des Carrieres et des Mines owns several cobalt and copper mines as well as stakes in various joint ventures with mostly multinational mining companies. The government owns an 80% interest in the diamond mining company Societe Miniere de Bakwanga
Real GDP grew 8.5% in 2022, up from 6.2% in 2021, due to momentum in the extractive sector (which grew 20.8%) and recovery in the non-extractive sector (which grew 3.2%), driven by services despite a deteriorating security situation in the east of the country. Economic growth was driven on the demand side by strong exports (which grew 23.8%) and investment (which grew 18.6%), despite the global energy crisis.
Real GDP is projected to grow 8% in 2023 and 7.2% in 2024, driven by the extractive sector, which is expected to grow at least 12% between 2023 and 2024. Priority investment by the agricultural transformation programme could boost growth further. The extractive sector has the potential to boost climate finance, and foreign exchange reserves could reach US$6.4bn (1.9 months of import cover) on average over 2023 and 2024.
Sources: Who Owns Whom sector reports, CIA Factbook, African Development Bank, World Bank, Trading Economics, African Statistical Yearbook and IMF.