Overview

  • Country Overview

    The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the largest country in Francophone Africa, has vast natural resources and spans a surface area of 2.3 million square kilometers. Fewer than 40 percent of the nearly 77 million inhabitants live in urban areas.  With 80 million hectares of arable land and over 1,100 minerals and precious metals identified, the DRC has the potential to become one of the richest economies on the African continent and a driver of African growth, provided the country manages to overcome political instability.

    Political Context

    The DRC is still recovering from a series of conflicts that broke out in the 1990s creating a protracted economic and social slump. Joseph Kabila has been head of state since 2006. Presidential and parliamentary elections planned initially for November 27, 2016 have been delayed due to an outdated electoral register. The country has since been in the throes of a political crisis. Efforts to defuse that situation are being made by the African Union facilitator, Edem Kodjo, and the Congolese episcopate, acting as mediators in discussions between the Government and the opposition parties. A new agreement, signed on December 31, 2016, provides for a transition period during which power will be exercised jointly by Joseph Kabila and the opposition, until his successor is elected in late 2017. The agreement clearly stipulates that the president will not seek a third mandate. Moreover, the signatories agreed that no revision of the Constitution will be attempted in that period. However, the agreement has not yet entered into force. On April 7, 2017, the President designated a new Prime Minister, contravening the December 31 agreement. Furthermore, the bishops recently withdrew from mediation talks, noting the failure of that agreement.

    Economic Overview

    After sharply increasing to almost 9 percent in the period 2013-2014, the real gross domestic product (GDP) rate decelerated in 2015 and the growth rate is not expected to exceed 2.5 percent in 2016. This slump is mainly due to declining raw material prices and a shrinking global demand for raw materials.

    In 2016, budget performance deteriorated from a 0.1 percent of GDP surplus to a 1.5 percent of GDP deficit, mainly as a result of decreasing revenue and the rise of inflation to an annual average of 5.7 percent.

    The Government has launched reforms to strengthen governance and transparency in the extractive industries (forestry, mining, and oil sectors) and to improve the business climate. Currently, almost all contracts signed by the Government are accessible to the public. Moreover, the DRC participates in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and regularly publishes revenues from natural resources. However, systematizing the procedures necessary for a competitive process in awarding mining, oil, and forestry contracts requires additional efforts on the part of the Government.

    Social Context

    Despite a reduction in the poverty rate from 71 percent in 2005 to 64 percent in 2012, the poverty rate remains high in the DRC. The country is among the poorest countries in the world and was ranked 176 out of 187 countries on the latest United Nations Human Development Index (2015).  The United Nations estimates that there are some 2.3 million displaced persons and refugees in the country and 323,000 DRC nationals living in refugee camps outside the country. 

    Last Updated: Apr 19, 2017

  • World Bank Group Engagement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

    The Bank re-engaged in the DRC in 2001 after nearly a decade of suspension of its activities.

    In recent years, the Bank's DRC portfolio has shifted from an “emergency assistance” mode to a “sustainable development” strategy. The portfolio currently comprises 24 projects (excluding regional projects) and 57 trust funds. Of the $2.51 billion that those commitments represent, 42 percent have been disbursed.  The portfolio is spread across sectors, with close to 63 percent of the commitments in infrastructure (transport, energy, urban development, and water), 16 percent in human development, 15 percent in the private sector and agriculture, and 6 percent in governance and mining.  

    The Bank's current Country Assistance Strategy for the DRC, to be completed in 2017, has been the subject of a Performance and Learning Review (PLR)performance and learning review. The review confirmed that the CAS objectives are still aligned with the DRC development goals, and that 10 of the 14 expected outcomes are on track. In November 2016, the Bank held discussions with the various stakeholders with a view to the conduct of a Systematic Country Diagnostic. The Bank is currently developing a new Country Partnership Framework for 2018-2021.

    Last Updated: Apr 20, 2017

  • Noteworthy changes in key areas are outlined below.

    Health

    As a result of extensive anti-poliomyelitis vaccination campaigns and the provision of millions of dollars in essential medications, the DRC has succeeded in eradicating poliomyelitis, improving access to health care, and reducing maternal mortality. The World Bank also financed the restoration of more than 500 central dispensaries and hospitals in the provinces of Equateur, Katanga, Maniema, and Bandundu and the distribution of almost 18 million treated mosquito nets.

    Education

    The Support to Basic Education Program, funded by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and supervised by the World Bank Group, increased access and equity in primary education and rehabilitated 728 out of 825 classrooms in the country. The program has also provided $20 million to procure learning materials such as textbooks in French, mathematics, civic education, and science as well as establish 35 technological labs (or resource centers) to accompany distance and in-service training.

    Infrastructure

    The reopening of 1,530 kilometers of national roads in Province Orientale, South Kivu, and Katanga paved the way for economic recovery. To date, 36.1 percent of the high-priority road network has been found to be in good condition (against 13.8 percent in 2009).

    Energy

    To help capacity building in the national electricity company, Société nationale d’électricité (SNEL), the World Bank Group supported the implementation of a performance contract between the Government and SNEL, the establishment of a new executive board, the recruitment of technical experts, the implementation of a service contract with Manitoba Hydro International, and the creation of a recovery plan for SNEL. As a result, the company’s revenues have increased 30 percent per kWh.

    World Bank Group financing helped rehabilitate the first unit (G2) at Inga 1, which is currently functioning and brings an additional 55 MW. It also helped install a compensator at Kimwenza (approximately 30 MW) to the network, to rehabilitate the Inga-Kolwezi-Kassumbalessa transmission line, and to install a fiber optic network in addition to four turbines of the 114 included in Inga 1 and Inga 2.

    Last Updated: Apr 19, 2017

  • Donors are organized through the “Donors Coordination Group (GCP)” and aim to strengthen the dialogue with the Government of DRC in order to reach mutual commitments for cooperation and to streamline the action of the development partners’ community. The World Bank actively participates in that Group and is developing numerous bilateral partnerships. For instance, UN-World Bank collaboration has been essential and has helped achieve important accomplishments in a number of areas including demobilization, education, and health. In social protection, the WBG, working with UNICEF and USAID, helped put in place government capacity to monitor services quality delivery in child protection. The WBG leveraged financial support from United Kingdom’s, France’s, and Belgium’s development agencies for its public financial management and public administration support activities.

    Last Updated: Apr 19, 2017

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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
+243-997-5019
Kinshasa/Gombe, RDC
Louise Mekonda Engulu
Senior Communications Officer
49, Boulevard Colonel Tshatshi
Kinshasa/Gombe, RDC
+243-0817-005-215
lengulu@worldbank.org
Washington
Yisgedu Amde
Country Program Coordinator
1818 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20433
+1-202-473-2203
yamde@worldbank.org