• 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% 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, the DRC has the potential to become one of the richest countries on the African continent and a driver of African growth if it can overcome its 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 of the DRC since 2001. Presidential and parliamentary elections planned initially for November 27, 2016 have been delayed due to an outdated electoral register. Efforts to defuse the political crisis into which the country has since been plunged have been made by the African Union facilitator, Mr. Edem Kodjo, and the Congolese episcopate, acting as mediators 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 President Joseph Kabila and the opposition, until presidential elections are held in late 2017.

    The agreement also stipulates that the president will not seek a third term. Moreover, the signatories agreed that no revision of the Constitution will be attempted in that period. However, this agreement never entered into force. Since its signature, the president has nominated two prime ministers who have not been recognized by the opposition.  Furthermore, the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) believes that the elections will not be able to take place in late 2017 as planned since revision of the electoral register has not been completed. 

    Economic Overview

    After sharply increasing to almost 9% in the 2013-2014 period, the GDP growth rate (excluding inflation) decelerated to 6.9% in 2015, then to 2.4% in 2016, its lowest point since 2001. This slump is mainly due to declining prices and a shrinking global demand for raw materials exported by the country, particularly of copper and cobalt, which account for 80% of its export revenue. This economic shock led to a deterioration in external accounts and a downturn in the country’s exchange rate in 2016, as well as a 31% drop in the exchange rate of the Congolese franc against the dollar, which fueled runaway inflation of almost 24%. In 2017, growth is expected to reach 2.6%, driven by the moderate increase in commodity prices and national mining production. However, the national currency is expected to continue its decline against the dollar as the rate of inflation increases.

    Public finances also deteriorated in 2016, with a growing fiscal deficit of -1.6% of GDP against -0.2% in 2015. The drop in export revenue was reflected in a decrease in State revenue. Lacking access to domestic and international financial markets, the Government had to drastically reduce public expenditure to contain the deficit and limit monetary financing by the Central Bank of the Congo.

    The Government has launched sectoral 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. The DRC participates in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and regularly publishes reports on 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 decrease in the poverty rate, from 71% to 64% between 2005 and 2012, the DRC still ranks among the poorest countries in the world, at position 176 out of 187 countries, on the most recent Human Development Index calculated by the UN (2015). The United Nations estimates that there are some 2.3 million displaced persons and refugees in the DRC and 323,000 DRC nationals living in refugee camps outside the country. 

    Last Updated: Dec 05, 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. These commitments total $2.5 billion, of which 42% has already been disbursed. The portfolio is distributed across the various sectors as follows: 63% for infrastructure (transport, energy, urban development, and water), 16% for human development, 15% for development of the private sector and agriculture, and 6% for governance and mining.

    The Bank's current Country Assistance Strategy for the DRC, to be completed in 2017, has been subject to review. The review confirmed that the CAS objectives are still aligned with the DRC development goals, and showed that 10 of the 14 expected outcomes will likely be achieved. In November 2016, the Bank held discussions with the various stakeholders with a view to conducting a Systematic Country Diagnostic. The Bank is currently developing a new Country Partnership Framework for 2018-2021.

    Last Updated: Dec 05, 2017

  • Noteworthy changes in key areas are outlined below.


    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.


    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 classrooms. The program has also provided $20 million to procure textbooks in French, mathematics, civic education, and science as well as build 35 computer labs (or resource centers) for distance and in-service training.


    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% of the high-priority road network has been found to be in good condition (against 13.8% in 2009).


    To facilitate capacity building in the national electricity company, Société nationale d’électricité (SNEL), the World Bank Group supported the implementation of its performance contract with the Government, the establishment of its new executive board, the recruitment of technical experts, and the implementation of a service contract, as well as the preparation of a recovery plan. As a result, the company’s revenues have increased 30% per kWh.

    World Bank Group financing helped rehabilitate the first unit of the Inga 1 Dam, which is currently functioning and provides 55 MW. In addition to bringing four of the 114 turbines of Inga 1 and Inga 2 back into service, it also helped install a compensator at Kimwenza (approximately 30 MW), rehabilitate the Inga-Kolwezi-Kassumbalessa transmission line, and install a fiber optic network.

    Last Updated: Dec 05, 2017

  • Donors are organized through the “Donors Coordination Group (GCP)” and aim to strengthen the dialogue with the Government of the DRC and streamline the action of the community of development partners. The World Bank actively participates in that group and is developing numerous bilateral partnerships. For instance, UN-World Bank collaboration has helped achieve important accomplishments in the areas of demobilization of former combatants, education, and health. The WBG, working with UNICEF and USAID, has strengthened government capacity in the area of child protection services. The WBG also leveraged financial support from development agencies in the United Kingdom, France, and Belgium to modernize public financial management and the Congolese public administration.

    Last Updated: Dec 05, 2017



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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
49, Boulevard Colonel Tshatshi
Kinshasa/Gombe, RDC
For general information and inquiries
Franck Sidney Chrysantheme Bitemo
Communications Associate
Brazzaville, Rép. du Congo
For project-related issues and complaints