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Overview

The Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), located in Central Africa, covers 342,000 km2. Its population of 5.7 million people is largely young, with 47% being under age 18. More than half of the population lives in its two main cities — Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire. The country is one of the least densely populated in Africa, with 14.8 inhabitants per square kilometer. 

Covered mainly by tropical forests, the Republic of Congo also has one of the largest areas of tropical peatlands, a fragile ecosystem that removes carbon from the atmosphere and stores it, thus helping to slow global warming. The oil sector accounts for about half of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 80% of its exports, making it the third largest producer in Sub Saharan Africa. The country also has a wealth of mineral resources that remain largely untapped. 

Political Context

President Denis Sassou Nguesso was reelected in March 2021. He led the country for the first time from 1979 to 1992, returned to power in 1997, and has won all elections since 2002. A new Prime Minister Anatole Collinet Makosso was appointed in May 2021 and is leading a government whose priorities include institutional, economic, financial, social, and inclusive governance. 

Social Context

With a human capital index (HCI) of 0.42, the Republic of Congo is behind the average of 0.48 for its peers Low Middle-Income Countries (LMICs).  The country has only made modest improvements in health and education on the Human Development Index (HDI), despite its recent increase in income per capita. Infant mortality remains high at a rate of 32 deaths per 1,000 live births. Only 30% of primary school children have attained the required proficiency levels in math and 40% in French. Access to electricity stands at 66% of the population in urban areas compared to just 15% in rural areas. Access to clean water is below the country’s hydrological potential as 74% of the population has access to a clean water source, while access in rural areas is lower at 46%.

The dynamics of social exclusion and drivers of fragility in the Republic of Congo are multidimensional and further exacerbate poverty and inequality. They go beyond the spatial disparities between urban and rural areas, and they are exemplified in the divide between population groups, with women, youth, persons with disabilities, and indigenous people (IP) being the most vulnerable. While Congolese women represent more than half of the population, gender disparities are evident and considered as key barriers towards enhancing women’s voice and socio-economic empowerment. Republic of Congo ranked 147/170 countries in 2021 in terms of gender inequalities, in the international gender inequality index classification. Youth unemployment has also increased over the years and has reached around 42 % which puts additional strain on the fragility of the country.

Economic Context

After growing by an estimated 1.5% in 2022, the Congolese economy is continuing to recover in 2023, driven by both the oil and non-oil sectors. However, GDP growth per capita remained negative in 2022 and poverty incidence consequently increased slightly to an estimated 46.6%.

Overall inflation remained contained in 2022, but the fuel price adjustment and increased domestic demand are pushing up inflation in 2023, which averaged 3.5% (y-o-y) in 2023H1. Food inflation decelerated in 2023H1 but remains elevated (averaging 4.6% (y-o-y) in 2023H1 compared to 6.2% in 2022), which is likely to continue to affect the poorer segments of the population more. Although Congo remains in debt distress due to arrears, higher oil revenues, improved debt management, and debt restructuring agreements helped restore the sustainability of public debt, which fell from 92.1% of GDP at end-2021 to 90.6% at end-2022.

GDP is forecast to grow at a rate of 3.2% in 2023 and 3.5% on average in 2024-2025. This outlook is subject to downside risks, including volatile oil prices and unsteady oil production, an escalation of the war in Ukraine and related spillovers, weaker-than-expected global demand, a further tightening of global or regional financial conditions, adverse weather conditions and weak reform implementation.

Last Updated: Sep 29, 2023

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Republic of the Congo: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments
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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
Immeuble Tours Jumelles,
4ème Etage (face Hotel Radisson Blu)
Av Amilcar Cabral, Centre-Ville
Brazzaville, Republic of Congo
+242 05 550 30 55
+242 06 852 53 62
For general information and inquiries
Franck Sidney Chrysantheme Bitemo
Communication Associate
+242 05 675 06 99
+242 06 959 39 93
For project-related issues and complaints