Democratic Republic of Congo flag Democratic Republic of Congo: Buying and Selling

E-commerce in the Democratic Republic of Congo


Internet access
Data from Internet World Stats (IWS) shows that at the end of 2017, the Democratic Republic of Congo had an internet penetration rate of 6.1%, for a population of more than 80 million people.
The country’s IT infrastructure are poor (especially outside of the bigger cities), and the low level of illiteracy also hampers the growth of the internet sector (while radio and television remain the main media). Less than 1% of internet connections in the country are land line subscriptions, meaning that the country’s mobile phone operators act as internet service providers for both commercial and private use. According to data by We Are Social, 91% of internet users access the web by mobile, 8% by laptop and 1% by tablets. Several operators are already present in the Democratic Republic of Congo, like Airtel, Africell, Vodacom and Orange. Moreover, the country has often  experienced internet and social media shutdowns due to a strict control by the government (in January 2019, for example, internet access was blocked to “preserve public order” following highly-contested presidential election).
The most popular web search engines in the Democratic Republic of Congo are Google (96.8%), Bing and Yahoo (1.5% and 1% respectively).
E-commerce market
The e-commerce market of the Democratic Republic of Congo is limited due to low levels of internet penetration, poor telecommunications infrastructure and high costs of internet services.  Furthermore, the physical infrastructures and the size of the country make goods delivery difficult and/or expensive. Concerning electronic means of payment, though the DRC has one of the world’s lowest banking penetration rate, some banks and enterprises started developing online payment options. Mobile payments are also growing fast, with all telecommunication operators providing online payment platforms to their clients.
Even though companies rarely offer their services or goods online, advertising through social media is becoming more and more common. According to the Digital in 2018 report, the number of Facebook users in the country is estimated at 2.2 million, while Instagram has around 0,2 million users (9 out of 10 users access the internet via mobile).

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Latest Update: April 2024

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