Democratic Republic of Congo flag Democratic Republic of Congo: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Foreign Trade in Figures

The DRC is open to international trade, which represents 65.4% of its GDP (2020, World Bank). Former president Joseph Kabila’s government has established a series of reforms intended to improve the business climate and to diversify exports. 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 major exporting countries on the continent and a driver of African growth. The country's mainly exports refined copper (49.8%), cobalt (23.4%), copper ore (6.6%), crude petroleum (5.7%), and diamonds (2.9%); while it imports chiefly medicaments (4.9%), refined petroleum (3.9%), sulfuric acid (2.4%), stone processing machines (2.1%), and delivery trucks (2%).

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s key trading partners are China, Zambia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. The DRC is a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (ECGLC), and the WTO. Furthermore, in 2022, the country signed bilateral agreements on cooperation in various sectors with Turkey, including defense and security, infrastructure and transport, non-double taxation, and investment promotion.

The DRC's trade balance is structurally negative, but the takeover of the raw material prices plays in favour of the exports growth and of the rebalancing of current accounts. In the last few years, the country’s trade balance was positive. The merchandise trade surplus increased to USD 1.9 billion in 2020, as imports of goods amounted to USD 6.6 billion, while exports reached USD 14.1billion. That same year, exports of services amounted to USD 115 million and imports were worth USD 2.4 billion, resulting in a negative trade balance of USD 624 million, when accounting for services.

 
Foreign Trade Values 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 4,8004,9007,9308,8256,663
Exports of Goods (million USD) 5,4007,90020,00413,38214,122
Imports of Services (million USD) n/a1,7792,6652,1322,496
Exports of Services (million USD) n/a5989126115

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 55.974.372.363.265.4
Trade Balance (million USD) -2632089944001,923
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -2,225-1,406-1,693-1,719-624
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -3.79.74.7-1.01.5
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -0.97.314.21.62.8
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 32.039.038.033.133.5
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 24.035.334.330.131.9

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20212022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 12.28.68.67.07.3
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 32.28.16.94.74.7

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a member of the following organizations:

South African Development Community (SADC)
• World Trade Organisation (WTO)
• Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (ECGLC)
• Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS)
• Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)
• Organisation for Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa (OHADA)
African Union (AU)

 
 
 
 
 

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Latest Update: June 2022

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