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- GDP (PPP):
- $49.9 billion
- 8.5% growth
- 6.5% 5-year compound annual growth
- $648 per capita
- Inflation (CPI):
- FDI Inflow:
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s economic freedom score is 45.0, making it the 168th freest economy in the 2015 Index. Its overall score is 4.4 points better than last year, with double-digit gains in business freedom, monetary freedom, and the control of government spending. Nonetheless, the DRC is ranked 42nd out of 46 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, and its score is far below the regional average.
Over the past five years, the DRC’s economic freedom has advanced by 4.3 points, with especially strong gains in the past two years. Monetary freedom has improved by over 28 points, but advancement has been broad-based, with gains in six of the 10 factors. The DRC has registered its highest economic freedom score ever in the 2015 Index.
Despite this welcome progress, the DRC’s level of economic freedom remains among the lowest in the world, still well within the “repressed” category. Inadequate institutions make the formation of a vibrant private sector difficult.
The Democratic Republic of Congo remains plagued by wide-ranging conflict between government forces that historically have been backed by Angola, Namibia, and Zimbabwe and rebels supported by Uganda and Rwanda. Much of the eastern part of the country remains embroiled in conflict. In 2006, Joseph Kabila won the first multi-party election in 40 years. He was re-elected in December 2011 in a flawed and violent election. Rebel groups including the Lord’s Resistance Army, M23, and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda remain active in the eastern regions. Renewed violence has led to massive population displacement and atrocities against civilians. The DRC continues to host the U.N.’s largest peacekeeping mission. Political instability, lack of transparency, and systematic corruption undermine economic growth. The DRC’s immense natural resources, including copper, cobalt, and diamonds, have fueled conflict, forcing foreign businesses to limit their operations. The DRC suffered from an Ebola outbreak in the summer of 2014.
An uncertain legal framework, conflicts with armed militias for control of eastern Congo’s rich mineral deposits, endemic corruption, and a lack of transparency in government policy are long-term problems for the mining sector and the economy as a whole. Protection of property rights remains weak and dependent on a dysfunctional public administration and judicial system. Human rights abuses and banditry deter economic activity.
The top individual income tax rate is 30 percent, and the top corporate income tax rate is 40 percent. Other taxes include a tax on vehicles and a tax on rentals. The overall tax burden equals 14.5 percent of the domestic economy. Government spending is equal to 21.8 percent of domestic production, and public debt amounts to 22 percent of gross domestic product.
Despite some progress, the regulatory environment still remains significantly burdensome. Minimum capital requirements to launch a company are about five times the level of average annual income. With development of a modern labor market lagging, the informal sector is the source of most employment. Prices are controlled and regulated by the government, which also subsidizes electricity.
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s average tariff rate is 11.0 percent. Bureaucratic and regulatory barriers impede the free flow of trade and discourage foreign direct investment. Over the past five years, the banking sector has recorded considerable growth. The level of financial inclusion has also increased, but the financial system, dominated by banks, remains one of the region’s least developed.