Congo flag Congo: Economic outline

Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Heavily dependent on oil revenues, the Republic of Congo’s economy was already hurt by low oil prices when it was hit by the Covid-19 global pandemic. The country’s GDP contracted by -8.2% in 2020, and despite the nascent recovery, economic growth remained negative for the seventh consecutive year in 2021 (-0.2%) (IMF). According to IMF estimates, the recession should turn into a positive growth of 2.3% in 2022 and 3% in 2023, driven by higher oil prices, a rebound in oil production, a vaccine rollout, social spending, domestic arrears repayments, and expansion of non-oil sectors (IMF). Downside risks include a possible worsening of the pandemic, volatility in oil prices and production, natural disasters and slow reform implementation (IMF).

The Congolese economy is largely dominated by oil production, which accounts for 80% of exports and 60% of domestic revenues (Coface). This oil dependency makes the country vulnerable to shifts in commodity prices. Already in recession due the collapse of oil prices, the economy was further hit by the measures put in place to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. The recovery in oil prices allowed the -1.2% GDP budget deficit to switch back to a surplus of 1.5% GDP in 2021 (Coface). Budget surplus is expected to increase to 3.3% GDP in 2022 thanks to the authorities efforts to restore debt sustainability (Coface). Congo's public debt, which was already unsustainable before the pandemic, soared to an estimated 101.1% GDP in 2020 (IMF), threatening the stability of the whole financial system. The country started a process of debt restructuring with its creditors and is committed to fiscal prudence. According to IMF estimates, public debt decreased to 85.4% GDP in 2021, and is expected to further reduce to 76.9% GDP in 2022 and 73% GDP in 2023. Inflation staid stable at 2% in 2021, and is expected to remain close to the CEMAC criterion of 3% in 2022 (2.8%) and 2023 (3%) (IMF estimates). In January 2022, the IMF approved a 36-month arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility in an amount equivalent to about USD 455 million, to help the country maintain macroeconomic stability and support economic recovery. Reducing debt vulnerabilities, strengthening domestic revenue mobilization and public spending efficiency, and advancing wide-ranging structural reforms are the main priorities. The authorities are also committed to the National Development Plan 2022-26, which focuses on social and infrastructure spending. Lack of economic diversification is a major challenge for the country. While some progress has been made in translating its natural resources into economic growth, the country has not fully succeeded in leveraging them to achieve robust socio-economic outcomes.

Poverty rate is alarming, reaching 52.5% in 2020 according to the World Bank. The country ranked 149th in the world on the 2020 human development index, falling 11 places. Unemployment rate in Congo was estimated at around 10.3% in 2020 (World Bank).

Main Indicators 20202021202220232024
GDP (billions USD) 10.3312.6414.4914.3415.13
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -8.1-
GDP per Capita (USD) 2,2062,6342,9452,8442,927
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 114.0103.682.073.964.5
Inflation Rate (%)
Current Account (billions USD) -0.011.592.771.591.22
Current Account (in % of GDP) -0.112.619.111.18.1

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, 2016

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
CFA Franc BEAC (XAF) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GHS 148.62133.80121.19112.67102.86

Source: World Bank, 2015


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Latest Update: March 2023