Democratic Republic of the Congo Industry
Following African conditions, Congo-Kinshasa previously had a relatively well-developed processing industry. Many years of economic mismanagement broke almost the entire industry and only in recent years have attempts been made to get production started again.
The sector is dominated by the mining industry, but Congolese companies also manufacture textiles, building materials, cigarettes, agricultural products and industrial chemicals.
During the 1980s, the manufacturing industry reached about a third of its capacity due to the lack of foreign exchange for spare parts and raw materials, reduced demand and damage. A few years into the 1990s, many factories ceased to function. An upswing occurred after the end of the war in 2003, but the manufacturing industry is plagued by a lack of hard currency which makes it difficult to buy spare parts for the machines, constant power cuts and population poverty – there is no strong customer base.
The construction industry is the industry sector that is developing fastest thanks to large development-funded aid projects.
However, continued political unrest created problems for the industry. In late 2017, Swiss food giant Nestlé decided to close its factory in Kinshasa, and Heineken would close two of six factories in the country.
Congo-Kinshasa exports largely only raw materials, making the country vulnerable to price changes on the world market. In recent years, high demand for minerals has resulted in a surplus in foreign trade.
There are still major shortcomings in trade statistics. The collapse of state power towards the end of the 1990s led to the government losing control over a large part of the production of both minerals and agricultural goods. The smuggling to and from neighboring countries continues to turn over large but unknown sums.
Copper and cobalt are by far the most important export goods. Then comes oil and diamonds.
The former colonial power Belgium was for a long time the largest importer of Congolese goods, but was passed in 2008 by the commodity-starving China, which only a few years later accounted for just over half of the imports. Zambia is in second place as an exporting country, which is mainly due to the fact that copper from Congo is processed there. South Africa is the most important supplier of goods, not least consumer goods and capital goods.
FACTS – FOREIGN TRADE
US $ 15 967 million (2018)
US $ 14 973 million (2018)
– US $ 2,169 million (2018)
Commodity trade’s share of GDP
30 percent (2018)
Main export goods
diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt, wood, crude oil, coffee
Largest trading partner
China, South Africa, Belgium, USA
Due to the security situation, foreign visitors are few in the Congo. In particular, foreigners are advised not to travel in northern and eastern Congo.
A potential tourist attraction is the mountain gorillas in the forests in the border area towards Rwanda and Uganda. The gorillas are largely found in Virunga, Africa’s oldest national park. In addition to Virunga, there are four national parks to be included on the UN agency UNESCO World Heritage List.
FACTS – TOURISM
Number of foreign visitors per year
191 000 (2013)
US $ 4,300,000 (2016)
The share of tourist income from exports
0.0 percent (2016)
A Rwandan national, Ladislas Ntaganzwa, who is accused of organizing a massacre of 20,000 civilian Tutsis during the Rwanda genocide, is arrested in Congo-Kinshasa. The United States has offered a $ 5 million reward to anyone who can provide information so that Ntaganzwa can be apprehended.
New acts of violence by the Islamist guerrilla ADF-Nalu
At least 30 people are killed in connection with the Islamist guerrilla ADF-Nalu attacking a hospital in the city of Eringeti. However, most of the deaths are required in battles between ADF-Nalu and government soldiers.
War criminals are released
Germain Katanga, who was sentenced by the ICC to 12 years in prison in 2014, is released when the time he spent in detention before the sentence is counted. He has been in the ICC’s custody since 2007.
New offers to postpone the election
A spokesman for the Government Alliance André Alain Atundu says the upcoming elections may have to be postponed for up to four years. Without a new census and new electoral votes established, the election results cannot be credible, he argues.
Katanga’s governor resigns
In late September, Katanga Governor Moïse Katumbi resigns. He is also leaving Kabila’s party in protest against the central government’s attempt to change the constitution and postpone the elections.
German court drops huturebeller
At the end of the month, two FDLR leaders, Ignace Murwanashyaka and Straton Musoni, are sentenced in a German court for ordering the hutumilis to commit mass murder and rape against civilians in eastern Congo-Kinshasa in 2008 and 2009. Murwanashyaka is sentenced to 13 years in prison and Musoni to eight years. The men were arrested in 2009. Musoni is released immediately because he has already been held in prison for so long. Both men have lived in Germany since the 1990s.
Kabila is criticized by his own
In the middle of the month, several politicians from the president’s own party alliance write an open letter to Kabila criticizing the attempts to allow him, in violation of the Constitution, to stand for re-election in 2016. The politicians, all of whom belong to a party group called the G7 , are excluded. from the government coalition and three ministers may leave the government.
Talks between the government and the opposition fail
Representatives of the government and the opposition party UDPS meet in Europe to resolve the crisis of the elections. On September 13, UDPS leader Etienne Tshisekedi says the negotiations have failed and his party leaves the talks.
The Court questions the election timetable
The country’s highest court orders the Election Commission to study whether the timetable for the elections can be kept. It fears that the money will not suffice for all planned elections at the same time as the process of creating new governments in 21 provinces is running out in time. New provincial governors must be in place before elections to the provincial assemblies can be held, according to the court.
Ntaganda before trial at ICC
The trial of former rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda begins at the ICC . The prosecution consists of 18 points, including murder, rape and the recruitment of child soldiers. Ntaganda declares itself not guilty of all charges.
Corruption charges against high-ranking politicians
The Prosecutor General is asked to initiate an investigation into allegations of fraud, embezzlement and corruption against 20 current and former senior politicians. Among them are Moïse Katumbi (see December 2014), three other former provincial governors and a few former ministers. Several have previously been close to Kabila.
The choice is postponed
Election Commission Ceni announces that registration of candidates for local and provincial elections should be postponed.
Conflicts within the opposition
The opposition party UDPS is shaken by internal contradictions. What stirred the feelings is that Félix Tshisekedi, the son of party leader Étienne Tshisekedi, who has led the UDPS since his father traveled abroad to receive care, has agreed to hold talks with President Kabila. Félix Tshisekedi rejects claims that he is willing to be bought by Kabila in exchange for a high government post.
No for losing UN force
The UN Security Council rejects Congo-Kinshasa’s request to lose the UN forces in the country, saying that success in the offensive against the FDLR must first.
Democracy activists are arrested
Some 40 democracy activists are arrested in Kinshasa in connection with an event organized by Filimbi, a group that works to get more young people involved in politics. Among the arrested are, besides Congolese, also Burkinis, Senegalese and four foreign journalists. An American diplomat is also arrested, but he is released quickly. The event had been supported by the United States.
The election date is announced
The Election Commission announces that presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on November 27, 2016.
The UN does not participate in the offensive
The UN decides not to participate in the new offensive against the FDLR (see January 2015), since the government because two of the generals who would lead the operation were suspected of serious war crimes.
300 opposition activists remain in prison
At least 300 people arrested in connection with the January protests are still reportedly being held in jail.
Offensive begins against hutumilis
The government claims that an offensive has been launched against the FDLR, since a deadline for the hutumilis to lay down its weapons expired at the beginning of the month.
The Senate approves electoral law, but the delicate part has been removed
When the Senate approves the disputed election law, the sensitive part of a census has been removed. But the new law also does not specify a timetable for the upcoming elections planned. A large number of opposition parties and other organizations object to the uncertainties in the law.
New electoral law triggers violence
The National Assembly votes for an amendment to the electoral law, which means that the next presidential and parliamentary elections can only be held after a census. That would mean that the elections are postponed until 2018, which causes the opposition to boycott the vote. When the Senate debates the issue, protests erupt in Kinshasa. About 40 people are killed in clashes with police and the presidential guard. There are also unrest in Goma in the east.