Republic of Congo Industry
The industrial sector in Congo-Brazzaville is small unless the oil production around the port city of Pointe-Noire is not included.
The other industry, which is concentrated in the capital, Brazzaville, consists of sawmills, manufacture of cement and other building materials, breweries and factories that manufacture sugar products and other foods.
With the exception of the oil industry, industrial production was destroyed during the civil war of 1997 ̶ 2000. The construction sector gained a boost after the end of the war when the country received aid and loans from outside for the reconstruction.
Congo-Brazzaville has long been a center of trade via the Congo River’s large water system from Chad in the north to the Atlantic coast in the south.
The country’s most important export commodity is oil, which accounts for about 80 percent of export earnings. Large oil exports have given the country a substantial surplus in the trade balance since the 1970s, ie exports exceed imports.
The only export product of significance besides the oil is timber. Smaller quantities of precious stones and gold are also exported. Diamond exports fell sharply when the country was excluded from the Kimberley Process in 2004, which is the international certification system to stop trade in so-called conflict diamonds, that is, diamonds that finance war and human rights violations. Congo-Brazzaville was excluded because the country had smuggled large quantities of diamonds from the war-torn neighboring Congo-Kinshasa and forged the certificates of origin. In November 2007, Congo-Brazzaville was allowed to re-enter the Kimberley Process after improving control over the diamond trade.
The country’s largest export market is the United States, which largely buys oil. In second place comes China. Other important exporting countries are France and India. Imports mainly consist of machinery and other materials for the oil industry and food. In the past, Congo-Brazzaville was largely dependent on Europe for its imports, but since 2005, China and India have emerged as important trading partners. However, about a fifth of imports still come from France. Most of the food is imported from Congo-Kinshasa. Electricity is also imported from there.
Congo-Brazzaville, together with the Central African Republic, Gabon, Cameroon, Chad and Equatorial Guinea, are part of the Central African Customs Union Udeac. Membership also involves financial cooperation in several other areas, including a joint central bank. Congo-Brazzaville is also a member of the Central African Monetary Union Cemac.
FACTS – FOREIGN TRADE
US $ 4,356 million (2016)
US $ 5,071 million (2016)
– US $ 3 594 million (2016)
Commodity trade’s share of GDP
120 percent (2018)
Main export goods
oil, timber, plywood, sugar, cocoa, coffee, diamonds
Largest trading partner
USA, China, France, India, Italy
Congo-Brazzaville has a lot to attract tourists; great cultural diversity, tropical beaches and wild forest rainforests.
However, civil war and political unrest have discouraged tourists from visiting the country. The price level has also been quite high, but since 2008 the number of tourists has tripled.
Some tourists visit the beaches around the port city of Pointe-Noire, where mainly wealthy Congolese who work in the oil industry vacation. There are opportunities to see mountain gorillas in national parks in the north.
FACTS – TOURISM
Number of foreign visitors per year
224 000 (2016)
US $ 57,000,000 (2014)
The share of tourist income from exports
0.6 percent (2014)
Milis is declared dissolved
In June, the Ninjamilis is declared officially dissolved at a ceremony in the province of Pool.
PCT wins boycott of parliamentary elections
During the summer, parliamentary elections are held under chaotic conditions (see Modern History). PCT wins both electoral rounds, which are boycotted by many parties. 125 of the 137 seats in Parliament accrue to the PCT. UDR-Mwinda gets 1 mandate. The rest goes to Upads, which increases its representation to 11 seats.
In December, a new alliance is formed, Presidential Majority Collection (RMP). The alliance is led by PCT and gathers about 60 parties. The purpose of the alliance is to increase support for Sassou-Nguesso ahead of the summer 2009 presidential elections.
Rebel movement becomes party
The rebel movement Ninja registers as a political party, the National Republican Council (CNR).
In June, French police launch an investigation into whether President Sassou-Nguesso and his son-in-law, as well as Gabon’s President Omar Bongo, have embezzled public funds to buy luxury properties in France (see Current Policy).