Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo is a beneficiary of the EU's "Everything but Arms" (EBA) scheme for least developed countries. With a per-capita income of $ 577 in 2021, the World Bank classifies the Democratic Republic of Congo as a low-income economy. Preferential imports from the Democratic Republic of Congo amounted to only about € 33,000 in 2021, just 0.5% of eligible imports made use of EBA preferences.

What is the EBA?

The “Everything but Arms”(EBA) scheme is a permanent arrangement covering Least Developed Countries (LDC’s) as classified by the United Nations. This arrangement enables duty-free and quota-free access for all products (7200 products in total) originating in LDC’s except for arms and ammunition. Different from the Standard GSP and GSP+, LDC’s are not excluded from the scheme if they benefit from other preferential arrangements.

Democratic Republic of Congo flag

At a glance: EBA beneficiaries' preferential imports to the EU

group

95,89 million

Population

account_balance
Semi-Presidential Republic

Government

trending_up

6,20%

GDP Growth

equalizer

8,40%

Inflation

money

$ 55.35bn

GDP

Facts about the Democratic Republic of Congo's economy

Resource Wealth

The Democratic Republic of Congo is considered the world’s richest country in terms of wealth in natural resources. Most of the raw mineral deposits remain untapped and are worth an estimated $24 trillion. These deposits include the world’s largest coltan reserves and considerable amounts of cobalt.

Export Products

Congo's most important export products are refined and unrefined copper, cobalt mattes and ores, gold, and petroleum oils. The most important agricultural export product are cocoa beans.

Trade Partners

Congo's most important trading partners are China, South Africa, and Tanzania. China, India, and South Korea are the most important export markets for Congolese products and absorb about 76.4 % of overall exports.

Economic Structure

The economy is mainly driven by mineral extraction including copper, cobalt, zinc, manganese, diamonds, and others. The manufacturing sector only contributes a small share to Congo's GDP and centres around consumption industries (processed food and beverages, cigarettes, cloth, leather,..) and supply industries (including spinning and weaving, chemicals, and machinery)

Usage of EBA Preferences

Currently less than 1% of total EU imports from the Democratic Republic of Congo are imported using EBA preferences. The preference utilisation rate, which represents the ratio of preferential imports to GSP eligible imports, currently stands at 0.5%.

Trade with the EU

Total trade with the EU amounted to € 1,413 million in 2021. With a share of 11.8 %, the EU only plays a minor role in Congo's total trade and as an export market. Imports from the EU, however, are of higher importance and amounted to € 723 million in 2021, making it the third most important import market.

Democratic Republic of Congo and the EU (2022)

Imports from the Democratic Republic of Congo by product section

Imports from the Democratic Republic of Congo over time (in € m)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO AND THE EU’s GSP

Economic Impact

0%

Less than 1% of the Democratic Republic of Congo's exports to the EU market are eligible for EBA preferences.

12.40%

The Democratic Republic of Congo currently has a very low preference utilisation rate of 12.4%.

Preference utilisation and export diversification

The Democratic Republic of Congo's imports to the EU

Preference Utilisation vs. total eligible imports

Despite a constantly improving preference utilisation rate throughout the years and a record increase in eligible products in 2018, only a fraction of total imports from the Democratic Republic of Congo is imported using EBA preferences. The increase in eligible imports can be attributed to increased export volumes of cobalt oxides, which are almost entirely exported under the EBA. Copper and diamonds account for the majority of exports but already benefit from zero most favoured nation duties. In 2020, only fruits and vegetables and prepared foodstuffs were imported using EBA preferences, though the utilisation rate was at 1.3%. In 2022 the rate improved by 10%.

The largest product sections under EBA

Exports under the EBA remain highly concentrated on few products. The Democratic Republic of Congo traditionally exports mainly processed foods and beverages, mineral and agricultural products using EBA preferences.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

The Democratic Republic of Congo, as a beneficiary of the EBA scheme, is not obligated to ratify any conventions to be able to benefit from preferential access to the European market. Nonetheless, Congo has ratified all 15 core international conventions on human and labour rights. This includes 7 UN human rights conventions and 8 ILO conventions on labour standards. Additionally, Congo has ratified 8 conventions on environmental protection and 4 conventions on good governance aspects.

Core international conventions on human rights and labour standards

Ratified

  • Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948)
  • International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1969)
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1976)
  • International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (1976)
  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1981)
  • Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1987)
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990)
  • Convention concerning Forced or Compulsory Labour, No 29 (1930)
  • Convention concerning Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise, No 87 (1948)
  • Convention concerning the Application of the Principles of the Right to Organise and to Bargain Collectively, No 98 (1949)
  • Convention concerning Equal Remuneration of Men and Women Workers for Work of Equal Value, No 100 (1951)
  • Convention concerning the Abolition of Forced Labour, No 105 (1957)
  • Convention concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation, No 111 (1958)
  • Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment, No 138 (1973)
  • Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, No 182 (1999)

Additional Conventions

  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (1973)
  • Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (1987)
  • Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal (1989)
  • Convention on Biological Diversity (1992)
  • The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992)
  • Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (2000)
  • Stockholm Convention on persistent Organic Pollutants (2001)
  • Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1998)
  • United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961)
  • United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971)
  • United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988)
  • United Nations Convention against Corruption (2004)

EU-Democratic Republic of Congo Bilateral Development Assistance

€ 620 million

The EU supported the Democratic Republic of Congo with € 620 million between 2014 and 2020. The priorities of the EU's bilateral assistance were health, environment and agriculture, governance, and transport. More particularly the EU supported Congo to improve the effectiveness and accessibility of the healthcare system, enhance access to electricity, support sustainable agriculture and policy reforms of the police, justice and defence system. Furthermore, the EU contributed to the enhancement of Congo's road infrastructure.

Opportunities in Democratic Republic of Congo

  • Large natural resources including copper, cobalt, gold and coltan
  • Further potential to develop and expand capacities for the generation of hydropower
  • Growing population and increasing domestic demand

Most recent events

Date Event

By submitting a comment I confirm to have read the Terms and Conditions. Users should be aware that if in breach of the Terms and Conditions that their comments, replies and contributions can be removed from the website.

Loading...
Loading...

By submitting a comment I confirm to have read the Terms and Conditions. Users should be aware that if in breach of the Terms and Conditions that their comments, replies and contributions can be removed from the website.

Loading...
Loading...

By submitting a comment I confirm to have read the Terms and Conditions. Users should be aware that if in breach of the Terms and Conditions that their comments, replies and contributions can be removed from the website.

Loading...
Loading...

By submitting a comment I confirm to have read the Terms and Conditions. Users should be aware that if in breach of the Terms and Conditions that their comments, replies and contributions can be removed from the website.

Loading...
Loading...