Republic of the Congo
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The Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) is a lower middle-income country rich in raw materials and natural resources. Negative macroeconomic trends and weak governance undermine economic development and Congo’s attractiveness to investors. Key challenges lie in the diversification of the economy, improving the business climate and combining environmental sustainability with growth and jobs creation.
Social disparities remain strong, particularly between urban and rural areas, and participation in democratic processes is limited.
A 3 year IMF programme, signed in July 2019, aims to help the country restore macroeconomic stability, including debt sustainability and improve governance to achieve greater efficiency and transparency in the management of public resources, especially in the oil sector.
- Congo enjoys a geo-strategic location in the sub-region, with a deep-water port and a significant potential for cross-border trade.
- only 2% of the 10 million hectares of arable land are cultivated, with a large potential for development of the agricultural sector.
- the country enjoys an immense hydroelectric potential (estimated at 14 000 MW).
- 65% of its territory is covered by the Congo Basin rainforest with very rich biodiversity (some of its protected areas are in the UNESCO World Heritage list).
The EU’s strategic objectives in partnership with the Republic of Congo for the period 2014-2020 include:
- contributing to diversification of the economy and job creation through better economic governance, private sector development and development of commercial activities.
- improving forestry governance and biodiversity conservation with a view to sustainable, transparent and more equitable management of natural resources.
- fostering and strengthening local development by supporting two local authorities to autonomously manage public services in the water and sanitation sector (waste and waste water management, floods and erosion).
The EU is also engaged in a blending operation with the Agence Française de Développement and the Port of Pointe-Noire, aiming at extending its shipping activities, constructing a new industrial fishing harbor, improving its environmental standards and business procedures and supporting the non-industrial local fishermen. This support will boost investment and trade, with spill-over effects on job creation, particularly for women.
The EU supports civil society’s work in promoting good governance and economic and social development, as well as its role in protecting and promoting human rights.
The EU aligns its action to the National Development Programme (2018-2022) and coordinates its action with EU Member countries present in Congo (France, Germany, Belgium and Italy) to reach synergies and leverage its influence.
- policy dialogue has achieved significant results on legal and sustainable forest exploitation through the signature of a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA-FLEGT) between the Republic of Congo and the EU
- significant contribution to environnement and biodiversity preservation through management of natural protected areas (support to two national parcs: Odzala and Nouabalé Ndoki)
- improved capacity and business activity for the river port in Brazzaville by providing four new cranes (€9.5 M)
- improved road governance by facilitating the adoption of a national transport plan and a modern system to plan road maintenance
- improved capacity of the administration in trade negociations through coaching
- improved of business climate for small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) and chambers of commerce through training, better access to information and dispute resolution.
- reinforced capacities of civil society organisations in Congo.
Under the current programming period (2014-2020) €88 million are being used across the following sectors:
- economic and trade governance: contributing to inclusive and sustainable development and the country’s economic diversification by improving economic and trade governance.
- local development: helping to bring about a more balanced regional development and encouraging sustainable and participatory local development.
The country also benefits from the Central Africa regional programmes (covering economic integration, biodiversity conservation - with important actions in the country: Odzala and Nouabalé Ndoki national parks -, peace and security and regional energy governance), the Civil Society Organisations and Local Authorities (CSO-LA) programme and the European Instrument for Democracy & Human Rights (EIDHR).