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Country Reports

DR Congo Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

The economic climate in the eurozone has deteriorated markedly, due primarily to numerous external headwinds including: weaker global demand; concerns over protectionism; Brexit-related uncertainty; and the lagged effects of exchange rate appreciation (on a trade-weighted basis). The more persistent the external weakness, the higher the likelihood of spillovers to domestic economic conditions, including via the labour market. The weakness of economic data late in 2018, in Germany particularly, was exacerbated by transitory factors including declines in auto production linked to new emissions testing. The unwinding of those effects and the boost to household real incomes and consumption from lower oil prices and fiscal stimulus should see a temporary growth rebound during the first half of 2019. Still, underlying growth is likely to remain subdued in 2019-20 at around 1%. Consumer price inflation has fallen well below 2% due to lower oil prices, while underlying rates have been trending sideways at around 1%, well below the European Central Bank’s “below but close to 2%” medium-term objective. Given subdued price pressures, the economy expanding at a sub-potential rate, and with risks to growth skewed to the downside, monetary policy will remain highly accommodative. The normalization of the ECB’s policy interest rates and the Eurosystem balance sheet (i.e. asset purchases and long-term liquidity provision to banks) will be a very protracted process given this backdrop. Economic performance in the post-crisis period has varied considerably across the member states of the eurozone. In Germany, for example, the level of GDP is currently around 12% above its pre-global financial crisis peak in Q1 2008. In Italy, in contrast, it is still around 5% below. Structural headwinds to growth persist in many parts of the eurozone, including: poor competitiveness; low employment rates; high levels of public and private sector debt; and lack of flexibility in product and labour markets. Contagion effects from national vulnerabilities have been limited by post-crisis reforms at member state and pan-eurozone level (e.g. the creation of the European Stability Mechanism), along with large-scale asset purchases by the ECB.
Last update: March 26, 2019

Operational Outlook

Decades of underfunding and neglect have left the DRC with one of the world's worst infrastructure systems, with a dilapidated transport network and erratic energy supply, despite the end of the 1998–2003 civil war and government commitments to improve physical infrastructure. The government and World Bank are pushing for greater multinational involvement in the mining sector through improving its policy, legal, and regulatory framework. Corruption, double-taxation demands, and overlapping claims of authority, resulting from the 2015 provincial boundaries redrawing and the delaying of elections, will likely worsen in 2018.

Last update: November 17, 2018

Terrorism

Very high

Intensifying militia attacks in the Kasai and Kivus regions are likely in early 2019, driven by a probable opposition rejection of election results favouring the ruling alliance. ADF, FDLR, and other militants will likely carry out attacks on civilians, security forces, and road cargo in the Kasai and Kivu regions and northeast DRC. MONUSCO cutbacks limit its efficacy further from its main bases, and it lacks the capability to respond effectively to any violent crises in new areas. Helicopters and small aircraft are at highest risk of attack in eastern DRC, particularly low-flying aircraft within range of small-arms fire, heavy machine-guns, and RPGs, or during take-off, landing.

Last update: November 15, 2018

War Risks

Angola and Rwanda are unlikely to intervene militarily in DRC, except in the unlikely event that there are significant escalations of violence in Kinshasa or along their borders. Mutiny and coup attempt risks, while unlikely, will be heightened if sustained anti-government protests (themselves unlikely) coincide with non-payment of security forces' wages. During early 2019 Mai-Mai militias will be increasingly likely to raid or briefly capture medium-sized localities in the Kivus, but MONUSCO troops will likely protect or assist in retaking Goma, Bukavu, and Uvira, mitigating Kivus civil war risks. Violent incidents involving Ugandan or Burundian security forces along their respective borders are unlikely to escalate into wider conflict.

Last update: February 22, 2019

Social Stability

Very high

Protests against new President Felix Tshisekedi's court-endorsed victory in the December 2018 election by supporters of rival opposition candidate Martin Fayulu are unlikely to pose significant violence, property damage or disruption risks. Security forces will probably contain any protests that do occur away from important commercial and government neighbourhoods. Widespread mob violence and riots are more likely to result from impromptu protests, which can quickly and unexpectedly grow out of public gatherings, rather than pre-announced demonstrations for which security forces can prepare. Violent confrontations using clubs and machetes are also likely between rival party supporters.

Last update: February 22, 2019

Health Risk

Extreme

Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for all travelers over one year of age entering the country.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high

Volcanic activity in North Kivu makes the eastern part of the country vulnerable to natural disaster. Although the last significant volcanic eruption was in 2004, minor eruptions or earthquakes may occur, as was experienced in August 2015 in Goma and Bukavu.

Pockets of methane gas and carbon dioxide (linked to volcanic activity) are present around and on Lake Kivu.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

High

Given the country's large size, air transportation is preferred for any long-distance trips. However, domestic aviation safety standards in the DRC remain poorly enforced. Despite various safe western airline companies operating in the DRC, all local airlines are listed on the European Union blacklist.

According to French authorities, only 15 percent of the roadways in the country are drivable, with driving conditions significantly worse during and after the rainy season (April to October in the north, and from November to March in the south).

Dangerous driving conditions created by poorly maintained roads are exacerbated by locals' aggressive driving habits and poor vehicle maintenance. Moreover, all night travel should be avoided due to the lack of public lighting and traffic signs. Outside major cities, all travel must be done during the day, with all-terrain (i.e. 4X4) vehicles with adequate supplies of water, food and fuel. Travelers should also ensure that the vehicle contains spare parts (wheels, cables, etc.) and have effective means of telecommunication.

Public transportation is nonexistent for the most part and otherwise not recommended.

Rail travel should also be avoided as the rail network can be unsafe and unreliable.

Ferries linking Kinshasa to Brazzaville via the Congo River exist, however, it is recommended to ensure vessels are adequately maintained and have life vests on board as not all ferries adhere to proper safety standards. On Lake Kivu, daily shuttles link Goma to Bukavu. Accidents are sometimes reported.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Infrastructure

Access to electricity is not guaranteed throughout the country and power outages are common, especially in Kinshasa.

Access to drinking water is also not guaranteed in the DRC; in 2015 only 50 percent of the population had access (80 percent located in urban areas and 30 percent in rural areas), and some Kinshasa neighborhoods experience drinking water shortages.

Use of mobile phones and internet is expanding in the country. In the past, authorities have unilaterally cut all access to social media communications in Kinshasa (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), including during violent political protests in December 2016.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

The climate is equatorial in the north of the DRC and rainy all year round (with a slight respite from rains in the months from December to February) with constant temperatures (26°C). In the extreme north the climate is wet and tropical. Heading south, the climate becomes drier with more distinct seasons and a shorter rainy season. In the south, the dry season lasts for some six months (May to September). In the highlands the climate is alpine at intermediate elevations and with abundant snowfall at the highest elevations. At the mouth of the Congo River the climate is more “oceanic” (cooler temperatures, lower levels of rainfall) due to the cold Banguela current.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +243

There are no emergency services in the DRC.

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019