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DR Congo Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Felix Tshisekedi of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (Union pour la Démocratie et le Progrès Social: UDPS) party – formerly in opposition – was sworn in as president on 24 January 2019, following the 30 December presidential, legislative, and provincial elections (delayed from 2016) . However, former president Joseph Kabila (in office during 2001–19) will likely remain highly politically influential during 2019, with Tshisekedi dependent on Kabila's elite-level connections to govern. The Kabila-led Common Front for Congo (Front Commun pour le Congo: FCC) alliance won around 350 out of 500 seats in the legislature, meaning the new prime minister will be drawn from this group, limiting Tshisekedi's ability to set new state policies or review mining contracts, although oil sector agreements (historically tightly controlled by the presidency) will be more exposed to renegotiation and cancellation. Tshisekedi will likely be able to pursue policies of regenerating the (Kasai region-focused) diamond-mining and commercial agricultural sectors. Protests against Tshisekedi's victory by supporters of rival opposition candidate Martin Fayulu are unlikely to pose significant violence, property damage or disruption risks. Tshisekedi's victory, rather than that of Kabila's announced successor candidate, comparatively decreases the risk of militia violence, particularly in the Kasai region (from which Tshisekedi originates), as well as in the Kivus. However, both national and local post-election political concerns will likely drive a temporary increase in Kivus violence during early 2019. We forecast real GDP growth of 4.0% for 2019, given continuous primary-sector and global economic strength, leading to robust cobalt prices. With China being the main importer of Congolese minerals, any shock affecting China's economy would hurt the DRC. Annual inflation will remain above the 7% government target. Budget deficits should continue in the medium term due to government reluctance to make ongoing unpopular cuts to fiscal spending. © 2019, IHS Markit Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Last update: January 25, 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 militarily intervene in DRC unless 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-Kabila protests coincide with the non-payment of security forces wages. From early 2019, Mai-Mai militias will be increasingly likely to raid or capture for up to 48 hours medium-size 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: November 17, 2018

Social Stability

Very high

The opposition will likely reject a ruling alliance victory in the upcoming elections, triggering violent protests in Kinshasa and Lubumbashi, which security forces will probably contain away from important commercial and government neighbourhoods. Widespread mob violence and riots are most 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. Rioters are likely to target properties associated with political parties, media outlets, and Indian and Chinese-owned businesses.

Last update: November 15, 2018

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: November 27, 2013

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: February 13, 2018

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: February 13, 2018

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: February 13, 2018

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: November 21, 2013