DR CongoDR Congo

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Contact at AFI team is Kouassi Yeboua
This entry was last updated on 18 August 2022 using IFs v7.63.

In this entry, we first describe the Current Path forecast for the Democratic Republic of the Congo as it is expected to unfold to 2043, the end of the third ten-year implementation plan of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 long-term vision for Africa. 

The Current Path forecast is divided into summaries on demographics, economics, poverty, health/WaSH and climate change/energy. A second section then presents a single positive scenario for potential improvements in stability, demographics, health/WaSH, agriculture, education, manufacturing/transfers, leapfrogging, free trade, financial flows, infrastructure, governance and the impact of various scenarios on carbon emissions. With the individual impact of these sectors and dimensions having been considered, a final section presents the impact of the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario. 

We generally review the impact of each scenario and the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario on gross domestic product (GDP) per person and extreme poverty except for Health/WaSH that uses life expectancy and infant mortality. 

 The information is presented graphically and supported by brief interpretive text. 

All US$ numbers are in 2017 values.

Summary

  • Current Path forecast
    • The DR Congo is the second largest country in Africa after Algeria in terms of territory and the third most populous country after Nigeria and Ethiopia. It is a low-income country and has a surface area of 2.3 million km². Jump to forecast: Current Path
    • The population of the DR Congo was about 86.8 million in 2019, and on the Current Path it is forecast to be 172.7 million by 2043, about a 98.9% increase over the next 24 years. Jump to Demographics: Current Path
    • In 2019, the size of the DR Congo's economy was US$44.9 billion, up from US$29.7 billion in 1990. By 2043, the economy is projected to grow to US$182.8 billion, making it the 12th largest economy in Africa based on the Current Path assumptions for other countries. Jump to Economics: Current Path
    • Using US$1.90 as the poverty threshold, 72.3% of the population of the DR Congo, about 62.3 million people, lived in extreme poverty in 2019. The extreme poverty rate is forecast to decline to 47.4% (81.9 million people) by 2043, above the average for low-income countries in Africa, which will then be 25.1%. Jump to Poverty: Current Path
    • In 2019, according to IFs, the DR Congo produced 2.5 million tons of carbon, and by 2043 will be producing 19.4 million tons of carbon, an increase of 676% from a very low base. Jump to Carbon emissions/Energy: Current Path
  • Sectoral Scenarios
    • The Stability scenario improves security and stability in the DR Congo. By 2043, the score in the Stability scenario is 0.77, about 26% higher than the Current Path forecast and 8.5% higher than the projected average of 0.71 on the Current Path for Africa low-income countries. Jump to Stability scenario
    • In 2019, the ratio of the working-age population to dependants stood at 1.05:1, meaning that there was about one person of the working-age population for each dependant. On the Current Path, it is forecast to be 1.4:1 by 2043. In the Demographic scenario, the working-age population to dependants ratio is 1.5:1 by 2043. Jump to Demographic scenario
    • The Health/WaSH scenario improves life expectancy at birth to 69.8 years by 2043 compared to 69.2 years in the Current Path forecast. In this scenario, life expectancy in the DR Congo is one year lower than the projected average of 70.8 for low-income countries in Africa in 2043. Jump to Health/WaSH scenario
    • The Agriculture scenario improves crop yields from about 3.5 tons per hectare in 2019 to 8.6 tons per hectare in 2043, compared to 4.8 tons in the Current Path forecast. This is equivalent to 79.2% higher than the Current Path forecast. Jump to Agriculture scenario
    • In the Education scenario, the mean years of education improves by about five months above the Current Path forecast in 2043 at 6.8 years. Jump to Education scenario
    • When using the low-income countries extreme poverty threshold of US$1.90, the number of poor people stands at 72.8 million, or 42.3% of the population, by 2043 in the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario compared to 81.9 million, or 47.4%, in the Current Path forecast for that year. Jump to Manufacturing/Transfers scenario
    • The fixed broadband subscription is very low in the DR Congo; it was 1.5 subscriptions per 100 people in 2019. In the Leapfrogging scenario, fixed broadband subscriptions increase to 48.3 per 100 people by 2043, which is 91.6% higher than the Current Path forecast of 25.2 subscriptions per 100 people in the same year. Jump to Leapfrogging scenario
    • In the Free Trade scenario, the DR Congo trade deficit increases to a peak at 17% of GDP in 2036 before slightly declining to 6.1% of GDP in 2043, compared to a trade surplus of 2.2% of GDP in the Current Path forecast in the same year. Jump to Free Trade scenario
    • In the Financial Flows scenario, foreign direct investment flows to the DR Congo in 2043 represent about 5.4% of GDP compared with 4.8% on the Current Path. Jump to Financial Flows scenario
    • The Infrastructure scenario increases the rural population within a 2 km access to an all-weather road to 38.4% of the population compared to 37.7% in the Current Path forecast in 2043. Jump to Infrastructure scenario
    • The projected score for government effectiveness in the Governance scenario by 2043 is 1.6 (out of a maximum of 5). This is about 7% higher than the projected score of 1.5 in the Current Path forecast in the same year. Jump to Governance scenario
    • The Free Trade, Agriculture and Manufacturing/Transfers scenarios have the most significant impact on carbon emissions. Jump to Impact of scenarios on carbon emissions
  • Combined Agenda 2063 scenario 

All charts for DR Congo

Chart 1: Political map of Democratic Republic of the Congo
Chart
DR Congo: Current Path forecast

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Current Path forecast

This page provides an overview of the key characteristics of the Democratic Republic of the Congo along its likely (or Current Path) development trajectory. The Current Path forecast from the International Futures forecasting (IFs) platform is a dynamic scenario that imitates the continuation of current policies and environmental conditions. The Current Path is therefore in congruence with historical patterns and produces a series of dynamic forecasts endogenised in relationships across crucial global systems. We use 2019 as a standard reference year and the forecasts generally extend to 2043 to coincide with the end of the third ten-year implementation plan of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 long-term development vision.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) is a low-income country located in Central Africa, bordered to the north by the Central African Republic and South Sudan; to the east by Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania; to the southeast by Zambia; and to the southwest by Angola. To the west are the country's short Atlantic coastline, the Angolan enclave of Cabinda and Congo (Brazzaville).

The DR Congo is the second largest country in Africa after Algeria in terms of territory and the third most populous country in Africa after Nigeria and Ethiopia. It has a surface area of 2.3 million km² and a population of more than 85 million people. The country is well known for its abundant and diverse mineral resources, extensive navigable waterways, vast hydroelectric potential, and arable land estimated at 80 million hectares. It possesses about 50% of the global cobalt reserves, 25% of the world's diamond reserves and large reserves of Coltan.[1The Sentry, Country briefs: Democratic Republic of Congo, July 2015] Despite its abundant natural resources, the DR Congo ranks near the bottom in various human and economic development indicators. For most of its recent history, the country has been plagued by persistent political instability, violent conflicts involving foreign and local armed groups and poor governance.

 

The DR Congo faces numerous development challenges. There are, however, reasons to expect a better future. The first peaceful transfer of power in the country's history offers hope for national and regional stability — a key condition for inclusive, sustained growth and development.

Chart 1: Political map of Democratic Republic of the Congo
Chart
Demographics: Current Path

Demographics: Current Path

The characteristics of a country's population can shape its long-term social, economic, and political foundations; thus, understanding a nation's demographic profile indicates its development prospects.

The DR Congo's population growth is among the highest in the world. However, the state's negligible provision of medical care — along with poverty, violence, and endemic disease — has limited life expectancy, which for both men and women is far below the global average. The DR Congo's population structure is typical of countries with a low life expectancy and high fertility rates. The country had the third highest total fertility rate globally in 2019 with a rate of 5.9 children per woman, although this figure is down from its average level of 6.7 in the 1990s.

The population of the DR Congo was about 86.8 million in 2019, and on the Current Path it is forecast to be 172.7 million by 2043 — a 98.9% increase over the next 24 years. By 2043, the DR Congo will still be the third most populous country in Africa after Nigeria and Ethiopia. As of 2019, about 46% of the country's population was under the age of 15, meaning a large portion of the population is dependent on a small workforce to provide for its needs. The population under 15 years is expected to decline but will still constitute about 38.6% of the population in 2043. The share of the elderly (65 and above) has been stable at 3% over time and it is projected to reach 3.3% in 2043. In 2019, 51.1% of the Congolese population was in the 15–64 years working-age group, which is forecast to increase to 58% by 2043. The working-age group constitutes the largest share of the population, and this can be a potential source of growth provided the labour force is well trained and sufficient jobs are created.

The high population growth in the DR Congo goes hand-in-hand with rapid urbanisation. In 2019, about 45% of the population lived in urban areas, up from 30.6% in 1990. This is nearly 14 percentage points more than the average of 31% for low-income countries in Africa. In the current development trajectory, the rate of urbanisation in the DR Congo is projected to increase to 56.5% by 2043, while the rural population will drop to 43.5% from about 69.4% in 1990 and 55.1% in 2019.

Rapid urbanisation in the DR Congo is associated with unemployment, poverty, inadequate healthcare, poor sanitation, urban slums and environmental degradation , especially in the main cities such as Kinshasa. Nearly 75% of the urban population in the DR Congo live in slums. This is 15 percentage points higher than the average for sub-Saharan Africa.[2World Bank, Democratic Republic of Congo urbanization review: Productive and inclusive cities for an emerging Congo, Directions in Development: Environment and Sustainable Development, Washington, DC: World Bank, 2018.]
Kinshasa, with its population estimated at 12 million in 2016, and an annual growth rate of about 5.1%, is projected to be home to 24 million people by 2030. It will become the most populous city in Africa, ahead of Cairo and Lagos.[3World Bank, Democratic Republic of Congo urbanization review: Productive and inclusive cities for an emerging Congo, Directions in Development: Environment and Sustainable Development, Washington, DC: World Bank, 2018.] Good urban planning could foster an inclusive economy by improving service delivery and reducing urban poverty. In addition, adequate and appropriate urban planning is essential to mitigate the impacts of climate change, such as flooding.

The population density of the DR Congo is less than one inhabitant per hectare in 2019, which is comparable to the African average. The population is concentrated on the plateaus, in the savannah near rivers and lakes. The north and the centre of the country, a domain of the jungle, are almost empty. The rural exodus, induced by push factors such as avoiding conflict and its attendant risks as well as inadequate rural services, has swollen the population of the cities. The largest cities are Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Mbuji-Mayi, Kananga, Kisangani and Bukavu.
In the Current Path forecast, the population density is projected to remain below one inhabitant per hectare by 2043, on par with the projected average for low-income Africa in the same year.

Chart 4: Population density map for 2019
Chart 4: Population density map for 2019
Source: Source goes here
Economics: Current Path

Economics: Current Path

The Congolese economy was particularly hard hit by the series of violent conflicts in the 1990s. For instance, over the period 1990–2003, the size of the economy shrank by about 40%. The mining sector, which was the mainstay of the economy, collapsed.

Following the signing of an all-inclusive peace agreement in 2002, the transition government, led by Joseph Kabila, reengaged with international financial institutions leading to a resumption in support from the World Bank and the IMF. Several reforms and policies implemented under the auspices of the Bretton Woods Institutions, in conjunction with a rebound in post-war economic activity, served to control hyperinflation and revived economic growth. In 2002, after a recession that had lasted a decade, the country returned to growth.

Buoyed by rising commodity prices, the DR Congo recorded an average growth rate of 7.7% from 2010 to 2015, compared to an average of 4.3% for sub-Saharan Africa over the same period. However, the subsequent cyclical fluctuations in commodity prices slowed growth dynamics to 4.1% from 2016 to 2019 and revealed the country's high exposure to commodity price shocks. In 2019, the size of the DR Congo's economy was US$44.9 billion, up from US$29.7 billion in 1990. By 2043, the economy is projected to grow to US$182.8 billion, making it the 12th largest economy in Africa based on the Current Path assumptions for other countries. The current growth model of the DR Congo, which is based on the mining sector, is fragile and holds little promise for improvements in livelihoods. Mining and hydrocarbon account for more than 90% of the country's total exports. Without a significant structural transformation of the economy, economic growth will continue to be at the mercy of commodity price shocks.

Although many of the charts in the sectoral scenarios also include GDP per capita, this overview is an essential point of departure for interpreting the general economic outlook of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Congolese economy was particularly hard hit by the series of violent conflicts in the 1990s. For instance, over the period 1990–2003, the GDP per capita declined to nearly 30% of its level at independence in 1960. The GDP per capita (PPP) was US$911 in 2019 (about 40% of its level in 1960), and it is forecast to increase to US$1 977 in 2043. This will be about US$1 813 lower than the projected average for low-income countries in Africa in the same year.

The informal sector is a crucial lifeline for many people in the DR Congo. According to the World Bank, the share of the informal sector in total workers is 81.5%. According to the Trade Union Confederation of the DR Congo (La Confédération Syndicale du Congo), only 2.5% of workers are employed in the formal sector. In other words, the informal sector accounts for 97.5% of all workers in the country, above the average for sub-Saharan Africa, estimated at 89.2%.[4International Labour Organisation, Women and Men in the Informal Economy: A Statistical Picture, 3rd ed., Geneva: International Labour Office, 2018.]

In 2019, the size of the informal economy represented about 42% of the country's GDP, and by 2043 it is projected to modestly decline to 33.8%, above the average of 25.8% for low-income countries in Africa. Although the informal economy provides a safety net for the large and growing working-age population in the country, it impedes economic growth and hinders improved economic policies. Reducing informality will allow more people to benefit from better wages and redistributive measures. Therefore, the DR Congo needs to reduce the size of its informal economy with the least friction possible by reducing the hurdles to registering a business, tackling corruption, and improving access to finance.

The IFs platform uses data from the Global Trade and Analysis Project (GTAP) to classify economic activity into six sectors: agriculture, energy, materials (including mining), manufactures, services and information and communications technology (ICT). Most other sources use a threefold distinction between only agriculture, industry and services with the result that data may differ.

The service and agriculture sectors have the largest shares in the DR Congo's GDP. In 2019, agriculture accounted for 31.3% of the country's GDP (US$14 billion), while the service sector represented 31% (US$13.9 billion). On the Current Path, the share of the service sector in GDP will slightly increase and peak at 36.2% of GDP in 2035 before declining to 32.9% in 2043 (US$60.1 billion).

As a result of the structural transformation of the economy, the share of the agriculture sector is forecast to decline to 12.6% (US$23.1 billion) by 2043. The manufacturing sector is forecast to overtake the agriculture sector from 2032 to become the second largest contributor to GDP (28.2% or US$51.6 billion) by 2043.
The materials sector accounted for 11.8% of GDP in 2019, and by 2043 will increase to 20.8%. ICT and energy accounted for 2.9% and 1.8% of GDP in 2019, and their contribution to GDP is forecast to be 4.2% and 1.2% in 2043 respectively.

The data on agricultural production and demand in the IFs forecasting platform initialises from data provided on food balances by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). IFs contains data on numerous types of agriculture but aggregates its forecast into crops, meat and fish, presented in million metric tons. Chart 9 shows agricultural production and demand as a total of all three categories.

The DR Congo has the potential to become a global agricultural power. Indeed, with 80 million hectares of arable land, of which only 10% is cultivated, agriculture is one of the country's largest untapped resources. Despite this enormous potential, the DR Congo has not achieved food independence, and malnutrition is widespread. Agricultural production is hampered by several factors such as poor transport infrastructure, limited access to financial services and agricultural inputs, land disputes and conflicts.

Agricultural crop production in 2019 stood at 51.4 million metric tons compared to demand at 52.7 million metric tons. The gap between agricultural production and demand is forecast to increase significantly across the forecast horizon. By 2043, agricultural crop production and demand are forecast to be 85 million metric tons and 136.3 million metric tons respectively. This is equivalent to excess demand of 51.3 million metric tons that will likely be met through imports.

Poverty: Current Path

Poverty: Current Path

There are numerous methodologies for and approaches to defining poverty. We measure income poverty and use GDP per capita as a proxy. In 2015, the World Bank adopted the measure of US$1.90 per person per day (in 2011 international prices), also used to measure progress towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 1 of eradicating extreme poverty. To account for extreme poverty in richer countries occurring at slightly higher levels of income than in poor countries, the World Bank introduced three additional poverty lines in 2017:

  • US$3.20 for lower middle-income countries 
  • US$5.50 for upper middle-income countries
  • US$22.70 for high-income countries.

The DR Congo is among the world's poorest countries: with 62.8 million people living in extreme poverty, the DR Congo has the highest number of poor people in sub-Saharan Africa after Nigeria, which has more than 85 million people surviving on US$1.90 per day. In 2019, the extreme poverty rate stood at 72.3%, 25 percentage points above the average of 47.7% for low-income countries in Africa.


In the Current Path forecast, the extreme poverty rate at US$1.90 is projected to decline to 47.4% (81.9 million people) by 2043, above the average of 25.1% for low-income countries in Africa.


Factors such as armed conflicts, poor governance, high fertility rates, infrastructure shortage and low schooling, among others, are some of the root causes of the misery of millions of Congolese. Policymakers in the DR Congo should make growth more inclusive by integrating the most vulnerable segments of the population, especially women, into the economy and enhancing human capital formation to meet the needs of the labour market and hence create more gainful jobs and accelerate poverty reduction.

Carbon Emissions/Energy: Current Path

Carbon Emissions/Energy: Current Path

The IFs platform forecasts six types of energy, namely oil, gas, coal, hydro, nuclear and other renewables. To allow comparisons between different types of energy, the data is converted into billion barrels of oil equivalent (BBOE). The energy contained in a barrel of oil is approximately 5.8 million British thermal units (MBTUs) or 1 700 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy.

The DR Congo has abundant and varied energy resources such as hydroelectricity, biomass, solar, wind and fossil fuels, but oil and hydro remain the primary sources of energy in the country. In 2019, oil production was estimated at 20 million barrels of oil equivalent or 51.7% of total energy production, while energy production from hydro stood at 10 million barrels or 44.8% of total energy production. On the Current Path, oil will account for 32.3% of energy production by 2043 while hydro will account for 60.2% (40 million barrels of oil equivalent). The energy production from other renewable sources is currently at the embryonic stage. From a very low base, other renewable energy will account for 7.3% of total energy production by 2043. The DR Congo has vast potential for renewable energy: the country's potential is estimated at 70 GW for solar and 15 GW for wind power.[5PricewaterhouseCoopers, Africa gearing up, 2013]

Carbon is released in many ways, but the three most important contributors to greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and methane (CH4). Since each has a different molecular weight, IFs uses carbon. Many other sites and calculations use CO2 equivalent.

Annual carbon emissions, which were below 1 million tons until 2012, have risen due to increased economic activity in recent years. Carbon emissions increased from 0.7 million tons in 2012 to 2.5 million tons in 2019 and are forecast to reach 19.4 million tons by 2043, an increase of 676% between 2019 and 2043. However, this increase comes from a very low base and the DR Congo’s total emissions in 2043 will only constitute about 0.2% of global carbon emissions.

Developed economies must help the DR Congo and the many other developing African countries deal with the impact of climate change, which will disproportionately affect them.

Stability scenario

Stability scenario

The Stability scenario represents reasonable but ambitious reductions in risk of regime instability and lower levels of internal conflict. Stability is generally a prerequisite for other aspects of development and this would encourage inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) and improve business confidence. Better governance through the accountability that follows substantive democracy is modelled separately.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

The weak state and the impact of the Rwandan genocide of 1994 that saw some 1.2 million Rwandese Hutus flee to the eastern part of the DR Congo set the stage for the start of the DR Congo conflicts in the 1990s. In 2002, talks between Congolese actors led to the signing of a peace agreement — the Accord Global et Inclusif, which paved the way for the 2003 Transition Constitution, three years of transition, and the holding of the first free and fair elections in the country in 2006. Even though the DR Congo is now portrayed as a post-conflict country, large parts of the country and millions of Congolese are still coping with violent conflict daily, including parts of the North Kivu, South Kivu, Ituri, Haut-Uele and Tanganyika provinces.

IFs’ governance security index ranges from 0 (low security) to 1 (high security). The Current Path forecast shows lower stability than the average for low-income Africa. Specifically, the score for the DR Congo on the governance security index was 0.55 in 2019 compared to 0.64 for Africa low-income 

countries. The Stability scenario improves security and stability in the DR Congo. By 2043, the score in the Stability scenario is 0.77, about 26% higher than the Current Path forecast and 8.5% higher than the projected average of 0.71 on the Current Path for African low-income countries.

The war in Ethiopia has shown how instability can imperil an impressive economic growth record. Ethiopia's case demonstrates that a state's capacity to maintain order is the most important condition for development. The government and policymakers in the DR Congo should take proactive measures for more social and political stability.

Increased stability would promote peace and political consensus in the country and encourage greater domestic and foreign investment, positively affecting income per capita growth. Thus, by 2033 the DR Congo's GDP per capita would be US$31 higher in the Stability scenario compared to the Current Path forecast for that year. In 2043, the difference would increase to US$126, with the DR Congo recording a GDP per capita of US$2 104, 6.4% higher than the Current Path forecast of US$1 977. However, the DR Congo’s GDP per capita in the Stability scenario would still be below the projected average for African low-income countries in the Current Path forecast by 2043

Stability in a country is an essential condition for economic growth and poverty reduction. When using the low-income countries' extreme poverty threshold of US$1.90, 62.8 million Congolese (72.3% of the population) were considered to be extremely poor in 2019. The number of poor people will stand at 74.5 million (43.2%) by 2043 in the Stability scenario, compared to 81.9 million (47.4%) in the Current Path forecast for that year — a difference of 7.4 million fewer people in extreme poverty. The poverty rate in the Stability scenario (at US$1.90 per day) in 2043 is 18 percentage points above the projected average of 25.2% for Africa low-income countries in the Current Path forecast

Demographic scenario

Demographic scenario

This section presents the impact of a Demographic scenario that aims to hasten and increase the demographic dividend through reasonable but ambitious reductions in the communicable-disease burden for children under five, the maternal mortality ratio and increased access to modern contraception. 

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

Demographers typically differentiate between a first, second and even a third demographic dividend. We focus here on the contribution of the size of the labour force (between 15 and 64 years of age) relative to dependants (children and the elderly) as part of the first dividend. A window of opportunity opens when the ratio of the working-age population to dependants is equal to or surpasses 1.7

In 2019, the ratio of the working-age population to dependants stood at 1.05:1, meaning that there is almost one person of the working-age population for each dependant. On the Current Path, it is forecast to be 1.4:1 by 2043. In the Demographic scenario, the working-age population to dependants ratio is 1.5:1 by 2043. The minimum ratio of 1.7:1 will only be reached in 2056, six years later than the average for African low-income countries.


The increasing size of the working-age population in the DR Congo can be a catalyst for growth if sufficient education and employment is generated to successfully harness their productive power, otherwise it could turn into a demographic 'bomb', as many people of working age may remain in poverty, potentially creating frustration, social tension and conflict.

The infant mortality rate is the number of infant deaths per 1 000 live births and is an important marker of the overall quality of the health system in a country.

As of 2019, the infant mortality rate in the DR Congo was 50.5 deaths per 1 000 live births, above the average of 48.5 for Africa’s low-income countries. The Demographic scenario reduces infant mortality to 25 deaths per 1 000 live births, compared to 31.8 in the Current Path forecast by 2033. By 2043, the infant mortality rate will be 17.5 deaths per 1 000 live births, compared to 22 in the Current Path forecast.
The infant mortality rate in the scenario is 3.7 percentage points above the average for low-income countries in Africa at 21.2 deaths per 1 000 live births by 2043.

The Demographic scenario's impact on per capita income is marginal at approximately US$13 more than the Current Path forecast of US$1 348 in 2033. By 2043, the average Congolese will have about US$71 more than in the Current Path forecast at US$2 048, a nearly 3.6% improvement. However, this is about 85% lower than the projected average for Africa low-income countries in the Current Path forecast in 2043.

When using the low-income countries' extreme poverty threshold of US$1.90, 62.8 million Congolese (72.3% of the population) were considered to be extremely poor in 2019. The number of poor people stands at 73.7 million, or 44.6% of the population, by 2043 in the Demographic scenario, compared to 81.9 million, or 47.4%, in the Current Path forecast for that year, a difference of 8.2 million fewer people in extreme poverty. The poverty rate in the Demographic scenario in 2043 is 19.4 percentage points above the Current Path forecast average of 25.1% for Africa low-income countries.

Congolese authorities should make an effort to accelerate the demographic transition, which can be another source of growth and poverty reduction.

Health/WaSH scenario

Health/WaSH scenario

This section presents reasonable but ambitious improvements in the Health/WaSH scenario, which include reductions in the mortality rate associated with both communicable diseases (e.g. AIDS, diarrhoea, malaria and respiratory infections) and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) (e.g. diabetes), as well as improvements in access to safe water and better sanitation. The acronym WaSH stands for water, sanitation and hygiene.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

The DR Congo lags behind its low-income peers on several health indicators. Congolese people have little access to basic healthcare, mainly due to lack of funding of the sector, mismanagement and corruption, lack of qualified medical staff and the high cost of healthcare. However, the health system has registered some recent improvements, reflected in changes in indicators such as life expectancy.

Life expectancy in the DR Congo has increased from 53.7 years in 1990 to 62.5 in 2019, slightly below the average of 63.7 years for low-income countries in Africa. Based on the Health/WaSH scenario, life expectancy is estimated to increase to 69.8 years compared to 69.2 years in the Current Path forecast by 2043. In the scenario, life expectancy in the DR Congo is one year lower than the projected average for low-income countries in Africa, at 70.8 years in 2043. On average, females have a higher life expectancy at birth of 63.8 years compared to 61.3 for males in 2019. In the Health/WaSH scenario, life expectancy at birth for females is projected to be 70.7 by 2043 compared to 67.3 years for males.

With the technical and financial assistance of the international community, the health system of the DR Congo has registered some recent improvements, reflected in changes in indicators such as infant mortality and maternal mortality rates. Indeed, the infant mortality rate in the DR Congo has declined from 95 deaths per 1 000 live births in 1990 to about 51 deaths in 2019.

The Health/WaSH scenario reduces infant mortality rate to 27.4 deaths per 1 000 live births compared to 31.8 in the Current Path forecast by 2033. By 2043, the infant mortality rate in the scenario is 19.4 deaths per 1 000 live births, compared to 22 in the Current Path forecast. The infant mortality rate in the scenario is below the projected average of 21.2 for Africa low-income countries.

Agriculture scenario

Agriculture scenario

The Agriculture scenario represents reasonable but ambitious increases in yields per hectare (reflecting better management and seed and fertiliser technology), increased land under irrigation and reduced loss and waste. Where appropriate, it includes an increase in calorie consumption, reflecting the prioritisation of food self-sufficiency above food exports as a desirable policy objective.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

The data on yield per hectare (in metric tons) is for crops but does not distinguish between different categories of crops.

The agriculture sector in the DR Congo has been severely affected by the violent conflicts in the 1990s. For instance, by 2006, agricultural productivity had fallen to 60% of its level at independence in 1960.[6M Nanivazo and K Mahrt, Growth and poverty in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in C Arnt, A McKay and F Tarp (eds.), Growth and Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa, Oxford Scholarship Online, 2016, doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198744795.003.0018.] Other constraints on production include a lack of transport infrastructure, limited access to agricultural inputs and land disputes.[7K Yeboua, J Cilliers and S Kwasi, Waking the sleeping giant: Development pathways for the DRC to 2050, Institute for Security Studies, 2021] In the Agriculture scenario, crop yields in the DR Congo improve from 3.5 tons per hectare in 2019 to 8.6 tons per hectare in 2043, compared to 4.8 tons in the Current Path forecast. This is 79.2% higher than the Current Path forecast and above the projected average for low-income Africa at 3.5 tons per hectare in the Current Path forecast for that year.

Without significant efforts to improve agricultural production, the current low crop yield will continue to make the DR Congo a net food importer for the foreseeable future. Currently, the food trade deficit of the country is estimated at US$1.5 billion per year.[8World Bank, Democratic Republic of Congo, Systematic Country Diagnostic, Report No. 112733-ZR, 2018] This points to major underperformance given the country's huge agricultural potential and is unsustainable in the long term. On the Current Path, the food import dependence will continue to increase to about 38.3% of food demand by 2043. However, in the Agriculture scenario, the food import dependence is moderate and will be 10.3% of total food demand in 2043, lower than the projected average of 32.3% for low-income African countries in the Current Path forecast

The Agriculture scenario significantly impacts GDP per capita in the DR Congo. By 2043, the Agriculture scenario improves GDP per capita by about US$235 compared to the Current Path forecast, meaning the average Congolese will be earning US$2 212 at that stage. This is US$1 578 lower than the average for low-income countries in Africa in 2043

The agriculture sector is a crucial lifeline for millions of Congolese; it provides about 60% of the country’s total jobs. Using the US$1.90 per person per day extreme poverty threshold, the poverty rate in the Agriculture scenario by 2043 is 32.6% compared to 47.4% in the Current Path forecast for the same year. This is equivalent to 25.9 million fewer people living in extreme poverty.

The scenario reveals that further development in the agriculture sector is a viable option to reduce poverty in the DR Congo. More investment in the sector will increase consumption and income, and even pave the way for agro-industry, positively affecting growth and poverty reduction

Education scenario

Education scenario

The Education scenario represents reasonable but ambitious improved intake, transition and graduation rates from primary to tertiary levels and better quality of education. It also models substantive progress towards gender parity at all levels, additional vocational training at secondary school level and increases in the share of science and engineering graduates.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

Political instability and conflicts in the 1990s severely affected the educational outcomes in the DR Congo. In addition, widespread malnutrition, the difficulty of switching from mother tongue tuition to learning in French, and in particular financial constraints continue to hamper educational outcomes.[9K Yeboua, J Cilliers and S Kwasi, Waking the sleeping giant: Development pathways for the DRC to 2050, Institute for Security Studies, 2021] Despite these challenges, the DR Congo has recorded a notable improvement in indicators related to education in recent years. For example, the literacy rate for people aged 15 years and older improved from 61.2% in 2007 to 79.5% in 2019.[10K Yeboua, J Cilliers and S Kwasi, Waking the sleeping giant: Development pathways for the DRC to 2050, Institute for Security Studies, 2021]

The average years of education in the adult population (aged 15 years and older) is a good indicator of the stock of education in a country. The average years of education for adults aged 15 years and over stood at 4.5 years in 2019, and on the Current Path it is projected to improve to 6.8 years by 2043. This is about seven months above the average for low-income countries in Africa. Technically, this means that most Congolese will have at least primary education by 2043. In the Education scenario, the mean years of education improves by about five months above the Current Path forecast for 2043.

Although the DR Congo has made significant progress in getting more children into school in recent years, the quality of education they receive is poor and not well suited to the job market's needs.[11K Yeboua, J Cilliers and S Kwasi, Waking the sleeping giant: Development pathways for the DRC to 2050, Institute for Security Studies, 2021] The main factors explaining this low quality of education are the shortage of teaching staff with the required skills, obsolete equipment and overcrowded classrooms. The education sector is underfunded; the government spending on education was about 2.5% of GDP in 2019 while the Sub-Saharan African average was 4.3% of GDP.[12K Yeboua, J Cilliers and S Kwasi, Waking the sleeping giant: Development pathways for the DRC to 2050, Institute for Security Studies, 2021]

In the Education scenario, the score for the quality of primary education improves from 25.5 out of a possible 100 in 2019 to 34.2 in 2043, a 17.5% increase compared to the Current Path forecast of 29.1 in the same year. In addition, the score for the quality of secondary education goes from 36.3 in 2019 to 45.6 in 2043 in the scenario, a 20% improvement compared to the Current Path forecast of 38 in 2043.

Quality education is crucial for economic development. It not only allows the country to increase its current added value but also to create tomorrow's technological innovations. Thus, Congolese authorities should accelerate reforms to improve the quality of education in the country

By 2043, the Education scenario will increase the GDP per capita by about US$74 above the US$1 977 in the Current Path forecast, an increase of 3.7%. Investment in education significantly impacts economic growth, but it takes time to materialise. For instance, it will take more than a decade for a child enrolled in primary school to contribute meaningfully to the economy

By 2043, the DR Congo will record a poverty rate of 44.4% (76.3 million people) in the Education scenario, compared to 47.4% (81.9 million people) in the Current Path forecast. This means 5.6 million fewer people will live in extreme poverty than in the Current Path forecast for 2043.

Education is one of the important tools to reduce poverty. It improves the employment and income prospects of the poor segment of society. The Congolese government's ambitious objectives for the education sector, such as the provision of free primary education, provide great opportunities for children from poor households to receive education with a positive effect on poverty reduction in the country

Manufacturing/transfers scenario

Manufacturing/transfers scenario

The Manufacturing/Transfers scenario represents reasonable but ambitious manufacturing growth through greater investment in the economy, investments in research and development, and promotion of the export of manufactured goods. It is accompanied by an increase in welfare transfers (social grants) to moderate the initial increases in inequality that are typically associated with a manufacturing transition. To this end, the scenario improves tax administration and increases government revenues.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

Chart 30 should be read with Chart 8 that presents a stacked area graph on the contribution to GDP and size, in billion US$, of the Current Path economy for each of the sectors.

In absolute terms, the contribution of the service sector to GDP has the highest improvement compared to the Current Path forecast in 2043. It is forecast to be US$9.6 billion larger than in the Current Path forecast. The service sector is followed by the manufacturing sector with its contribution of US$5.7 billion above the Current Path in 2043. In terms of percentage of GDP, the share of the service sector in GDP is 1.2 percentage points of GDP larger in the scenario than in the Current Path forecast. It is followed by ICT with 0.26 percentage point of GDP above the Current Path forecast. Manufacturing is third with an increase of only 0.15 percentage points compared to the Current Path forecast.

The current growth model of the DR Congo, driven by the mining sector, is fragile and holds little promise for improvements in livelihoods. Authorities should make efforts to diversify the economy with a focus on the manufacturing sector, which is vital to creating jobs, improving productivity, and ultimately reducing poverty.

Compared to the Current Path, the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario increases household transfers and welfare by 97.2% in 2043. This represents US$6.7 billion more than the Current Path forecast of US$6.8 billion. These transfers will be needed to address the initial increase in poverty associated with the investment in the manufacturing sector. Industrialisation is funded by an initial crunch in consumption which increases poverty in the first few years. However, in the long term, these efforts stimulate inclusive growth with a greater impact on poverty alleviation. To make the social safety net programmes more effective at reducing poverty, better targeting and efficient approaches are critical.

In the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario, the GDP per capita is US$2 133 compared to US$1 977 in the Current Path forecast, an increase of 7.9% (US$156). Manufacturing is important for economic growth due to its backward and forward linkages with other sectors and its ability to transform the productivity structures across an economy. Thus, a robust manufacturing sector is crucial for sustained growth and significantly improves the population's living standard.

At the poverty threshold of US$1.90, 62.8 million Congolese people (72.3% of the population) were considered to be extremely poor in 2019. The number of poor people by 2043 will stand at 72.8 million, or 42.3% of the population, in the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario compared to 81.9 million, or 47.4%, in the Current Path forecast for that year, a difference of 9.1 million people. The poverty rate in the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario in 2043 is 17.2 percentage points above the projected average in the Current Path forecast for Africa low-income countries.

Leapfrogging scenario

Leapfrogging scenario

The Leapfrogging scenario represents a reasonable but ambitious adoption of and investment in renewable energy technologies, resulting in better access to electricity in urban and rural areas. The scenario includes accelerated access to mobile and fixed broadband and the adoption of modern technology that improves government efficiency and allows for the more rapid formalisation of the informal sector.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

Fixed broadband includes cable modem Internet connections, DSL Internet connections of at least 256 KB/s, fibre and other fixed broadband technology connections (such as satellite broadband Internet, ethernet local area networks, fixed-wireless access, wireless local area networks, WiMAX, etc.).

The DR Congo lags behind many of its income group peers in Africa in terms of Internet access. Poor infrastructure, frequent power shortages and high taxation, as well as complex regulations, are some of the bottlenecks that hamper the expansion of the sector.[13Deloitte, Digital inclusion and mobile sector taxation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 2015]

Fixed broadband subscriptions stood at 1.5 per 100 people in 2019 compared to the average of 2.3 for low-income countries in Africa. In the Leapfrogging scenario, fixed broadband subscriptions increase to 48.3 per 100 people by 2043, which is 91.6% higher than the Current Path forecast of 25.2 subscriptions per 100 people for the same year

Mobile broadband refers to wireless Internet access delivered through cellular towers to computers and other digital devices.

Widespread access to high-speed Internet has the potential to improve a country's socio-economic outcomes. Broadband can increase productivity, reduce transaction costs and optimise supply chains, positively affecting economic growth. The DR Congo authorities should make reforms to increase broadband penetration.

Mobile broadband subscriptions stood at 10.5 per 100 people in the DR Congo in 2019, significantly below the average of 22.9 for low-income Africa. In the Leapfrogging scenario, mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 people in the DR Congo increases to 125.3 by 2043, slightly above the Current Path forecast of 123.5. In other words, mobile broadband subscriptions in the scenario are only two subscriptions per 100 people higher than the Current Path forecast for 2043

The number of Congolese people who had access to electricity in 2019 was 18.3 million people, representing 21.4% of the total population. This is below the average of 32.2% for low-income countries in Africa. However, access to electricity is skewed toward the urban areas. In 2019, about 46.5% of the urban population had access to electricity, compared to a measly 1.8% in rural areas. In the Leapfrogging scenario, about 57.9% of the Congolese population (99.8 million people) will have access to electricity by 2043. This is also slightly below the projected average of 60.5% in the Current Path forecast for Africa low-income countries.

By 2043, 81.9% of the urban population will have access to electricity in the Leapfrogging scenario compared to 72.3% in the Current Path forecast. Regarding the population in the rural areas, 27.4% of them will have access to electricity by 2043 in the Leapfrogging scenario compared to nearly 16% on the Current Path forecast for the same year.

By 2033, the GDP per capita in the Leapfrogging scenario will be at US$1 429, compared to US$1 348 in the Current Path forecast, a difference of US$81. In 2043, this difference will grow to US$194. The GDP per capita in the Leapfrogging scenario is US$1 619 lower than the projected average for low-income countries in Africa in 2043.

In the Leapfrogging scenario, the number of poor people in 2043 is 72.6 million, representing 42.2% of the population. This is 9.3 million fewer poor people than the Current Path forecast for the same year. In the Leapfrogging scenario, the poverty rate is 17 percentage points higher than the average for Africa’s low-income countries.

Free Trade scenario

Free Trade scenario

The Free Trade scenario represents the impact of the full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by 2034 through increases in exports, improved productivity and increased trade and economic freedom.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website. 

The trade balance is the difference between the value of a country's exports and its imports. A country that imports more goods and services than it exports in terms of value has a trade deficit, while a country that exports more goods and services than it imports has a trade surplus.

The external trade of the DR Congo is dominated by its mining sector and is therefore dependent on the fluctuations of the global commodities markets. Like many African countries, the trade balance of the DR Congo is structurally in deficit. In 2019, the country's trade deficit amounted to nearly 7% of GDP. In the Free Trade scenario, the DR Congo’s trade balance does not improve and the deficit increases to a peak of 17% of GDP in 2036 before slightly declining to 6.1% of GDP in 2043, compared to a trade surplus of 2.2% of GDP in the Current Path forecast for the same year. With the removal of trade restrictions, following trade liberalisation, it becomes easier to import while the DR Congo firms face intense competition on the export markets. However, only using the trade balance is not a viable indicator to conclude that the DR Congo will be a loser in the implementation of AfCFTA, as other indicators need to be considered too.

Generally, trade liberalisation improves productivity through competition and technology diffusion, stimulating growth and raising income levels. In the Current Path forecast, GDP per capita increases from US$911 in 2019 to US$1 977 in 2043 but is US$2 193 in the Free Trade scenario, an increase of US$216 above the Current Path forecast for that year. This shows that the full implementation of AfCFTA will enhance economic growth in the DR Congo.

Trade openness will reduce poverty in the long term after initially increasing it due to the redistributive effects of trade. Most African countries export primary commodities and low-tech manufacturing products, and therefore a continental free trade agreement (AfCFTA) that reduces tariffs and non-tariff barriers across Africa will increase competition among countries in primary commodities and low-tech manufacturing exports. Countries with inefficient, high-cost manufacturing sectors might be displaced as the AfCFTA is implemented, thereby pushing up poverty rates. In the long term, as the economy adjusts and produces and exports its comparatively advantaged (lower relative cost) goods and services, poverty rates will decline.


The poverty rate at $1.90 in the Free Trade scenario is 34.7% compared to 47.4% in the Current Path forecast in 2043. This is equivalent to about 22 million fewer poor people living in extreme poverty than on the Current Path. The full implementation of the AfCFTA will improve growth, raise incomes and reduce the DR Congo’s poverty. In 2043, the projected poverty rate in the Free Trade scenario of 34.7% will still be above the average of 25.1% in the Current Path forecast for low-income Africa.

Financial Flows scenario

Financial Flows scenario

The Financial Flows scenario represents a reasonable but ambitious increase in worker remittances and aid flows to poor countries, and an increase in the stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) and additional portfolio investment inflows to middle-income countries. We also reduced outward financial flows to emulate a reduction in illicit financial outflows.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa are still heavily dependent on foreign aid to provide basic services like education and health. This is the case for the DR Congo despite its immense natural resources. Aid constituted 7.5% of the country's GDP in 2019, below the average of 8.5% of GDP for low-income Africa. In the Financial Flows scenario, foreign aid flows to the DR Congo as a percentage of GDP will decline gradually to 4.7% by 2043, above the Current Path forecast of 4.2%, and the average of 3.8% of GDP for low-income countries in Africa.

The conflicts of the 1990s effectively kept foreign investors away from the DR Congo. The government has recently implemented several policies and reforms to attract more foreign direct investment. The extractive sector accounts for most of the FDI flowing into the DR Congo, followed by the telecommunications sector. In 2019, FDI inflows represented 4.6% of the country's GDP before dropping to 1.9% in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic crisis. These levels were slightly above the average for Africa low-income countries, which was 4.3% of GDP in 2019 and 1.8% in 2020.

In the Financial Flows scenario, FDI inflows in 2043 will represent about 5.4% of GDP compared to 4.8% on the Current Path. FDI can act as a catalyst for economic development as it brings much needed capital and technology to recipient countries. The Congolese government should continue its reforms to attract more FDI, especially manufacturing FDI.

Net remittances to the rest of the world amounted to US$0.5 billion in 2019, or 1.2% of GDP. Across the forecast horizon, the DR Congo remains a net supplier of remittances. In the Financial Flows scenario, the total net remittances to the rest of the World are US$4.6 billion (2.3% of GDP) by 2043, compared with US$4.2 billion (2.5% of GDP) in the Current Path forecast for 2043.

In the Financial Flows scenario, the GDP per capita of the DR Congo increases from US$911 in 2019 to US$2 018 in 2043, which is US$41 higher than on the Current Path forecast for the same year. Overall, the Financial Flows scenario has a modest impact on GDP per capita in the DR Congo. FDI can boost growth and development through capital accumulation and technology transfer but has not yet reached the level that would make it a game-changer in the country.

The Financial Flows scenario reduces the number of extremely poor Congolese people by only 2.8 million by 2043, compared to the Current Path forecast, using the US$1.90 poverty threshold. This is because FDI is concentrated in the extractive sector, which does not have strong forward and backward linkages with other sectors of the economy. As a result, it does not substantially impact job creation and employment. Whereas 72.3% of the DR Congo's population lived in extreme poverty in 2019, by 2043, it would be 45.8% in the Financial Flows scenario compared to 47.4% in the Current Path forecast.

Infrastructure scenario

Infrastructure scenario

The Infrastructure scenario represents a reasonable but ambitious increase in infrastructure spending across Africa, focusing on basic infrastructure (roads, water, sanitation, electricity access and ICT) in low-income countries and increasing emphasis on advanced infrastructure (such as ports, airports, railway and electricity generation) in higher-income countries.

Note that health and sanitation infrastructure is included as part of the Health/WaSH scenario and that ICT infrastructure and more rapid uptake of renewables are part of the Leapfrogging scenario. The interventions there push directly on outcomes, whereas those modelled in this scenario increase infrastructure spending, indirectly boosting other forms of infrastructure, including that supporting health, sanitation and ICT. 

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

In 2019, the total number of people with access to electricity in the DR Congo was about 18.8 million, representing 21.6% of the population. The Infrastructure scenario increases it to 88.9 million in 2043, constituting 51.4% of the population. This is above the projected value of 82.1 million, representing 47.5% of the population, in the Current Path forecast.

In the scenario, by 2043 it is projected that 75% of the urban population in the DR Congo will have access to electricity compared to 72.3% in the Current Path forecast. However, only 21.4% (16.1 million people) and 16% (12 million people) of rural population in the Infrastructure scenario and the Current Path forecast respectively will have access to electricity in 2043, indicating the huge disparity in access to electricity between the urban and rural population in the DR Congo. Rural electricity access is complicated by various factors, such as challenging terrain and lack of transport infrastructure, adding to the remoteness of rural communities.[14World Bank, Increasing access to electricity in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Opportunities and challenges, 2020]

Indicator 9.1.1 in the Sustainable Development Goals refers to the proportion of the rural population who live within 2 km of an all-season road and is captured in the Rural Access Index.

Accessibility to rural areas spurs on socio-economic development and improves the rural population’s living standards. Better rural roads facilitate trade between rural and urban areas. For instance, they enable the rural population to enjoy products from nearby urban areas while allowing the urban population to more easily access agricultural products supplied by rural areas.

In 2019, 32.9% of the rural population in the DR Congo resided within 2 km from an all-weather road, far below the average of 43% for low-income African countries. In the Infrastructure scenario, it is projected to increase to 38.4% by 2043, slightly above the 37.7% projected in the Current Path forecast for that year

Quality infrastructure not only enables business and industry development but also increases efficiency in the delivery of social services. Important basic infrastructure such as roads and electricity, play a vital role in achieving sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Infrastructure shortage is considered one of the key factors impeding higher productivity and growth in the DR Congo.[15K Yeboua, J Cilliers and S Kwasi, Waking the sleeping giant: Development pathways for the DRC to 2050, Institute for Security Studies, 2021]

The DR Congo's GDP per capita is forecast to rise to US$2 042 by 2043 in the Infrastructure scenario. This is US$65 more than the Current Path forecast for the same year but below the Current Path forecast average of US$3 790 for Africa low-income countries.

In the Infrastructure scenario, the extreme poverty rate is projected to decline from 72.3% in 2019 to 45.4% in 2043. This is equivalent to 78.5 million poor people in 2043, compared to 81.9 million in the Current Path forecast. This suggests 3.4 million fewer people will be living in extreme poverty in the Infrastructure scenario than in the Current Path forecast for the same year. The extreme poverty rate of 45.4% in the scenario by 2043 is higher than the projected Current Path forecast average of 25.1% for Africa low-income countries.

The provision of quality roads reduces transaction costs, improves productivity, gradually stimulates growth and raises incomes with a positive effect on poverty reduction

Governance scenario

Governance scenario

The Governance scenario represents a reasonable but ambitious improvement in accountability and reduces corruption, and hence improves the quality of service delivery by government.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

As defined by the World Bank, government effectiveness ‘captures perceptions of the quality of public services, the quality of the civil service and the degree of its independence from political pressures, the quality of policy formulation and implementation, and the credibility of the government’s commitment to such policies’.

Chart 51 presents the impact of the interventions in the Governance scenario on government effectiveness.

Governance in the DR Congo is characterised by networks of rent-seeking political, military and economic elites who direct and organise the abundant natural resources of the country to serve their ethnic and regional allegiances rather than for sustainable development. Corruption is endemic in the country and ranges from basic bureaucratic and administrative corruption to grand forms of corruption involving high-ranking members of the government and defence and security forces. The extractive (oil and mining) sector, tax and customs administrations, and the state run enterprises are among the most affected.

Poor government effectiveness and the absence of strong institutional and legal mechanisms to ensure accountability hamper economic progress in the DR Congo. In the Current Path forecast and in the Governance scenario, the government effectiveness score for the country is projected to increase. The projected score for government effectiveness in the Governance scenario by 2043 is 1.6 (out of a maximum of 5). This is 0.1 points higher than the projected score of 1.5 in the Current Path forecast for the same year.

However, the DR Congo will still have a lower government effectiveness score than the projected Current Path forecast average of 1.9 for Africa low-income countries by2043.

In the Governance scenario, the DR Congo's GDP per capita is projected to increase to US$2 044 in 2043, which is US$67 more than the Current Path forecast for the same year. The GDP per capita of US$2 044 in the scenario in 2043 is, however, lower than the Current Path forecast average of US$3 790 for low-income countries in Africa for the same year.

Critical determinants of growth depend on governance and the institutional settings in a country. Authorities in the DR Congo should improve governance to enhance economic growth and income levels.

Using the US$1.90 poverty threshold for low-income countries, the poverty rate in the DR Congo is projected to decline to 45.2% in 2043 in the Governance scenario, which is higher than the average of 25.1% for low-income countries in Africa. The poverty rate of 45.2% in the scenario in 2043, equates to 3.9 million fewer people being poor than in the Current Path forecast by 2043.

Impact of scenarios on carbon emissions

Impact of scenarios on carbon emissions

This section presents projections for carbon emissions in the Current Path for the DR Congo and the 11 scenarios. Note that IFs uses carbon equivalents rather than CO2 equivalents.

In 2019, the DR Congo released about 2.5 million tons of carbon, and in the Current Path forecast will release 19.4 million tons by 2043, an increase of 682%. Although carbon emissions are set to increase as economic activity increases, the DR Congo's carbon emissions come from a very low base. Like many developing countries, the country will disproportionately suffer from climate change which it has contributed very little to. Nonetheless, the country must reduce its carbon emissions and move towards renewable energy for sustainable growth to mitigate climate change. The country has the natural resources to do so, having hydroelectric potential that equates to 13% of the world’s potential.[16Nations Unies, Commission Economique pour l’Afrique, Profile de pays: République démocratique du Congo 2017, Addis Ababa: NU.CEA, 2018–03]

The Agriculture, and Free Trade scenarios have the most significant impact on carbon emissions. The Demographic scenario has the lowest level of carbon emissions. The reduction in population growth curtails population pressure on the utilisation of resources and hence minimises environmental degradation. Except for the Demographic scenario, the quantity of carbon emissions in all the scenarios is higher than the Current Path forecast in 2043. By 2043, the carbon emissions range from 21.7 million tons for the Agriculture scenario, 12% higher than the Current Path forecast, to 19.2 million tons of carbon in the Demographic scenario.

Combined Agenda 2063 scenario

Combined Agenda 2063 scenario

Download to pdf

The Combined Agenda 2063 scenario consists of the combination of all 11 sectoral scenarios presented above, namely the Stability, Demographic, Health/WaSH, Agriculture, Education, Manufacturing/Transfers, Leapfrogging, Free Trade, Financial Flows, Infrastructure and Governance scenarios. The cumulative impact of better education, health, infrastructure, etc. means that countries get an additional benefit in the integrated IFs forecasting platform that we refer to as the synergistic effect. Chart 55 presents the contribution of each of these 12 components to GDP per capita in the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario as a stacked area graph.

The synergistic effect of all the scenarios on the GDP per capita is US$264.8 in 2043. The scenario with the most significant impact on the GDP per capita by 2043 is the Agriculture scenario followed by the Free Trade scenario, while the Health/WaSH scenario has the least impact on GDP per capita. This suggests that harnessing the huge agricultural potential the country has and increasing internal stability will improve human and economic development the most in the DR Congo

Whereas Chart 55 presents a stacked area graph on the contribution of each scenario to GDP per capita as well as the additional benefit or synergistic effect, Chart 56 presents only the GDP per capita in the Current Path forecast and the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario.

In the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario, the government makes a concerted effort to remove the binding constraints on growth and development. The Combined Agenda 2063 scenario has a much greater impact on the GDP per capita compared to the individual thematic scenarios. By 2033, the GDP per capita of the DR Congo in the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario is US$397 larger than in the Current Path forecast, and by 2043 it would come to US$3 510, US$1 533 more than in the Current Path forecast for that year.

The Combined Agenda 2063 scenario shows that a policy push across all the development sectors is necessary to achieve sustained growth and development in the DR Congo

In the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario, by 2033 37.8% of Congolese will be living in extreme poverty compared to 55.2% in the Current Path forecast. This represents about 24 million fewer people living in extreme poverty compared to the 73.6 million in the Current Path forecast. By 2043, the extreme poverty rate declines to roughly 9.4% (15.1 million people) compared to 47.4% (81.9 million people) in the Current Path forecast, a reduction of 38 percentage points, or 66.8 million people. The Combined Agenda 2063 scenario shows that a concerted policy push across all the development sectors could significantly reduce poverty in the DR Congo.

See Chart 8 to view the Current Path forecast of the sectoral composition of the economy.

Initially, agriculture will make the greatest contribution to GDP; however, after 2034, it will be outpaced by services and ICT. In absolute value, the contribution of the services and manufacturing sectors to GDP will experience the largest improvements compared to the Current Path forecast by 2043. Compared with the Current Path forecast, the services sector gets the most significant improvement, with its value in the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario US$83.7 billion larger than the Current Path forecast value for 2043. The service sector is followed by the manufacturing sector, with its value in the scenario US$58 billion larger than the Current Path forecast value. The contributions of materials, agriculture, ICT and energy to GDP in the scenario are respectively US$31 billion, US$19.2 billion, US$16.4 billion, and US$0.33 billion larger than the Current Path forecast by 2043. The service sector will continue to be the dominant sector of the DR Congo's economy, but the manufacturing sector will grow appreciably in the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario.

The Combined Agenda 2063 scenario dramatically impacts the expansion of the Congolese economy (GDP). In the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario, the size of the economy is projected to expand from US$44.9 billion in 2019 to US$391.1 billion in 2043, which is an 771% increase over the period compared to 307% in the Current Path forecast over the same period. In 2043, the GDP of the DR Congo in the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario is about US$208.3 billion larger than in the Current Path forecast for the same year.

The Combined Agenda 2063 scenario shows the benefit of widespread policy push across all development sectors in achieving sustained growth in the DR Congo

The Combined Agenda 2063 scenario significantly impacts carbon emissions, albeit from a very low base, due to the increased economic activity it causes. In this scenario, carbon emissions increase from about 2.5 million tons in 2019 to 31.5  million tons by 2043, a 1 167% increase between 2019 and 2043 compared with 682% in the Current Path forecast over the same period. In 2043, the carbon emissions in the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario are about 62%, or 12.1 million tons, higher than in the Current Path Forecast.

The materialisation of the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario would stimulate high economic growth and significantly reduce poverty in the DR Congo, but the cost in terms of environmental degradation is high. To mitigate the environmental impact of the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario, its implementation should be accompanied by concrete steps to accelerate the green energy transition

Endnotes

  1. The Sentry, Country briefs: Democratic Republic of Congo, July 2015

  2. World Bank, Democratic Republic of Congo urbanization review: Productive and inclusive cities for an emerging Congo, Directions in Development: Environment and Sustainable Development, Washington, DC: World Bank, 2018.

  3. World Bank, Democratic Republic of Congo urbanization review: Productive and inclusive cities for an emerging Congo, Directions in Development: Environment and Sustainable Development, Washington, DC: World Bank, 2018.

  4. International Labour Organisation, Women and Men in the Informal Economy: A Statistical Picture, 3rd ed., Geneva: International Labour Office, 2018.

  5. PricewaterhouseCoopers, Africa gearing up, 2013

  6. M Nanivazo and K Mahrt, Growth and poverty in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in C Arnt, A McKay and F Tarp (eds.), Growth and Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa, Oxford Scholarship Online, 2016, doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198744795.003.0018.

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Cite this research

Kouassi Yeboua (2022) DR Congo. Published online at futures.issafrica.org. Retrieved from https://futures.issafrica.org/geographic/countries/dr-congo/ [Online Resource] Updated 18 August 2022.