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Congo-Brazza flag - THE REPUBLIC OF CONGO - BRIEFS

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PRESENTATION

The Republic of the Congo, is located in Central Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Gabon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Total area: 342,000 sq. km (land: 341,500 sq. km water: 500 sq. km)

Bordering countries: Angola over 201 km, Cameroon over 523 km, Central African Republic over 467 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo over 2,410 km, Gabon over 1,903 km
Coastline: 169 km

Population: 2,954,258 (July 2003 est.) Seventy percent of the population lives in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, or along the railroad between them. Population growth rate: 1.53% (2003 est.)

Capital: Brazzaville
Independence from France: August 15, 1960
National holiday: Congolese National Day: August 15
Constitution: new constitution approved by referendum March 1992 but is now being redrafted by President Sassou-Nguesso. In August 2000, he announced plans to submit a draft constitution to the interim parliament in March 2001.

Natural resources: petroleum, timber, potash, lead, zinc, uranium, copper, phosphates, natural gas, hydropower

Agriculture productions: cassava, sugar, rice, corn, peanuts, vegetables, coffee, cocoa; forest products (Land use: arable land: 0% permanent crops: 0% permanent pastures: 29% forests and woodland: 62% other: 9% (1993 est.) Irrigated land: 10 sq. km (1993 est.)

Industrial productions: petroleum extraction, cement kilning, lumbering, brewing, sugar milling, palm oil, soap, cigarette

As one can see with the production graph below exposed (graph and statistics: courtesy of USA's Energy Information Administration - Click on the graph for the website) Congo is one of the top oil producers in Africa. It ranks fourth after Nigeria, Angola, and Gabon. However, production reached a pick in 2000 and starts declining. Year 2002's production is similar to Year 1999 one.

Graph: courtesy of USA's Energy Information AdministrationOil and gas industries: State-owned Société Nationale des Pétroles du Congo (SNPC) oversees offshore and onshore oil exploration and production: 97,9 millions bbl (1999); 96,8 millions bbl (2000)

Major Producing Fields: N'Kossa (60,000 bbl/d including 12,000 bbl/d of GPL), Kitina (27,000 bbl/d); Tchibouela (34.600 bbl/d).

Major Refineries: (1/1/99 Capacity bbl/d): Congolaise de Raffinage (CORAF) - Pointe Noire (21,000 bbl/d)

Major Oil Terminals: Djeno. Major Foreign Oil Company: British Petroleum, Chevron, CMS Nomeco, Energy Africa, ENI-Agip, ExxonMobil, Naphta Petroleum, Occidental, Royal Dutch/Shell, Sasol, TotalFina Elf

Political, social and economic life of Congo evolve around petroleum production. Oil is the background and the principal reason behind fierce political fights to control state power that end up in civil unrest and war in 1995-1998.

A brief history's recount is necessary to understand current Congo's political life.

Upon independence in 1960, a priest: Abbe Fulbert Youlou ruled. A coup toppled his government in 1963. The following three decades (1963 -1991) were the period of Marxism Leninism. One of the preeminent figure leader of the soviet style government of that period was President Sassou-Nguesso who ruled the country from 1979 to 1991. He was forced to abandon his grip on the power - in 1991 - by civil and political unrest followed by a "Conference Nationale". Pascal Lissouba took over as president elected in 1992. He will not terminate his 5-year- term mandate. A brief civil war (June-October) 1997 restored former Marxist President Sassou-Nguesso Click here for an article by Kamanga Mutond (Associated Press) He publicly expressed interest in moving forward on economic reforms and privatization

Congo was an oil producer before the independence in August 15, 1960 (It started to produce oil in 1957 from the onshore "Pointe Indienne" field, reaching a peak output of about 2,500 (bbl/d) in the mid-1960s). Till the end of the 1960's, forestry production (timber and plywood) were the mainstay of the economy. However, beginning of 1970 oil production started to rise; and came the 1974's oil price boom. Since then, year upon year, oil became the central activity of the country; providing a major share (70 to 90 % - depending on the prevailing oil international selling price) of revenues to the national budget. Consequently, the economy is characterized by an industrial sector largely dominated by oil related industries and supports services.

Due to abundant oil revenues, no systematic attempt had been made, by successive Congo's governments, to develop agriculture and establish a strong agribusiness base. Agriculture remained one of subsistence.

In the contrary, in the 1980s, oil proceeds were used to finance large-scale development projects which helped the GNP to grow at an average of 5% annually without creating enough jobs to cope with demands. Moreover, in 1995-1996, Lissouba's government mortgaged a substantial portion of oil earnings, contributing to shortage of revenues for the national budget.

Since March 2000 - Oil prices had been in the high bracket of US! 20-35 (from US 18 - end 1999 - per barrel to nearly US $ 39 in beginning of May 2004); and will continue to do so thanks to the crisis in the middle east and the war in Irak. Click here for current oil price on the international marketplace.

That high level of oil pricing is helping the country to harvest more revenues for the national budget. That will help for the reconstruction and restoration of devastated infrastructure and the establishment of much needed health and education facilities.

However, economic observers are questioning the future of the country after the "oil prosperity's era".

They think that it is high time for Congo's political rulers to devise a strategic plan and use the proceeds coming from high oil prices to build up a financial cushion (like the Kuwait's Reserve For Future Generation Click herefor more) to secure and maintain the growth of the economy after the "Oil Era".

Based on the general trend in western European and North America countries to search for alternative energy sources to power engines (hydrogen based energy source) and for house heating system, one is right to say that times is running out for medium size oil producing countries like the Congo. The more they wait to diversify their economy, the sooner they will be in economic trouble - as the GNP is alrady too low in spite of proceeds coming from oil's exploitation. A lot of brainstorming will be needed from Congolese policy-makers to put the country on a growth path that creates jobs to cope with demands and riches to fighting poverty.
Future industrial growth - in any economic sector - is likely to be limited by a shortage of labor (skilled and hands) and high operating costs.

Courtesy of BusinessAfrica™ / Dr. Quenum & Associates - Investment and Business Planners - click here for a "Strategic economic development scheme" suitable for Congo.

MORE ON CONGO

1- D&B Export Guide to Congo (Brazzaville)
by D&B Digital Delivery in PDF
2- D&B Export Guide to Congo (Kinshasa)
by D&B Didital Delivery in PDF
3- A Living Dinosaur
In Search of Mokele-Mbembe
by Roy P. MacKal
4- Rumba On the River
A history of the Popular Music of the Two Congos / by Gary Stewart
5- Congo-Paris
Transnational Traders On the Margin of The Law / by Janet MacGaffey
6- Christian Missionizing and Social Transformation
A History of Conflict and Change in Eastern Zaire / by Jack E. Nelson

7- Executive Report On Strategies in Congo (Zaire)
by Congo Research Group 2000 Edition
8- African Reflections
Art From Northeastern Zaire - American Museum of Natural History
by Enid Shildkrout
9- Art of Africa
Treasures From The Congo
by Joseph Cornet
10- The Story of the Congo
Social, Political and Economic Aspects of the Belgian - System of Government In Central Africa / by Henry Wellington Wack
11- More News On the Congos
by Yahoo! Update

Click to contact Dr. Bienvenu-Magloire Quenum

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SOME FIGURES


GNP:
US$ 1.755 billion (2000); 1.38 billion (2003)
GNP- growth rate: -16.7% (1997); 3.6% (1998); -.0.7% (1999); 3.8% (2000); 0.5% (2002); 1.5% (2003 est.)
GNP-per capita: US$ 462 (2003)

Click here for the difference between GNP and Parity Purchasing Power

GNP-composition by sector

  1. agriculture: 10%

  2. industry: 48%
  3. services: 42%

Exports: US$ 2.6 billion (f.o.b., 2000); 2.4 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Commodities: petroleum 50%, lumber, plywood, sugar, cocoa, coffee, diamonds

Imports: US$ 870 million (f.o.b., 2000); 730 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Commodities: Capital goods, foodstuffs, petroleum products, machinery, vehicles and spare parts

FOR CURRENCY EQUIVALENCE CLICK HERE

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ENTRY POLICY / HEALTH POLICY


A passport and a visa are required. Information on entry requirements may be obtained from the the nearest Congolese Embassy or Consulate
.
USA
Embassy of the Republic of Congo

4891 Colorado Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20011
Tel: +(1) 202 7260825
Fax: +(1) 202 7261860

Ministry of Tourism
Ministère du Tourisme et de l'Environnement
BP 456
Brazzaville
Tel: +(242) 81 40 31
Canada
Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Congo

2 Cedar Avenue
Pointe Claire, Montréal,
Québec H9S 4Y1
Tel: +(1) 514 6973781
Fax: +(1) 514 6979860
France
Embassy of the Republic of Congo

and Tourist Office
37 bis rue Paul Valéry
75016 Paris
Tel: +(33) 1 45006057
Fax: +(33) 1 45003426
England
Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Congo

The Arena
24, Southwark Bridge Road
London, SE1 9HF
Tel: +(44) 2 7922 0695
Fax: +(44) 2 7401 2566
Belgium
Embassy of the Republic of Congo

16-18 Avenue Roosevelt
Tel: +(32) 2 648 38 56

AIR-LINKING / TRANSSHIPPING


Many international air-carriers service Brazzaville international airport: Air-France; Air-Gabon, Cameroon Airlines, TAAG. Etc. Two loal companies are active: Lina Congo and Trans Air Congo.

Ports and harbors: Brazzaville, Impfondo, Ouesso, Oyo, Pointe-Noire

Railways: Congo-Ocean: 795 km (includes 285 km private track) narrow gauge: 795 km 1.067-m gauge (1995 est.)

Waterways: the Congo and Ubangi (Oubangui) rivers provide 1,120 km of commercially navigable water transport - which were used, before the civil war, by the Central African Republic (CAR) for its import and exports.

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INVESTOR CONTACTS
Economic and Finance Department / Presidency
Tel: +(242) 81 23 79
Fax: +(242) 94 12 80
Union des opérateurs économiques du Congo
Tel: +(242) 81 54 32
Privatization Committee
Tel: +(242) 81 46 21
Fax: +(242) 41 22 73

Chamber of Industry, Agriculture and Commerce
Pointe Noire
Tel: +(242) 94 12 80

Chamber of Industry, Agriculture and Commerce
Brazzaville
Tel: +(242) 81 16 08

Click here to review funding available to rebuild power generation system
ACCOMMODATION


After the civil war's damages, restoration is now underway for hotels in Brazzaville and other cities. However facilities for tourists remain limited. There are some good hotels in Brazzaville, Loubomo and Pointe-Noire, but outside these areas accommodation is scarce. To find out more you may contact the ministry of tourism below listed.

PALM BEACH HOTEL
Pointe Noire
Tel: +(242) 94 02 72
Fax: +(242) 94 49 34
AZUR HOTEL
Pointe Noire
Tel: +(242) 94 02 72
Fax: +(242) 94 27 51
MARINA HOTEL
Brazzaville
Tel: +(242) 81 16 05
Fax: +(242) 81 16 43
SAPHIR HOTEL
Brazzaville
Tel: +(242) 88 01 25
Fax: +(242) 81 15 35

LE MERIDIEN
Brazzaville
Tel: +(242) 81 03 02 / 81 03 07
Fax: +(242) 81 55 49

Ministry of Tourism
Ministère du Tourisme et de l'Environnement
BP 456
Brazzaville
Tel: +242 814031

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