Republic of the Congo

Date of publication
February 2006

The World Trade Organization (WTO) hailed the recent Hong Kong Sixth Ministerial Meeting last December 2005 as a positive movement towards the conclusion of the Doha Development Round. The round was supposedly geared towards ensuring that trade contributes to the development objectives of least developed and developing countries. However, for most civil society groups around the world, the Hong Kong meeting was nothing but a step towards further liberalization, a prescription for countries to further open up their markets, despite its negative impact on small producers, especially small farmers, in developing economies.

Date of publication
May 2007

A Special Product (SP) is an agricultural product “out of the WTO” in that they are not subject to tariff reductions, i. e. Countries can keep the right to maintain protective tariffs on certain agricultural products that are essential for food security, rural development, and farmers’ livelihoods. The G33 proposal is for 10% of developing country products to be exempt from tariff reductions, with an additional 10% of product lines to have limited tariff reductions. This would be somewhere in the range of 300 products. The US counter-proposal is for a mere 5 products! Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) means that if there is an import surge, countries have the right to increase protective tariffs. Why are SP and SSM important in the WTO negotiations? The issue of Special Products and Special Safeguard Mechanism (SP/SSM) is a key issue in the current Doha Round of negotiations. The SP/SSM seems to be one of few issues that developing countries are quite strong on, and that the US is strongly opposed to, meaning that if the developing countries (G33) stay strong in defense of SP/SSM, it could keep the Round deadlocked. If the Round goes through, then SP and SSM are measures to protect farmers from further damage from WTO rules. 

Date of publication
September 2014
Geographical focus

The Africa Gas Initiative (AGI) has been
established by the Oil and Gas Division of the World Bank,
to promote the utilization of natural gas in Sub-Saharan
Africa. The study focuses on coastal countries - Angola,
Cameroon, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, and Gabon - along the
West African coastline, and the Gulf of Guinea, where most
of the region's gas reserves are located, and where
significant proportions of the gas produced, is being wasted
through flaring, or venting. Thus, the study's goal is
to end gas flaring, by developing indigenous natural gas
resources for local markets, and export, achieving economic
benefits from gas substitution - through reduced imports, or
increased exports of oil products - and, by improving
environmental conditions at the local, and global levels.
Under the AGI, technical assistance with regard to
institutional, and regulatory framework was conducted in
Cameroon, and Cote d'Ivoire, and, additionally,
analysis of current petroleum fiscal legislation was
undertaken, to review the profitability of gas field
development from the investors' point of view. This
analysis enabled recommendations to respective governments,
to introduce required changes in their petroleum laws.
Recommendations further include incentives to develop
activities, particularly through rational price structures,
removal of subsidies as the landed cost of liquefied
petroleum gas (LPG) is progressively reduced, and fair
competitive procedures, govern market accessibility.

Date of publication
July 2014
Geographical focus

This Investment Climate Policy Note
(ICPN) identifies the main constraints to the development of
the private sector in the Republic of Congo, based on a
survey of enterprises operating in the manufacturing and
services sectors, in Pointe Noire and Brazzaville, and to
propose specific short term recommendations to address these
constraints. The ICPN emphasizes cross-country comparisons
and benchmarks the investment climate across various firm
characteristics. It is a targeted report focusing on a
smaller set of indicators of firm performance and
concentrating on certain dimensions of the investment
climate. It aims to answer the following key questions: (i)
what are the required reforms to improve the investment
climate in Congo, (ii) how to prioritize these reforms and
(iii) how to implement the priority reforms, what could be
the institutional mechanism to drive the reform agenda? The
report begins with a discussion of Congo s background, and
Chapter 2 describes the investment climate. The last chapter
makes recommendations going forward.

Date of publication
April 2013
Geographical focus

The Republic of Congo covers an area of
342,000 square kilometers (km), of which forests occupy
three-fifths, the rest being dominated by savannah. Oil has
long been the principal resource of Congo. Since the first
exploitations were launched in 1970, the oil sector has
become the dominant economic activity and major source of
income for the state. The growth rate in real terms was 8.8
percent in 2010, with gross domestic product (GDP) per
capita reaching $4532. In 2010, GDP nearly reached two digit
growths, driven up by a significant increase of oil
production, by reinforcement of non-oil activities, in
particular forest industry, construction and
telecommunications. The Government made development of the
mining sector a priority to diversify the economy. The
present review of the mining sector, led by World Bank in
partnership with the Ministry of Geology and Mining, aims to
update and understand further these characterizations, to
document the prospects and challenges of mining development
and to prioritize actions that optimize the sector's
contribution to economic diversification and sustainable
development. This review of mining sector helped to
characterize the issues of governance in following four
areas: (1) promotion of geological heritage and mineral
resources; (2) facilitating entry into production; (3)
continuous improvement of the political, institutional,
legal and regulatory framework; and (4) optimization of the
sector's contribution to diversification. After this
study, an action plan to improve the mining sector can be outlined.

Date of publication
January 2014
Geographical focus

The Congo Basin has the largest forest
cover on the African continent. Of the 400 million hectares
that the Basin comprises, about 200 million of them are
covered by forest, with 90 percent being tropical dense
forests. The Congo Basin's logging sector has a
dualistic configuration. It boasts a highly visible formal
sector that is export oriented and dominated by large
industrial groups with foreign capital and an informal
sector that has long been underestimated and overlooked.
This report is one of a series of reports prepared during a
two-year attempt to analyze and better understand
deforestation dynamics in the Basin. It presents findings
related to the logging sector and its potential impact on
forest cover, and it is based on an in-depth analysis of the
sector. The paper's structure is as follows: first
chapter gives an overview of the logging sector both formal
and informal in the six countries and its importance in
terms of employment and revenues; second chapter is the
analyzes and impacts of logging activities on forest cover;
and final chapter presents recommendations to foster
sustainable logging activities with a particular focus on
the informal sector and reduce potential adverse impact on
natural forests.

Date of publication
February 2014
Geographical focus

The Congo Basin is among the most poorly
served areas in terms of transport infrastructure in the
world, and it faces a challenging environment with dense
tropical forests crisscrossed by numerous rivers that
require construction of numerous bridges. Given such
complexities, constructing transport infrastructure as well
as properly maintaining it is certainly a key challenge for
the Congo Basin countries. Recent studies indicate that
investment required per kilometer of new roads is
substantially higher than in other regions of Sub-Saharan
Africa (SSA) and the same applies for maintenance. The
physical capital of transport infrastructure is deteriorated
in the Congo Basin. The ratio of classify roads in good and
fair conditions range from 25 percent in Republic of Congo
to 68 percent in the Central African Republic, which is
globally lower than the average for low-income countries
(LICs) and resource-rich countries. Other transportation
assets (railways and river system) are also limited: the
railway network is essentially a legacy of the colonial era
and mainly used for mineral transportation, while the river
system is basically only marginal.

Date of publication
January 2014
Geographical focus

This report aims at providing
stakeholders with a good analysis of the potential impacts
of mining development on the Congo Basin forests. It is one
of a series of outputs prepared during a two-year exercise
to analyze and better understand the deforestation dynamics
in the Basin. It presents the main findings of an analysis
of the mining potential in the Congo Basin as well as the
global trends in demand of minerals tries to identify ways
to reconcile mining development and preservation of the
Congo Basin forests. It is based on an in depth analysis of
the sector. The report is structured as follows: first
chapter gives an overview of the mineral wealth in the Congo
Basin; second chapter analyses the prospects for mining
development in the Congo Basin; Third chapter assesses the
potential impact of mining developments on forests; and the
last chapter tries to identify ways to reconcile mining
development and preservation of the Congo Basin forests.

Date of publication
June 2014
Geographical focus

This economy profile presents the Doing
Business indicators for Congo, Republic of. In a series of
annual reports, Doing Business assesses regulations
affecting domestic firms in 189 economies and ranks the
economies in 10 areas of business regulation, such as
starting a business, resolving insolvency and trading across
borders. This year's report data cover regulations
measured from June 2012 through May 2013. The report is the
11th edition of the Doing Business series.


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