According to UNCTAD’s 2022 World Investment Report, FDI flows into the Democratic Republic of Congo increased from USD 1.6 billion in 2020 to USD 1.8 billion in 2021. Over the same period, the number of Greenfield Investments decreased from 12 in 2020 to 4 in 2021. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, inflows into the mining sector supported FDI as cobalt prices rose with rising demand for its use in smartphones and electric car batteries - the country is the world's leading producer of cobalt and Africa's top copper miner. The FDI stock has been estimated at USD 29.1 billion in 2021. Such levels remain far below the country’s potential: in fact, the DRC has abundant mineral resources and a huge potential in sectors like mining, energy (especially hydroelectric), and infrastructure. To date, the mining sector is the one that attracts most FDI, followed by telecommunications. South Africa, Belgium and China are the country’s main investors.
The country benefits from a large domestic market and is strategically located in the centre of the African continent, being also a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). The Democratic Republic of Congo has rich hydroelectric and mining resources (such as diamonds, copper, cobalt, gold and uranium), which have remained largely untapped. In order to attract FDIs, the government of the DRC provides incentives which are generally negotiated with foreign investors. However, the business climate is especially poor, and foreign investors are facing a number of challenges (corruption, lengthy administrative procedures and administrative fees) in establishing their businesses in the DRC. While there laws protecting investors in the country, the court system is often slow, so disputes can extend for years. However, a reform of the country's legal system is underway, which is expected to increase transparency, earning the trust of potential investors. In 2018, the mining code was amended, increasing taxes and royalties, requiring that at least 10% of the capital of mining companies be owned by indigenous citizens, and severely restricting the export of unprocessed minerals under new mining permit. In addition, the humanitarian and conflict situation in the east of the country and the stormy relations with neighbouring countries (Rwanda, Uganda and Angola) are factors which contribute to persistent insecurity in the country. In recent years, some of the biggest Chinese mining companies have heavily invested in the country, especially in cobalt and copper mines, with Chinese companies currently owning 15 of the 17 cobalt operations in the DRC.
|Foreign Direct Investment
|FDI Inward Flow (million USD)
|FDI Stock (million USD)
|Number of Greenfield Investments*
|Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD)
Source: UNCTAD - Latest available data.
Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.
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Latest Update: December 2023