Republic of Congo - Market OpportunitiesRepublic of Congo - Market Opps.
In an attempt to decrease its dependency on the oil sector, the government has laid out ambitious plans to diversify the economy and attract foreign investors to develop key sectors such as forestry, agriculture, construction, ecotourism, transport, mining, and information technology services.
The government has plans to establish Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in a few key areas of the country, with favorable terms for investing in these zones. They are to be located in the main port and oil hub of Pointe-Noire, the capital Brazzaville, and the northern cities of Oyo and Ouesso. Legislation formally creating these SEZs was enacted in April 2017, and government contacts report that SEZ in Pointe Noire is expected to begin operating in 2018. No formal timeline has been issued for when the SEZs will be completed. The petroleum sector still provides opportunities, as Congo searches for new fields and attempts to keep old fields productive. A new bid round for exploration permits was closed in March 2017, and a new hydrocarbon law (which has been in progress for at least 5 years) was passed in December 2016, with hopes that these steps will serve to energize the sector. However, the sector will continue to be challenging as long as oil prices remain low.
While only a fraction of the size of the oil industry, forestry is currently the second-largest sector of the economy and continues to expand.
Within the framework of its annual “Municipalisation Accélérée,“ (accelerated municipalization) the government has built airports, roads, bridges, stadiums, administrative buildings, and dams, and is continuing to fund large construction projects, often awarded to foreign firms, in regional capitals on a rotating, annual basis.
Congo has much arable land which is not being leveraged, providing potential for mechanized agriculture and associated food processing endeavors. According to recent estimates only 2% of the Republic of Congo’s arable land is being farmed.
Agriculture, tourism, transportation, and energy are additional promising sectors.
Congo Brazzaville Trade Development and Promotion