The following Policy Insight provides a brief overview of some of the major South African and Congolese economic relations, trade and private investment in the post-conflict era of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It provides a snapshot of some of the major South African corporations and joint ventures active in the agriculture, retail, banking, telecommunications, mining, construction and logistics sectors of the DRC. These South African business activities have contributed to the DRC’s development processes, through their contributions to employment, infrastructure, public revenue and small social initiatives. South Africa is currently the largest exporter of manufactured goods and services to the DRC. However, the difficult business operating environment, the challenges with the French language, the dysfunctional local bureaucracies and visa constraints, make South African companies lose their historical and geographic advantage in the wake of larger and stronger European and Asian investors coming to the country. The South African and DRC governments need to work closely together to overcome some of these barriers, to encourage more intra-African trade and investment, and unleash the energy potential of the Grand Inga Dam for the economic growth of the entire region.
Authors: Neissan Alessandro Besharati and Gregory Mthembu-Salter