Infrastructure is a key to the diversification of the Republic of Congo’s economy. According to the U.S. Department of State (2013), weak infrastructure, particularly poor transportation systems, lack of broadband internet, and inconsistent electric and water supply, stays one of the biggest hurdles for local economic development. For example, inefficiency in the power sector creates significant hidden costs and drives power tariffs up. Power outages are frequent and 82 per cent of businesses have generators that cover more than half of their needs at high costs. The country’s ICT sector has been developed under the sector strategy, with an aim to become a regional ICT hub. A legal and policy framework for regulation of the telecommunication sectors has increased competition in the country’s mobile phone sector. However, fixed telephone contracts are under the public monopoly with low penetration, which is a constraint to raising internet penetration. The country’s road network is currently undergoing a major paving and restoration effort including a new Pointe-Noire corridor towards the Central African Republic. The project will help to improve transit efficiency. Financial services in the Congo are liable to the CEMAC common banking regulations, although the issue of a lack of professionalism in the sector remains. The financial system remained underdeveloped and is dominated by banks. In recent years, the microcredit market has been booming, resulting in the declining influence of the traditional banking industry. The Congo has one of the leading ports in the Gulf of Guinea region with the potential to become an ever more important hub through the massive recent investment to expand capacity, improve connecting infrastructure and ease bureaucratic procedures.
Source: U.S. Department of State, 2013, Investment Climate Statement (Congo)