The Republic of Congo
The Republic of Congo (ROC), also referred to as Congo-Brazzaville, is enjoying unprecedented growth and stability and is on track to become a shining example to Central Africa. Off the back of over 20 years of political stability, investment is being channelled into infrastructural development and rehabilitation that is paying dividends with an increase in foreign investment. National roads continue to be resurfaced, two international airports have been completely rebuilt and upgraded, an ISPS-certified port upgraded at Pointe Noire, existing rail lines have been rehabilitated and special economic zones have been established in support of developing petrochemical, iron and steel, and mining activities
The ROC's economy is underpinned by a well-established petroleum industry that accounts for over 80% of its exports. It is the 5th largest oil-producer in sub-Saharan Africa with major companies such as Total and ENI operating alongside an increasingly effective national producer. The majority of petroleum is produced in the form of crude oil from vast offshore reservoirs while enormous on and offshore reserves of gas remain largely undeveloped. Above and beyond these reserves, the ROC enjoys a high annual rainfall that feeds numerous large rivers (most notably the Congo River) which together constitute enormous hydro-electric power generation capacity.
The ROC has vast mineralogical wealth that remains undeveloped. The following commodities have been identified by state and international agencies for their exploration and development potential: iron ore, magnesium, diamonds, potash, phosphate, copper, lead, zinc, and gold. In recent years the ROC government has shown a genuine commitment to developing a mining sector as a central part of the country's economic diversification program. A revised and investor-friendly mining code was enacted in 2005 that has attracted a strong influx of international companies. These include Glencore-Xstrata, Exxaro and Equatorial Resources focusing on enormous undeveloped iron ore deposits, and Elemental Minerals developing a vast potash resource.
Despite a history of copper production that dates back to pre-colonial times and numerous copper occurrences recorded by the geological survey, very little systematic exploration for base-metals has been carried out in the Neoproterozoic West Congolian Belt of the ROC. Handa Copper Corporation recognises great potential for copperbelt-style copper mineralisation in the ROC and has secured a large and strategic land position that is not only poorly explored historically, but enjoys a comparatively excellent infrastructural setting.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) 2014 economic growth in the ROC has been strong, inflation low, while fiscal buffers and international reserves have remained adequate. However, poverty and unemployment remain high, despite large government spending financed from oil revenue. The IMF notes that the nation's economy is projected to expand by about 6% per annum between 2014 and 2019 as new oil fields come on stream and an ambitious public investment program is implemented to diversify the economy and make growth more inclusive. Public infrastructure spending is expected to be maximized by the government through the implementation of reforms to improve the business climate, support private investment, and develop the financial sector.