The Republic of the Congo and Its Natural Resources

March 3, 2014 Updated: April 24, 2016

As the world becomes smaller and more populated, emerging nations are becoming more important players in the world markets. Many of these nations are located on the African continent, and one in particular has the potential to be a major player. The Republic of the Congo, also known as Congo-Brazzaville, is located in west-central Africa and is rich in a variety of natural resources. Unfortunately, few people know much about the small country or its numerous problems. Here are a few things one should know about the Republic of the Congo and its current role in the world.

  • The nation is currently considered a multi-party democracy. The current president, Denis Sassou Nguesso, first took power in 1979 and aligned the nation with the Soviet Union. Once the Soviet Union collapsed, the Congo became a democracy and Pascal Lissouba became its first elected president.
  • The country is home to the Congo Basin, the world’s second largest ecological lung, next to the Amazon.
  • The Republic of The Congo is one of the biggest oil exporting countries in Africa with yearly exports of around $7 billion dollars. According to the 5th EITI report, the Republic of the Congo’s oil reserves is estimated at 2 billion barrels.
  • Mineral Wealth – The nation, like many nations in Africa, has rich deposits of several important metals and minerals. Among its largest metal exports are copper, lead, zinc and iron. It also exports a sizable quantity of gold.As for its minerals, among its most valuable exports are diamonds(mostly industrial quality), potash, and cement. There are also quantities of other trace minerals including those used in the high-tech industries, though the amounts pale as compared to many neighboring nations.

One popular misconception about the Rep. of the Congo is that it is a major producer of what are often referred to as “conflict minerals.” These are minerals such as coltan, which are an essential part of the electronics industry and are prized by mobile device manufacturers such as Apple. Currently, the nation exports very little of these minerals, especially when compared to the nations that surround it. This is partly due to the focus on the country’s vast petroleum reserves, which are currently being developed offshore. The future is likely to see more exploration and production of these rare minerals in the Congo. 

Though the small nation is often overlooked, it is one that should be watched. As the African continent emerges on the world stage, the Republic of the Congo will most certainly be a major player.