Upon independence in 1960, the former French region of Middle Congo became the Republic of the Congo. The political stability and development of hydrocarbon production made the Republic of the Congo the fourth largest oil producer in the Gulf of Guinea, providing the country with a degree of prosperity despite instability in some areas and unequal distribution of oil revenue nationwide. Congo’s economy is heavily dependent on the oil sector and economic growth has slowed considerably with declining production in the last years, and it will need new offshore oil finds to sustain its oil earnings over the long term.
The Internet penetration rate was slightly over 8% in 2017. The primary telephone network consists of microwave radio relay and coaxial cable with services that are barely adequate for government use. Key exchanges are in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, and Loubomo, whereas intercity lines are frequently out of order.
Congo’s fixed-line infrastructure is inadequate, providing less than 1 connection per 100 persons. In the absence of an efficient fixed-line infrastructure, mobile-cellular subscribership has surged to 110 per 100 persons. A growing proportion of the public, especially youth, are accessing the Internet more frequently and using online social media. However, only the most affluent have Internet access in their own homes. The telecom regulator in Congo is the Agence de Régulation des Postes et des Communications Electroniques (ARPCE).
The economy in the Republic of Congo is a mixture of subsistence farming and hunting, an industrial sector based largely on oil and support services, and government spending. Oil has supplanted forestry as the mainstay of the economy, providing a major share of government revenues and exports. Natural gas is increasingly being converted to electricity rather than being flared, greatly improving energy prospects. New mining projects, particularly iron ore, which entered production in late 2013, may add as much as $1 billion to annual government revenue. Economic reform efforts have been undertaken with the support of international organizations, notably the World Bank and the IMF.
The current administration faces difficult economic challenges of stimulating recovery and reducing poverty. The recent drop in oil prices has constrained government spending; lower oil prices forced the government to cut more than $1 billion in planned spending. However, the government increased infrastructure spending for the September 2015 All-Africa Games and the March 2016 presidential election, which put further pressure on the budget. The fiscal deficit exceeded 18% of GDP in 2015. Substantial macroeconomic imbalances continued in 2016 following sustained low oil prices.
Congo Telecom is a telecom Anonymous Sole Company having as main shareholder the State. The company was born from the ruins of the old SOTELCO (Telecommunications Company of Congo). Congo Telecom offers a variety of services to the population in the Republic of Congo, including hosting, 3G connectivity, fiber, IPTV, and both fixed and mobile telephony.
(None reported as of December 2017)