Congo Republic’s economy to shrink 0.5% in 2021

But growth of 2.3% predicted for 2022 as oil prices edge higher

Congo Republic's economy will contract 0.5 per cent this year before returning to growth of 2.3 per cent in 2022, according to the state budget for next year adopted by the government on Thursday.

Oil is the lifeblood of Congo’s economy, but a sharp drop in crude prices in 2014 left it with debt of nearly $9.5 billion. The coronavirus crisis and a collapse in crude prices added further pressure, leading to economic decline of 5.8 per cent last year.

Government spokesman Thierry Lezin Moungalla said the new budget foresaw oil production of 110 million barrels in 2022 at an average price of $64. Under its 2021 budget revised in July, Congo Republic expects to produce 109 million barrels of oil this year at a price of $58 per barrel.

Priorities include diversifying the economy to improve resilience to future downturns, he said.

In September, the International Monetary Fund said Congo Republic's "outlook is subject to high uncertainty amid risks of new waves of the pandemic, volatile oil revenue prospects, climate change shocks, and successful reform implementation."

Updated: October 8th 2021, 8:56 AM