The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is something of an economic paradox. Its potential mineral wealth is estimated to be worth approximately 24 trillion USD, and yet, a combination of corruption and volatile mineral prices has meant that the nation’s inhabitants remain some of the poorest in the world.
The primary form of currency of the DRC is the Congolese franc (CDF), maintained by the Central Bank of the Congo. The World Bank pledged support to the DRC in 2007, in the form of 1.3 billion USD of assistance funds until 2010. As mentioned, Congo’s natural mineral reserves are a major source of income for the nation, constituting 90% of its revenues in 2005.
Although the DRC was once considered one of the most prosperous and developed nations in Africa, continual unrest has curtailed economic progress, and induced a dramatic reduction in national output. The instability and uncertainty induced by the conflicts has also limited the amount of foreign investment in the nation.
The fact that Congo’s economy is the second largest in Africa does not filter down to improve the living standards of its inhabitants. This may be due in part, to a failure of the mining companies operating in the region, to contribute their fair share of tax; in 2011, anti-corruption NGOs estimated that mining companies had failed to contribute around 88 million USD worths of tax.
Expatriates working in the DRC will require a work permit, as well as a working visa. In order to obtain said permit, an application for an expatriate work card will need to be completed and submitted with a copy of the employment contract, CV of the employer, and proof of the professional skills and expertise of the expat. Secondly, a specific visa is issues for expats, depending on their field of employment and contract.
It is important to keep in mind that the DRC, as many other African countries, promotes the hiring of nationals and companies can employ only a maximum of 15% of non-nationals. Moreover, expats should move to the DRC when they have already obtained a job position, and start all the required applications well in advance.
Corporate tax rates in the DRC are the same for residents and non-residents and are as follows: companies are taxed at 35%, and mining companies at 30%. Any capital gains are taxed at 35%. Dividends paid to local residents are taxed at 20% and those to mining companies at 10%. Dividends paid to foreign entities are exempt from this withholding tax.
Individual tax rates in the DRC are progressive. Anyone earning up to 524,160 CDF doesn't have to pay any income tax. The tax rate then goes up incrementally, with 15%, 25%, and 30% tax rates all common. Those who earn over 16.824 million CDF must pay the top 40% tax rate.