Congo, the Democratic Republic of the - Country Commercial Guide
Democratic Republic of the Congo - eCommerce
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The great competitive equalizer for U.S. small business is the emergence of cross-border ecommerce as a viable channel to increase U.S. exports.  Since the beginning of COVID, retail and B2B businesses have been redirecting resources to move online in order meet this growing demand or in many cases, as an effort of basic business survival. 

Counseling U.S. businesses in the U.S. Field begins with helping clients develop a business’s digital sales strategy, which helps them to become more competent and confident online exporters as they eventually interact with you at Post to find overseas opportunities.  This U.S. client counseling also involves a Website Globalization Review (WGR) Service that helps the client improve its online sales presence for overseas sales. 

General Overview

The internet penetration in the DRC stood at 22.9 percent of the total population at the beginning of 2023.  Analysis by the Advisory firm Kepios shows that the number of internet users in the DRC increased by 731,000 (+3.3 percent) between 2022 and 2023.  This very limited Internet penetration means that online e-commerce is only possible in the major cities of the DRC.

Legal & Regulatory

The Digital Code was promulgated by the President of the Republic in2023, a major step in the development of the digital sector in the DRC.  It covers concepts such as electronic commerce, electronic signatures, regulating digital platforms, protecting personal data, cybersecurity, and fighting cybercrime.  And therefore, a number of advantages for the digital sector in the DRC.  Title VIII of the Code sets out the rules governing electronic commerce in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Consumer Behavior

The DRC is a cash economy, and it is very rare to purchase a product online and have it delivered.  Small businesses often use social media platforms - especially Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp - to reach specific groups or individuals.  Local businesses are also in the early stages of online advertising.  Banners on websites and social media pages make up most of the online advertising.  A few businesses have started to use YouTube and Instagram as a platform to reach out to their customers.  Full-fledged online payment systems remain underdeveloped and unimplemented, and most consumers fill this gap with mobile money transfer solutions from the major telecommunications companies such as M-Pesa (Vodacom), Orange Money (Orange), Airtel Money (Airtel), and Afrimoney (Africell).  The central bank has lately encouraged the interoperability of these payment platforms and commercial banks are offering several benefits to their customers to boost their business through their e-commerce services, including a secure e-commerce solution that allows customers to make online payments for goods and services offered by the merchant, using their Visa or Mastercard bank card.

The DRC Post Office is modernizing and in May 2021 announced an ambitious computerization and digitization plan to make the Post Office the most powerful e-commerce platform in the sub-region and a partner for giants like Amazon and others.  The Ministry of Telecommunications regulates telecom companies, and the Ministry of Finance regulates payments.