Democratic Republic of the Congo - Country Commercial Guide
Selling to the Public Sector

Describes how major projects are secured and financed. Explains activities of the multilateral development banks in and other aid-funded projects.

Last published date: 2021-10-11

Selling to the Government

Sales to the GDRC have been a major source of revenue for many businesses operating in the DRC given the large contribution of the government and parastatals to the economy, the dominance of large trading houses, and the tendency for large private sector companies to purchase directly from traditional external vendors.  There are numerous procurement opportunities in all sectors, but particularly infrastructure, energy, health, education, and transportation.

  • Project work can be difficult to obtain because government ministries and parastatals have ill-defined and overlapping responsibilities, procurement procedures are unclear or non-existent, key personalities play pivotal roles, and financing is often difficult to obtain.  As a result, businesses often pursue deals via specific ministries, parastatals, or the office of the President.  Patience and personal connections are businesses’ most valuable assets in such dealings.  Past public procurements have favored low-cost bidders at the expense of more dynamic bid evaluations.
  • The Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (Autorité de Régulations des Marchés Publics - ARMP) is the regulatory authority for public procurement.  ARMP operates under the authority of the Prime Minister’s office.  Its principal goal is regulating and auditing public procurement throughout the DRC.  The Department of Public Procurement (DGCMP) under the Ministry of Budget is responsible for reviewing and approving bids on all public procurement programs.  The World Bank finances its funded projects through several Congolese agencies, including the Bureau Central de Coordination (BECECO), Unite de Coordination du Project (UCOP) and the Central Office for Infrastructure Contracts (BCMI).  The DRC is a party to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement.
  • U.S. companies bidding on government tenders may also qualify for U.S. Government advocacy.  A unit of the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, the Advocacy Center coordinates U.S. Government interagency advocacy efforts on behalf of U.S. exporters bidding on public sector contracts with international governments and government agencies.  The Advocacy Center works closely with our network of the U.S. Commercial Service worldwide and inter-agency partners to ensure that exporters of U.S. products and services have the best possible chance of winning government contracts. Advocacy assistance can take many forms but often involves the U.S. Embassy or other U.S. Government agencies expressing support for the U.S. bidders directly to the foreign government. Consult Advocacy for Foreign Government Contracts for additional information.    

Financing of Projects

Several bi-lateral and multilateral organizations fund infrastructure and development projects, including USAID, the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program, the European Commission (EC), China EXIM bank, African Export-Import Bank, and the African Development Bank (AfDB). U.S. investors should investigate procurement opportunities through these organizations.

Power Africa.

Launched in 2013, Power Africa is a market-driven, U.S. Government-led public-private partnership to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa.  It also serves as a one-stop shop for private sector entities seeking tools and resources to facilitate doing business in Africa’s power sector.  In 2016, the Electrify Africa Act unanimously passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law, institutionalizing Power Africa and establishing two goals: to add 20,000 MW of generation capacity and expand electricity access to 50 million people in sub-Saharan Africa.  In bringing together more than 140 of the world’s top companies, development institutions, and financial entities, Power Africa employs a transaction-centered approach to directly address key constraints to project development and investment in the power sector.  These interventions aim to de-risk investments and accelerate financial close — from facilitating project bankability with financing and risk mitigation, to providing technical and transaction support, to engaging with host-government counterparts. Learn more about the full Power Africa toolbox at https://www.usaid.gov/powerafrica/toolbox or other opportunities offered by Power Africa at https://www.usaid.gov/powerafrica.

Multilateral Development Banks and Financing Government Sales.

Price, payment terms, and financing can be a significant factor in winning a government contract.  Many governments finance public works projects through borrowing from the Multilateral Development Banks (MDB).  A helpful guide for working with the MDBs is the Guide to Doing Business with the Multilateral Development Banks (PDF).  The U.S. Department of Commerce’s (USDOC) International Trade Administration (ITA) has a Foreign Commercial Service Officer stationed at each of the five different Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs): the African Development Bank; the Asian Development Bank; the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; the Inter-American Development Bank; and the World Bank.

Commercial Liaison Office to the African Development Bank