Democratic Republic of the Congo - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Financing

It covers payment methods and information on, banking systems, foreign exchange controls, and U.S. and correspondent banking.

Last published date: 2021-10-11

Methods of Payment

The DRC’s commercial banking system provides a limited amount of trade financing.  Most foreign business ventures in the DRC are financed privately because continuing political risk renders other sources of financing prohibitively expensive.  Local sources of commercial credit remain scarce but are available to established businesses.  However, only a handful of Congolese firms are usually considered good credit risks, and most traders operate based on irrevocable Letters of Credit Insurance, which are expensive.  For more information about the methods of payment or other trade finance options, please read the Trade Finance Guide.

Banking Systems

The banking system contains a mix of locally owned and African-owned banks.  Citi is the only U.S. bank in the DRC.  In general, the DRC’s commercial banks are reluctant to engage in project financing.  Several banks, including Rawbank, Equity, BCDC, and Trust Merchant Bank, among others, offer financing to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.  Most of these banks get lines of credit from international finance agencies or other outside sources of finance that encourage them to provide funding to small and medium enterprises (SME).  For example, Rawbank benefited from a $15 million credit line from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation to allocate credits to reliable SME projects.

Foreign Exchange Controls

The DRC is a dollarized economy, and most establishments will accept either U.S. dollars or Congolese Francs.  The government limits the amount of currency companies can repatriate out of the country.  Mining companies must repatriate 60 percent of their export revenue in a DRC bank while the remaining 40 percent can be in a foreign bank.

U.S. Banks and Local Correspondent Banks

 Citi generally banks with businesses and is the only correspondence bank to the U.S. market, acting as an intermediary or agent in facilitating wire transfers, conducting business transactions, accepting deposits, and gathering documents on behalf of other local banks.