Methods of Payment
The DRC’s commercial banking system provides a limited amount of trade finance. Most foreign businesses in the DRC are privately financed because ongoing political risk makes other sources of financing too costly. Local sources of trade credit remain scarce but are available to established firms. However, only a handful of Congolese firms are generally considered good credit risks, and most traders operate based on irrevocable letters of credit insurance, which are costly. For more information about the methods of payment or other trade finance options, please read the Trade Finance Guide. To access DRC’s ICS section on financing, visit the U.S. Department of State Investment Climate Statement website.
The banking system includes a mix of local and African-owned banks. Citi is the only U.S. bank in the DRC and offers only commercial services. In general, commercial banks in the DRC are reluctant to engage in project financing. Several banks, including Rawbank, EquityBCDC, and Trust Merchant Bank (TMB), among others, provide financing to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises. Most of these banks obtain lines of credit from international financial agencies or other external funding sources that encourage them to provide funds to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). For example, Rawbank received a $15 million line of credit from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation to allocate credit to reliable SME projects. Also, USAID and Equity Bank partner to provide $5 million in loans to small-scale artisanal miners in eastern DRC.
Foreign Exchange Controls
The DRC is a dollarized economy, and most institutions accept U.S. dollars or Congolese francs. The government limits the amount of foreign exchange that companies can repatriate out of the country. Mining companies must repatriate 60 percent of their export earnings to a DRC bank, while the remaining 40 percent can be placed in a foreign bank.
U.S. Banks and Local Correspondent Banks
Citi generally banks with businesses and is the only correspondent bank in the U.S. market, acting as an intermediary or agent in facilitating wire transfers, conducting business transactions, accepting deposits, and collecting documents on behalf of other local banks.