Living In The DRC Expat Guide part 2. Part 1 is here.
Cost of Living in DRC (Congo) 2021
Since 2021, the Congolese have become accustomed to a sluggish economy. Shop owners struggle to survive while citizens rely on their government jobs for income. Over the past 7 years, DRC has been plagued with corrupt leaders and a fragile political state that led to civil war.
This instability forced many would-be entrepreneurs to abandon their endeavours and seek employment in the government or in the private sector. However, out of necessity, shop owners have resorted to unconventional means of making a profit. These include selling handmade trinkets instead of genuine products, and buying goods from sellers on the street in order to sell them at an inflated price
Despite these measures by local business owners, prices continue to climb leaving people unable to meet even their most basic needs. However, the average daily wage in 2021 is estimated to be $1.25, barely enough to purchase a loaf of bread.
Moreover, the current minimum wage in Kinshasa is just above $0.70 because the government cannot afford to pay more money. Without further ado, below is a detailed analysis on the cost of living in DRC as of 2021.
|Product/Services||Cost in DRC Congo|
|Meal in an inexpensive restaurants||$17|
|Meal for two people in a mid-range restaurant||$47|
|Domestic/Imported bear (0,3)||$7|
|Coke/Pepsi of 0.33 litre bottle||$2|
|Milk and loaf of fresh white bread||$3.9|
|One-way ticket of local transport||$1|
|Basic utility bills (monthly)||$500|
|Fitness Club (Sport and Leisure)||$150|
Public Holidays in Congo 2021
Congo has all kinds of public holidays, some that are unique to Congo and others that happen in many other countries. Let’s take a closer look at the public holidays in Congo 2021.
New Year’s Day: January 1st
This is the start of each year. It is one of the biggest holidays celebrated in Congo. As a result, it is a great time to spend with family and make resolutions. It is also a holiday on which many people will be traveling for this reason there are lots of traffic jams on the road. Congolese youth celebrate New Year’s Eve by going out on the streets to dance, meet new friends or love ones, and drink alcohol.
Easter Monday: April 24th
This day is the Monday after Easter. The holiday is celebrated by doing something with family or friends. It can be anything from going to eat out or having a barbeque at home with your neighbours. People also take the opportunity to reconnect with relatives they haven’t seen in a while.
May 1st Labour Day: May 1st
This holiday is on May 1st. It celebrates the contributions of the labour class to the economy. People go out on the streets with their families, friends, or co-workers and eat pancakes while hanging out downtown. When it gets dark people have fireworks displays.
June 30th Independence Day: June 30th
This is the day that Congo declared independence from Belgium. It is a big holiday in Congo. People spend most of their time outdoors visiting parks, celebrating with family or friends, or just strolling around downtown. Because this is one of the biggest holidays celebrated in Congo, it can be difficult to find flights, hotel rooms, or buses at this time.
Official Holiday Summary in Congo 2021
- January 1st
- New Year’s Day January 2nd
- Epiphany February 18th
- National Unity March 25th
- Easter April 24th
- Easter Monday May 1st
- Labour Day June 30th
- Independence Day July 14th
- Martyr’s Day September 24th
- Eid al-Fitr December 25th
- Christmas March 18th
- Anniversary of the death of Thomas Sankara April 4th
- Good Friday May 1st
- International Labour Day
Getting a Work Permit in Congo as an Expat
Getting a work permit might seem easy but you will need the following things: an employment contract, a letter from your embassy stating that you are not a spy and actually have reasons for working there (and if possible a few stamps on it) and lastly some character references.
Normally, the first two of those listed above should be provided by your employer but you can give yourself a head start by asking them for the information. This will allow you to have it ready when your visa is due to be renewed.
Moreover, your embassy should also provide character references after they have done a full background check on you. If you use the same employer for all of this, then that should speed things up. Or, if they have vouched for you previously then you will not need to provide the employment contract again (although they should ask for this anyways).
The process can be done entirely at the immigration office or after some people have gone through it this way, you are allowed to spread it out over several trips. You’ll need at least two working days before your visa expires (a week might bej safer) so you should leave at least three weeks to get your work permit sorted.
How to Get a Residence Permit
If you are working in the public sector then this is not necessary. On the other hand, if you are working for a company that has more than 10 local employees or is running medical services then it will be expected. The requirements are similar to the work permit, but this time you will need to provide proof of payment of taxes and a criminal background check.
As a rule, residence permits cannot be done at the immigration office but must be arranged at your local police station. This can take up to three months so make sure you give yourself enough time. Do not attempt to renew your visa while you are waiting for your residence permit to be sorted out.
That’s why, before you start making plans to move to Congo, check the website of the embassy in your country. Take a look at other websites about living there for advice on what to expect from the process. After this process, you can proceed to whatever you’d like to do in Congo as an expat.
Top 7 Jobs for Expat in Congo
Have you ever wondered how your life would look like if you were born and raised in Congo? You might not be able to answer this question yet. But, once you get a taste of the African culture and lifestyle, it is highly unlikely that you will want to go anywhere else.
Nowadays there are several opportunities for expats in Congo; no matter what your experience level is, there are jobs suitable for you. We will share with you some of the most rewarding positions that can be found on this African country. These positions include everything from well-paid jobs to volunteer positions, and they include the following.
In Congo, there are thousands of people who have no access to education. Many school-aged children do not attend class because their parents feel that they cannot afford the monthly fee. However, if you want to give back to a community in need and at the same time, make a good living for yourself, then working as a teacher is the best option for you.
If you are passionate about teaching, you should consider working as an English teacher in Congo. The African culture is rich with different cultures, customs and traditions. If an expat was to start writing short stories that are set somewhere in Africa, then it would be quite challenging to describe all these aspects.
To become a teacher in Congo, you have to have a degree from your home country. If you lack experience, you can get a certificate after attending an intensive in-class seminar in Congo.
Believe it or not, many people living in Congo do not have access to computers. This does not mean that they are not interested in technology; this means that they simply cannot afford it. If you are a computer enthusiast and want to help aspiring young people learn how to use this technology, then you should become a computer technician.
You can offer your service either in Congo or from overseas. This profession is in high demand all over the country, so if you know something about computers and have a little bit of spare time, you can make some extra money by helping others get connected with the world.
There is plethora of opportunities for expats in Congo when it comes to volunteer positions. Even though you might be living on a tight budget, there are still several rewarding opportunities that will not cost you anything. One option is to take up volunteering at an orphanage.
By helping out children who have lost their parents, you can give back to the community while also making a positive impact on the orphans’ lives. There are other options that do not include children, but they can be equally rewarding.
Volunteering at an animal shelter will also allow you to meet different kinds of pets while at the same time giving back to society by helping abandoned animals find new homes. If this is not for you, then consider helping out at a local school.
Frequently Asked Questions about Living in DRC (Congo)
Are there lots of bugs?
The insects in DRC Congo are mostly very small, except for the mosquitoes which are plentiful during certain months. Although they can cause discomfort, but not considered dangerous. There are also some ants that can bite, but again the problem is not serious and we do not take into account these insects when considering whether it is dangerous to live in DRC Congo or not.
Is it safe? Can I travel around freely?
Safety in DRC Congo is an illusion for many people who come to live here with the idea that everything is dangerous and that no liberty is allowed here. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. It is true that there are regions which are not completely safe for foreigners, but in general, travelling around DRC Congo (in Kinshasa and Goma at least) does not pose any particular problems.
How much does it cost to live in Congo?
Because of high inflation, the cost of living varies from day today. Generally speaking, rent costs between 1,000 and 2,000 Congolese francs per month for a house or apartment. A loaf of bread generally costs between 500 and 700 Francs. Transportation costs around 10 Francs for a bus ride and 75 for a taxi.
How do I live with locals if I don’t speak French?
Most Congolese people understand Basic English and French words. However, in most areas of the country, you will be hard-pressed to find anyone who speaks English. If you learn some basic phrases in French or Swahili you should do just fine when conversing with local Congolese people.
Living in DRC is one of the things you need to put in your 2022 budget. If you’re just relocating to Africa for the first time, we advise you to research about the weather conditions and everything you need to know. Nonetheless, you’ll never regret moving to this country, as there are friendly locals.