Moving to DCR (Congo) Expat Guide part 2. You can see part one here.
Pros and Con of Moving to Congo as an Expat
Many people are afraid to visit or move to Congo. In fact, a lot of them have the wrong idea on what living in this country looks like. But, not to worry, we will walk you through the pros and cons in this section. The following will expose 7 top myths about moving to (DCR) Congo today, and their realities.
1. Opportunity to Become a Successful Business Man
Opportunities are everywhere to start or increase your business. It is no secret that Congo has many resources to offer, which make it an attractive place for foreign investors. One of the main reasons why Congolese people immigrate to other countries is because they seek to create better lives for their families by providing them with more opportunities than Congo.
Crime rate here is extremely low compared to other African countries. People are friendly, welcoming, and very non-violent here, especially compared to other African countries. There are no robberies or murders or burglaries, but there are some muggings of tourists outside the cities. Traveling around on your own is perfectly safe as long as you don’t flash money in front of people who look poor.
3. It Is Welcoming To Tourists
Another reason why living in Congo is good is because of the atmosphere, and friendly locals. Although DRC has experienced thousands of deaths in its past conflict with Uganda and Rwanda (over the Congo territory), but foreign businesses are now starting to visit the country for eco-tourism activities like rafting, hiking or exploration.
4. Abundant Supply of Natural Resources
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is ranked as one of world’s richest countries in terms which include: cobalt, copper, gold and coltan. In addition to this, Cobalt and coltan are metals used to make cell phones; and these two minerals account for 58% of DRC’s export revenue.
The electricity stays on everywhere, the entire time. Besides, there aren’t any power outages like in (CUG), and no intermittent electricity like other African countries. The only time the electricity goes out is during a storm, or if everyone needs to save money at once. It’s easy to use appliances here, since they are so cheap. You can even buy a laptop for $20 or a refrigerator for $10. And that’s cheaper than in America!
6. No Expensive Restaurants
There are no expensive restaurants in (DCR), and very few middle-priced restaurants. All the food here is extremely cheap and extremely easy to make, due to there being no electricity and very few appliances. If you want a steak tonight, just go buy some meat and light a fire! That’s it, you’re done! So why would you ever need to spend $50 at an expensive restaurant?
7. The sun
Here the sun shines nearly every day of the year. And it usually rains or snows during certain months, but rarely does it ever rain for more than a few hours at a time. If people live indoors, they can avoid the rain all together! Also, if you’re out of the sun for too long, you get sick. The sun is very important here, so be sure to get out of the house every day.
To summarize, there are many pros to living in (DCR) Congo today. With your imagination and initiative, combined with the country’s superior infrastructure and resources, you can find success in (DCR) Congo that you can never find in your home country.
Poor Healthcare System
(DRC) Congo has a poor health care system. According to World Health Organization (WHO), (DCR) Congo has less than 2 doctors per 10,000 people and less than 1 hospital bed per 4,000 people. This is bad when compared to other countries.
Congo also has a weak public health system, and high maternal as well as well as child mortality rates. In addition to that, the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is 5.0 percent. And this is one of the highest death rates from HIV / AIDS in the world today.
The Congolese have made some progress in building roads, but the country still has the worst infrastructure on the continent. Traveling from one city to another can take days, as many times you need to travel by bike or foot.
Congo is one of the last places on earth where you will find an absence of most modern amenities such as cell phones, computers and air conditioning. And with the exception of a few luxury hotels in Brazzaville and Kinshasa, there are no 5 star hotels or restaurants here.
Corruption is widespread throughout the country and not only affects business owners but also everyday citizens. The World Bank ranks the country as 169 out of 176 countries on their Corruptions Perception Index. Moreover, it is estimated that more than 50% of the Congo’s GDP is lost to corruption.
Militia and Rebels Groups
In Congo, militia and rebels groups still control much of the land and people. On a daily basis, it is common to be stopped at a road block and asked for money. Engaging in such activity will not result in you being shot, but instead give your person and car an opportunity be beaten. In fact, national elections were postponed over 7 months due to security reasons as armed militias were blocking voting stations and threatening voters. Again, it is also common for people to be kidnapped.
People Are Not Friendly To Americans
As a general rule most people do not like Americans and they often assume that you have come with all the wrong motives: to build a personal diamond mine or go on safari. You must be prepared when meeting Congolese for them to be very direct in their comments.
That being said, it’s also very difficult to gain the trust of people in Congo. They are always watching you and will require proof before they can begin to open up. Try not to take it personally, but instead view this as an opportunity for cultural exchange with one another.
7 Cities for Expats to Reside In Congo
There are many places suitable for expats to reside in Congo. As Africa’s second-largest country, it boasts an area greater than France, Norway, Sweden, Spain, and Germany. But, to know the right place for expats to reside, we have compiled some of the safest expat destination. Without further ado, check it out now!
1. Goma (North Kivu Province, East of the Country)
Goma is a major city of the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, located on Lake Kivu. It has a population estimated at 713,000. The city is an administrative center in North Kivu Province and one of the fastest-growing cities in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Goma lies only a few miles south of the borders with Rwanda and Uganda, and its port handles both commercial and passenger boats, including ferries departing to Nyunzu in Burundi. Goma may be accessed by train from Kigali (capital city of Rwanda) via the Gisakura Bridge over the Ruzizi River.
2. Kisangani (Tshopo Province, Center)
Kisangani is a city in the North-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on the River Congo with a population of about 1 million people. The capital of Tshopo province, it is the third-largest urbanized city in the country and the largest of the towns that are distant from the capital Kinshasa.
Kisangani is an administrative and economic center of Tshopo Province with a population of 704,049. The city has a large number of Kisongo migrants which have been attracted by government programs to settle in this area. It was formerly known as Stanleyville until 1966 and served as the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo from July 4, 1880 until May 17, 1962. Aside from this fact, it is home to several major universities and a large airport.
3. Lubumbashi (Haut-Katanga Province, South-East)
Lubumbashi is the second-largest city in DR Congo and a leading African copper-mining center. Its home to the large mining company Gécamines , one of the main sources of income for the country which was discovered during Belgian colonization. The population of Lubumbashi stands at 823,354.
Katanga, for which the city serves as the provincial capital, is the area of DR Congo rich in copper and cobalt. It is also home to a number of newer businesses including hotels and restaurants catering mainly to a business clientele.
4. Boma (Bas-Congo province, west of the Country)
Boma is a coastal port city in Bas-Congo Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It has an estimated population of 224,830 people. This beautiful city lies on the northern bank of the Congo River estuary where the river meets its deep Atlantic waters.
The city developed in colonial times when Belgian colonists used it as an important port to transport goods from central Africa. The Belgians have built beautiful villas, a hospital and a Cathedral. All these buildings are located close to each other in neighborhoods popularly called “Mamu”, after the Belgian businessman Arthur Mamu who was in charge of much of Congolese economy then.
5. Lubao (Katanga province, South-South)
Lubao is a town in the Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The community has approximately 10,000 inhabitants. More so, the people here are mainly farmers and they grow cassava, maize, peanuts, sorghum, beans and sweet potatoes for subsistence farming.
They also farm palm nuts to produce palm oil. On the flip side, there are no health facilities in Lubao, but there is one Health Centre located in Kabobwe. There is a small network of roads covering the area that provide access to the towns and villages around Lubao, including Kasonga, Lisingi and Kajiji.
6. Mbuji Mayi (Kasai Oriental province, East)
Mbuji Mayi is the largest city in Kasaï-Oriental province in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is located on the Lualaba River, near where it joins with the Ingamba River to form a major tributary of Lake Tanganyika. The population stands at 953,934 people as of the recent population.
It was formerly known as Bakwanga. Also, it is an important city in the diamond trade, and its economic activity is mainly the commerce of these gemstones. Mbuji Mayi Airport serves the town with regular flights to Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Kisangani, Kalemie , Kasongo Lunda National Park & Lodja.
The city has been named after a local ruler, Mbuji Mayi, who lived in the 1860s. The Belgian administration renamed it Bakwanga in 1914 following the assassination of the first white administrator sent to Katanga. In 1971, President Mobutu Sese Seko renamed it Mbuji Mayi . And again, Mbuji-Mayi is known for its beautiful scenery around the city.
7. Kalemie (Tanganyika province, West)
The population of Kalemie stands at 183,426 people. It is an important port on Lake Tanganyika, and is the end of a railway line from Kindu. It is linked by ferry to Mpulungu, Zambia and to Isiro in DR Congo, and can be reached by air.
Kalemie was formerly known as Albertville under Belgian rule until 1975. It was renamed Kalemie after it acquired its new port facilities. The town is home to a university, (Université du Katanga), with 3 faculties, over 4,000 students and 200 professors.
What is the cost of living like in Congo?
The most frequently asked question by far. There’s no way to give a definite answer really, because it depends on what you’re used to back home and how frugal or extravagant you are with your spending habits. But, food costs between $25-$50 per week and will depend on whether you eat local or western food.
Is Congo safe?
Our personal experience of Congo is that it’s by far one of the safest countries we’ve ever been to! We regularly visit Kinshasa as well as spending time in other parts of the country and we’ve never once felt threatened or unsafe.
Moving to DCR Congo in today’s digital world should be a decision to enjoy. On the other hand, it would be better to go through this ultimate guide to know more about moving to Congo as an expat. If you want to know more about the cost of living, best tourist attractions and the likes, follow this platform for more update.