- The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the second largest country in Africa. It borders nine countries: Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
- The people of the DRC represent over 200 ethnic groups, with nearly 250 languages and dialects spoken throughout the country. Kinshasa, the capital, is the second largest French-speaking city in the world.
- Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has a space programme which launched its last rocket in 2009.
- The oldest national park in Africa, the DRC’s Virunga National Park is home to the endangered great apes – bonobos, eastern lowland gorillas and mountain gorillas as well as lions, and elephants.
Key Market Alerts
- Kinshasa and the DRC in general, is largely a cash economy. Bank cards will usually only be accepted at major hotel chains.
- Estate Agent’s commissions in DRC are typically paid by the tenant.
- A withholding tax of 20% applies to rentals in DRC.
- Malaria is prevalent in Kinshasa, and throughout the DRC.
- Finding suitable expatriate housing can be a challenge.
- Security deposits in Kinshasa can be quite high – up to the equivalent of 3 months’ rental.
An Overview of Democratic Republic of Congo
DRC has incredible mineral wealth – particularly in cobalt, copper, crude oil, gold, tin and diamonds. Driven by its natural resource sector, DRC is experiencing considerably high levels of economic growth. DRC does however face challenges in the form of political instability and conflict – particularly in the eastern parts of the country.
Geographically, DRC is divided into 11 provinces. The country is second largest country in Africa, by land mass. DRC’s capital is Kinshasa is located in its own province in the West of the country. Kinshasa is currently the third largest city in Africa with an estimated population of 8.8 million people.
Lubumbashi, located in the copper belt in the south east of the country, is the second largest city, and the mining capital, of the DRC.
Living in Kinshasa
As DRC becomes a prominent investment destination in Africa, more and more expatriates are expected to move into Kinshasa as well as Lubumbashi. As a result, both cities are beginning to offer a more appealing expatriate lifestyle. There are currently a number of shopping complexes being developed in Kinshasa; and a wider variety of activities are on offer. It is important to note that because public transport in Kinshasa is relatively limited, it is essential that expatriates own cars. An international driver’s license will need to be attained before the expatriate leaves their home country. Kinshasa’s infrastructure has suffered as a result of the country’s civil wars. As a result, traffic congestion is a problem – particularly moving into the central part of the city.
Housing in Kinshasa
Expatriate housing in Kinshasa is relatively limited and varies from suburb to suburb depending on the requirements of the individual. Single expatriates often stay in the central area of Gombe where there are a number of apartment blocks. Expatriates moving to Kinshasa with their families generally live in the areas of Mont Fleury (a gated community), Ma Campagne and Joli Parc – all within the broader suburb of Ngaliema.
Rentals in expatriate areas are expensive. Most free standing homes will have gardens, but not all will have swimming pools. The maintenance of gardens and swimming pools are the responsibility of the tenant.
Schooling in Kinshasa
There are a few international schooling options in Kinshasa including American and French.