Beating expectations

DRC: ‘Record’ high foreign reserves – How did they get there and how long will they last?

By Joël Té-Léssia Assoko, Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala

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Posted on October 5, 2021 17:53

Firefox_Screenshot_2021-10-05T09-50-07.596Z © The Matadi-Kinshasa railway, 25 June 2016. Gwenn Dubourthoumieu for Jeune Afrique
The Matadi-Kinshasa railway, 25 June 2016. Gwenn Dubourthoumieu for Jeune Afrique

“The Democratic Republic of Congo calls on the IMF to accelerate its effective provision of resources, without forgetting the imperative of alleviating African countries’ debt,” President Félix Tshisékédi told the United Nations General Assembly on 21 September in New York. Although he welcomed the $33bn that had been approved under Special Drawing Rights (SDR) for the continent, he urged developed countries to “reach $100bn in SDRs” for Africa.

Kinshasa can rejoice that some of Tshisékédi’s wishes have already been fulfilled. On the very day of his address in New York, the Banque Centrale du Congo (BCC) – which has been headed by Malangu Kabedi Mbuyi, a former IMF executive, since July – announced that the DRC’s foreign exchange reserves had reached $3.36bn on 17 September.

A 63% jump in foreign-exchange reserves in two months

This represents a 63% increase in two months, or a rise of $2.13bn in the country’s foreign-exchange reserves. The latter had plateaued below $800m during most of the first half of 2021.

“This level of reserves means that we have three months of import cover and therefore a little less stress. The BCC can also intervene in the foreign-exchange market to support the local currency, if necessary,” says economic analyst Al Kitenge.


Screenshot 2021-10-05 at 12.09.54 © (In blue): IMF projections (In red): Changes in reserves declared by Central Bank of Congo

The BCC’s foreign-exchange reserves has mostly been strengthened, thanks

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