Fastest Growing Countries is a series devoted to examining several countries with rapidly expanding economies today, or that at least have the potential to do so. By examining the historical rise of these countries and how it is happening, we can hope to better understand the variety of ways that we might be able to enliven the economies of where we live, and work towards a more sustainable and profitable future for everyone.
As we took a look at, last week, the country of Ethiopia has become the fastest growing country in the world, setting pace for what will hopefully be a liberalization and democratization of other countries in that particular region of Africa. However, Ethiopia is certainly not the only country in the region that has experienced such potent levels of growth. Another up and coming nation is the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been set on a similar path to the one that Ethiopia laid the ground for. Despite struggling with internal conflict for several decades, the Congo is finally starting to experience the growth that they have the potential for...
Growing in spite of their government
One of the big things that has held the Congo back in the past has been an autocratic government that contains a very bloated public service sector (at one point, public services were a stunning 20% of GDP). This is still the case today, although it is certainly far less so. The government has allowed a great deal more privatization, which has yielded great success. Hopefully, this will encourage more democratization of several industrial sectors so as to stimulate even more growth in the region.
Building economy on energy
The growth in Congo is largely devoted to its energy sector. There are large reserves of petroleum that have given it a healthy import-export relationship with several influential foreign nations. However, a healthy economy can’t exist on energy, alone, as we are starting to see. The domestic gas supply in the United States has just driven gas prices down, meaning that countries like the Congo will see a drop in profits. This is why the country will need to switch to some sort of diversification if it is to continue with its growth.
Part of Africa’s evolving narrative
Just as with Ethiopia, the Congo is a part of the new trajectory that many landlocked African nations are taking to become industrialized, liberalized economies. With sufficient support from their neighbors, as well as the IMF, the Congo and Ethiopia will hopefully lead to an economic explosion that will help increase the standard of living for millions of Africans.