Petroleum production (which supplies a major share of government revenues and exports), forestry, and agriculture are the chief economic activities in Congo. Domestic food production does not meet national demand, and food must be imported in large quantities. The major subsistence crops are cassava, rice, corn, and vegetables. Sugarcane, cocoa, and coffee, raised primarily on plantations, are important export crops, as are peanuts, palm products, and tobacco. Lumber and plywood are also important exports, as are diamonds. Diseases restrict cattle raising, and fishing is not well developed.
Industry is limited mainly to the processing of petroleum and agricultural and forest products; much of it is concentrated in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire and in the Niari valley. Although attempts have been made to diversify the economy, it is still largely dependent on petroleum and influenced by fluctuating world oil prices. Mining is important, with oil, diamonds, and potash the principal mineral exports. Lead, zinc, uranium, copper, phosphates, and natural gas are other important mineral resources. China, the United States, and France are the major trading partners.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.