The Congo's economy is built on its petroleum resources, lumber, transport services, and agriculture. After several prosperous years in the early 1980s, the price of oil declined and cast the Congolese economy into financial turmoil. The country long flirted with state socialist approaches to its economy before embarking on market-style reforms in 1989. Early efforts at state-farm production of staple foods failed. The devaluation of Franc Zone currencies in 1994 resulted in inflation of 61%, but this subsided rather quickly. Reforms by the IMF and World Bank were in place when the civil war started in 1997. The economy worsened considerably in 1997, at -1.9% annual GDP growth, rebounding in 1998 to 2.5%, but falling again in 1999 due to renewed fighting. It was projected to be 4.2% in 2001 and 2.7% in 2002, due to an anticipated slight decline in projected oil output. In 2001, the IMF approved a $14 million credit to aid the government's post-conflict economic program.
Congo's staple food crops are cassava, maize, plantains, yams, and sweet potatoes. The livestock industry is small and subject to health limitations imposed by the prevalence of the tsetse fly. Petroleum is Congo's most significant resource, contributing over 50% of exports in 2002. Production increased as new fields were developed and improvements in recovery technology were implemented. The oil industry is concentrated in and around Pointe Noire.