Congo, Democratic Republic of The - Services

The service sector represents one-fourth of GDP and employs 19 percent of the labor force. The primary services are banking, communications, government, and transportation, yet each of these subsectors are plagued by inefficiency, corruption, and the stresses from war. The public health and education systems are, in the words of the U.S. Department of State, "defunct" and most health and education services are now provided by international aid agencies. Transportation services are rudimentary and inefficient. The state-run transport firm Office National des Transports (ONATRA) has a difficult time competing with private transporters, the majority of whose activities go unreported in economic statistics. Tourism in the past decade has been virtually non-existent.

Congo's banking system includes the central bank, Banque Central du Congo, 10 commercial banks, and a development bank, as well as a variety of smaller financial institutions. In the 1990s, however, most of these banks were insolvent, their assets demolished by runaway inflation, massive defaults on loans, and the government's misuse of central bank funds. Most Congolese avoid formal banks and participate in a cash economy.

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