Congo flag Congo: Buying and Selling

E-commerce in Congo


Internet access
According to the Digital 2019 report for the Republic of the Congo by Hootsuite and WeAreSocial, out of a population of 5.5 million people, only 12% have access to the internet. The country’s IT infrastructures are poor (although a fiber optic link should soon connect both Pointe-Noire and Brazzaville to the West Africa Cable System). Connecting to the internet is still extremely expensive, however cyber cafes and other Wi-Fi hotspots are constantly growing (most people does not have the economical resources to buy a laptop or subscribe for internet services).
In the country there are around 5.1 million mobile subscriptions (but only 11.7% of them have an internet mobile subscription) and 12% of the population are active social media users.
Finally, it has to be remarked that the government closely controls internet and telecommunication access: for example, during the 2015 constitutional referendum it suspended internet and text communication services throughout the country for 10 days; while at the time of the 2016 presidential elections internet, text, and voice services were suspended for four days.
The most popular web search engines in Congo are Google (95.7%), Bing and Yahoo (2.3% and 1.4% respectively).
E-commerce market
E-commerce is still in its infancy in the Republic of the Congo, as the country lacks adequate ICT and online payment infrastructures. According to the Digital 2019 report for Congo by Hootsuite and WeAreSocial, online payment is barely used in the Republic of Congo: only 4.4% of the population has purchased on the internet or paid bills online, while a mere 4% of the population has a credit card (6.2% have a mobile money account). Furthermore, shipping is hard, especially outside major cities (in general there are no street addresses in rural area) and there are no suitable stocking facilities. The UN Conference on Trade and Development B2C E-commerce index ranks Congo 145th out of 151 countries and 38th in the African continent for its readiness and capacity to support online trade. B2B e-commerce is also almost non-existent.
Some companies – like GIA Markets, Nourishka et Brazza shop – recently started promoting their products online through social media platforms and specific apps.
Facebook has an estimated 670,000 users, Linkedin 96,000 and Instagram 74,000. Companies are increasingly using Facebook or other social media for advertising. Most social media users are men.

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Latest Update: April 2024