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Trade and Regional Integration in the DRC: FY2019/20
The DRC’s exports have been growing faster than imports during the period from 2015 to 2018. This has slowed the deterioration of gross official foreign exchange reserves which also supported by the persistent depreciation of the CDF. The growth in exports has not improved the DRC’s current account balance because it was undermined by increased services imports and current income payments from DRC to the rest of the world. The DRC is still heavily dependent on mining commodity exports which are also its top exports to its neighbours in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). However, the DRC is highly integrated with both COMESA and SADC regions albeit unbalanced due to its significant merchandise trade surplus from both regions in 2018. The DRC might want to rationalise its membership in the regional economic communities given that it is seemingly more highly integrated within SADC. This suggests that there is significant room to increase the DRC’s imports from COMESA and SADC; and balance or rationalise its membership in these regional economic communities.