More information about Republic of the Congo is available on the Republic of the Congo page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
U.S.-REPUBLIC OF CONGO RELATIONS
The United States established diplomatic relations with the Republic of Congo in 1960, following the country’s independence from France. The United States suspended diplomatic relations 1965, then resumed them in 1977. The Republic of Congo, then the People’s Republic of Congo, had a Marxist government from 1970 to 1991 and enjoyed close relations with the Soviet Union, Cuba, and China, while maintaining strong economic ties with France.
President Denis Sassou-N’Guesso has served as head of state for all but five years since first coming to power in 1979. In 1992, the Republic of the Congo transitioned to multiparty democracy and the people elected Pascal Lissouba as president. The country descended into civil war in mid-1997, and Sassou returned to power in October of that year. President Sassou, was re-elected in 2009 and 2016 after constitutional referendums in 2002 and 2015 that altered presidential term lengths and limits.
U.S.-Republic of Congo relations are positive and cooperative. The two countries have worked together on issues of common interest such as strengthening regional security, improving the living standards of Congolese citizens, and safeguarding the environment. The United States has encouraged Congolese efforts to diversify the economy and improve the business environment. The United States has partnered with the next generation of Congolese leaders to improve access to knowledge and skills to build a more stable, secure, democratic, and prosperous Congo.
U.S. Assistance to the Republic of the Congo
The United States invests foreign assistance in the Republic of Congo across a number of domains. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s McGovern-Dole school feeding program provides hot lunches to 60,000 Congolese children and develops mechanized agriculture in participating school communities. USAID’s Central African Regional Program for the Environment protects and facilitates sustainable management of the rich biodiversity of the Congo Basin. The United States supports health care efforts to combat HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria, and collaborates with the Republic of Congo on health-related research. The United States builds capacity within the armed forces and promotes civil-military relations, including partnering to improve the country’s capabilities in maritime security and port management. The Republic of Congo also participates in exchange programs such as the Fulbright Scholarship, Humphrey Fellowship, Young African Leaders Initiative, and International Visitors programs.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The Republic of Congo is eligible for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The United States ratified a Bilateral Investment Treaty with the Republic of Congo in 1994 concerning the reciprocal encouragement and protection of investment.
The Republic of Congo’s economy relies primarily on its petroleum sector. Several U.S. companies are active in the petroleum production and services sectors. The country’s top import to the United States is oil, while exports from the United States include machinery, poultry, optical and medical instruments, and vehicles. The deep water port in the economic capital of Pointe-Noire is International Ship and Port Facility Security-certified, making Congo eligible to receive and send shipments directly to and from the United States. The Republic of Congo is a member of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC).
Republic of the Congo’s Membership in International Organizations
The Republic of the Congo and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.
Principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.
More information about Republic of the Congo is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here: