With rich agricultural land and extensive mineral and energy deposits, the Democratic Republic of Congo is potentially one of the richest countries on the African continent. However, decades of chronic neglect at the hands of the corrupt Mobutu left it as one of the poorest, with a per capita annual income of just US$150. Such plans as the Kabila governments may have had for development have been undermined by the civil war.
At least two-thirds of the population are engaged in subsistence farming: farmers produce palm oil, coffee, tea, cocoa, rubber, cotton, tropical woods, fruit, vegetables and rice. Industry runs well below capacity due to a lack of spare parts and foreign exchange with which to buy them.
The country could be one of the world's largest producers of copper and cobalt, but production is far short of its potential; what is produced has typically been sold by the warring party in control of the mine to finance continued fighting. (In some cases, mining concessions have been handed over to a government ally in exchange for military support: Zimbabwe, which controls several copper mines in the south is the most notable example.)
The mining sector can also produce manganese, zinc, uranium and tin. There are also some oil deposits located off the short Atlantic coastline.
Manufacturing for domestic consumption dominates the industrial sector, producing textiles, cement, food and beverages, wood products and plastics.