Country Listing

Zaire Table of Contents




Gécamines Lubumbashi copper smelter


Concentrators for copper and cobalt at Gécamines Kamoto mills near Kolwezi
Courtesy Gécamines

The government has a broad involvement in the energy sector. It holds part ownership in all energy enterprises, including the National Electric Company (Société Nationale d'Électricité--SNEL), it sets price controls, and it reviews all investments in the sector. The Ministry of National Economy and Industry had authority over pricing for electricity and oil products but eventually lifted price controls in 1983. The government also holds minority shares in the fuel-product distribution companies: Mobil, Fina, and Shell.

Exploitation of major resources at times has been poorly adapted to meeting the country's overall energy needs. The government has tended to concentrate primarily on petroleum resources and electric power and to neglect the potential of the country's abundant biomass. The lack of sector-wide planning and coordination, a weak energy infrastructure, ill-defined pricing policies, and institutional deficiencies have constrained efficient development and utilization of energy resources.

Various government energy entities execute their duties in isolation, and responsibility is divided among the numerous and diverse agencies, with none having access to information required to define sector policies or the capacity to implement them. This decentralization and the absence of an effective coordinating agent have hindered the formulation of a cohesive sector strategy. In response to this disorder, a National Energy Commission within the Department of Land Management, Mines, and Energy was created in 1985. The French provided and funded an adviser to the commission, but its effectiveness remained in doubt.

Data as of December 1993