Three years after its launch, the Economic and Financial Reform Program of the Commission of Central African States (PREF-CEMAC) has a mixed record, with a completion rate of 62%.
By Achille Mbog Pibasso
Is the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) condemned to lag behind? Without being a fatality, everything suggests that the successes in this part of the continent are an exception. This is evidenced by the fact that economic and financial reforms, which could have been completed to date, are barely 3 / 5ths of their achievements. Focusing on three main pillars, namely the reinforcement of sub-regional tax policy, the improvement of the quality of public spending and the cohesion of monetary union and financial integration, this program is « the result of the structural difficulties the states of the zone, « said CEMAC Commission President Daniel Ona Ondo.
Meeting on March 31, 2019 in Douala during the 8th session of the Steering Committee of this institution, experts have invoked the current difficult economic and security environment to explain this result in half-tone. The economic recovery is struggling. With a growth rate of regional gross domestic product (GDP) stagnating at 1.8%, CEMAC states that plan to reach a growth of 3.8% in 2020 must first provide solutions to current obstacles. On the basis of these statistics, the double-digit growth envisaged by the countries of the subregion by 2020 a decade earlier is a wishful thinking.
Replace speeches with action
The president of the CEMAC Commission notably listed « the security and peace problems, the slow implementation of free circulation measures, a low rate of foreign exchange reserves, the persistence of expatriation of resource exploitation revenues. Central Africa, the deterrent business environment, red tape, corruption and lack of state ownership of economic, fiscal and sectoral policies in the region. » In any case, « the new impetus for the momentum for reforms in the Central African subregion, which has been decisively set » at the 14th session of the CEMAC Conference of Heads of State on 24 March 2019 in N’Djamena, Chad, as well as the meeting of Finance Ministers of the Franc Zone on March 28 in Niamey, Niger, will breathe new life into the countries of the zone. A new dynamic that implies the exit of the recession, the fiscal consolidation and the positive prospects of the economies of the Central African countries. However, the CEMAC countries must not lose sight of the fact that economic and trade exchanges between them are weak, less than 5% according to some studies as well as obstacles to community integration with the existence of customs and trade barriers. the imposition of visas for Community nationals, which some States continue to apply, is an obstacle to the development of the subregion. The more time passes, the more we take pleasure in speeches. The delay is loud and the stakes are huge. Time no longer lends itself to rhetoric, but to action.