Central Africa: CEMAC to review its first generation of economic and financial reforms

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Les membres du Comité de Pilotage du Programme des Réformes Economiques et Financières de la Communauté Economique et Monétaire d’Afrique Centrale (PREF-CEMAC) se sont réunis le 12 août 2021 à Douala dans le cadre de la quatorzième session ordinaire dudit Comité.

Invited by its new President, Rigobert Roger Andely, the Congolese Minister of Finance, Budget and Public Portfolio, members of the PREF CEMAC Steering Committee met to review the status of implementation of the decisions and recommendations of the previous PREF-CEMAC Steering Committee sessions. The Ministers in charge of the Economy, Finance and Integration, the first heads of the sub-regional institutions members of this body and representatives of the Technical and Financial Partners (International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank, ECA, etc.), were afforded the opportunity to provide an update on the implementation of the PREF-CEMAC’s 05 major pillars: fiscal policy, monetary policy and the financial system, structural reforms, regional integration and international cooperation, over the period 2017-2020.

According to Minister Andely, the first generation of the PREF-CEMAC gave positive results on the recovery of the economies of the sub-region. It has enabled, among other things, the widening of the tax base, the improvement of the quality of public expenditure by States via the adoption of investment targeting policies, the replacement of the level of foreign exchange reserves, the strengthening of cooperation with the main companies exploiting national resources in the CEMAC sub-region for the repartition of export earnings, the effective union of the two financial markets of the sub-region, the successful organisation of the round table in November 2020 in Paris to mobilise funding for the 11 integrative projects and the signing of programmes supported by the International Monetary Fund, etc.

This dynamism has been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, falling oil prices and continued security crises. Thus, in 2020, CEMAC recorded a recession of less than 1.7% and a deterioration of its public accounts with a deficit of at least 2% of GDP due to the exponential growth in health spending. In this difficult context, the PREF-CEMAC Steering Committee has developed three framework instruments to strengthen the resilience of CEMAC economies. These include the 2021-2025 Community Recovery Plan for Covid-19, the Strategic Framework for Negotiating Second Generation Agreements for CEMAC Countries with International Technical and Financial Partners, and the revised PREF-CEMAC 2021-2025.

Concerning the 11 integration projects selected, Michel-Cyr Djiena Wembou, Permanent Secretary of PREF-CEMAC, reiterated that two projects are in the start-up phase, namely the Cameroon-Chad electricity interconnection project for which disbursements are completed, and the construction project of the Inter-State University Cameroon-Congo. Two other projects will be examined by the end of this year. The said projects involve the construction of the bridge over the Ntem river linking Cameroon to Equatorial Guinea and the Kribi (Cameroon)-Bata (Equatorial Guinea) road project. Three other projects will be revamped in a Public-Private Partnership mode. This is the case of the CHOLLET dam construction project to supply Cameroon, Gabon, CAR and Congo with electricity supply.