By Leoncio Amada NZE, Executive President of the African Chamber of Energy (www.EnergyChamber.org) CEMAC Zone, President of APEX INDUSTRIES SA The global health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic affected the economic foundations of the CEMAC zone in an unprecedented way due to the limited integration and economic diversification of the region.
The six countries of the union – Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Chad, the Central African Republic and the Republic of the Congo – share a regional economy dominated mainly by hydrocarbons, which represent 80% of export earnings and 75% of income according to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Of the six member states, only Cameroon is a net importer of oil.
However, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon are more dependent on oil than Cameroon.
The promised economic diversification that has never come For decades, the governments of the CEMAC countries have been talking about economic diversification programs that have not been as successful as we all hoped.
The reason: on paper excellent plans and programs for economic diversification have been drawn up, but the development of the private sector has not gone hand in hand: one cannot speak of diversification and economic growth without a strong national or regional business fabric that generates employment and business opportunities for nationals and foreigners.
In short, the private sector must have the weight it deserves; it must be the thermometer with which the temperature and vigor of economic activity are measured; and, above all, it must be the master of the orchestra in the design and articulation of any macroeconomic program in the medium and long term so that it has the slightest chance of prospering.
Despite potentially being an important market with approximately 59 million inhabitants and abundant natural resources, the CEMAC zone remains the least developed and with the worst fiscal and monetary policies on the African continent.
Of 190 countries in the World Bank’s “Doing Business” index in 2020, the six CEMAC countries are in the worst positions with Cameroon in position 167; Gabon in position 168; Equatorial Guinea in position 178; Chad in position 182; Central African Republic in position 184; and the Republic of the Congo in position 180.
With the scenario described above, it is not surprising that the flow of foreign investment into the region has decreased exponentially in recent years.
A sinking ship There are times when it is necessary to call things by their name, times when silence is not an option, times when it is necessary to denounce and expose the bad actors that are holding back the development of the African continent , times when we must put the general public interest above anything else.
The time has come for Mr. Abbas Mahamat Tolli, Governor of BEAC, to respond to regional and international public opinion on certain issues related to the implementation of his disastrous #BEACForex Regulation in the CEMAC zone.
The regional business community, foreign investors, development partners and the general population of the CEMAC region are experiencing unbearable pain due to irresponsible monetary policies that are ruining thousands of lives and businesses.
The excuse of the implementation of clearly disastrous and Neanderthal-style monetary policies to safeguard the parity of a currency whose economy is in free fall no longer convinces anyone.
Does the BEAC Governor work for the strengthening and development of the CEMAC business ecosystem, or is he at the service of certain interests whose geostrategic objective could be to see the region totally financially and indefinitely destroyed in the economic mess in which the six countries?
The African Energy Chamber (AEC) invites the Governor of BEAC and his team to participate in the next African Energy Week (AEW) 2022 that will take place from October 18 to 21 in Cape Town, where, among other topics, topics will be discussed related to the economic and financial spectrum of the CEMAC area will be addressed, to give you the possibility to use a powerful platform such as #AEW2022 to explain to the African and global business community about the monetary and financial objectives that are pursued in the medium and long term with the implementation of the nefarious policies that the BEAC is applying for the macroeconomic interests of the subregion.
Need for an Urgent Intervention by Public Authorities The ACS invites the Heads of State and Finance Ministers of the #CEMAC zone to adopt corrective measures to mitigate the unnecessary economic damage caused in the region by the implementation of the nefarious and irresponsible Exchange Regulation of the BEAC – an issue that has become a true nightmare for businessmen and women who generate national wealth and employment in the subregion.
A monetary policy that today constitutes the main obstacle to attracting direct foreign investment to the region and blocks any attempt or maneuver of economic recovery.
A monetary and financial system conceived and created more than four decades ago and that has not been adapting to the economic realities of a globalized, dynamic and increasingly interconnected and interdependent world, cannot respond to or face the complexities that derive from the interaction between economic actors.
of the subregion with the outside world.
The time has come for the BEAC to remove its suffocating boot from the neck of the small businessman and entrepreneur of the CEMAC zone.
The time has come for the CEMAC economies to take advantage of the incentives offered by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement for their development and diversification.
And, above all, the time has come for Mr. Abbas Mahamat Tolli to step aside from his post as Governor of the BEAC and allow people with the macroeconomic vision that current times require and that the CEMAC zone deserves.
The businessmen and businesswomen of the CEMAC simply shout: “We want to breathe.”