The Path to Successful Engagement

The 2019 joined evaluation of the implementation of the Economic and Financial Programme of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) supported by the International Monetary Fund and other partners indicated mitigated results. President Paul Biya, Chairman of the CEMAC Heads of State Conference, hammered on this in his opening speech at the Extraordinary Summit of the CEMAC Heads of State in Yaounde yesterday, 18 August. The low implementation seems to be blamed on a number of reasons. Some these include the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, increase in security crisis and the nefarious effects of climate change all of which incidentally combined to pull down the macroeconomic and budgetary equilibrium, weaken exchange reserves as well as intra-community trade. In the face of these, there was need to review the pace of implementation. This of course demands astute acceleration in the implementation of the structural reforms agreed upon.
The Heads of State and government of the six countries of the sub-regional body left the Yaounde video conference with new lease of determination to fully take the reforms to their logical end. They left with 24-point resolutions in their suitcases, three points more than the 21 points they retired with from the 2016 summit. From the look of things, the points are not quite far from those arrived at in 2016. Maybe, the new issues at stake that largely contributed to the poor execution of the agreed reforms is the COVID-19 factor which has come to even supersede some elements earmarked to redress the economy of the sub-region. The commitment to tackle COVID-19 must be taken seriously. This is a health problem and health is at the base of economic development. As the saying goes, a healthy nation is a wealthy nation.
Now that the engagement has been taken, what are the challenges to overturn which rendered implementation weak and less successful? The entry of CEMAC countries into the second-generation programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at the time it is feared the COVID pandemic may have a long-lasting impact on the sub-region’s growth potential is a major challenge. Even though the policy response from national and regional authorities in 2020 helped mitigate the economic fallout, CEMAC, however, experienced a severe recession in 2020 with fiscal and external defici...



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