Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

23 July 2012

Central Africa: Brazzaville Set for Cemac Summit

Heads of State and government of the CEMAC zone are to converge on Congo Brazzaville on Tuesday.

Another major gathering of Heads of State and government of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community, CEMAC, is scheduled in the capital of the Republic of Congo, Brazzaville today July 24, 2012 to seek ways of further strengthening the integration agenda of the sub-region. Holding after the 10th Summit that took place in the capital of the Central African Republic, Bangui in January 2010 during which reforms within the institution were adopted, the 11th Summit of Heads of State is expected to further delve into the modalities for making the reforms workable.

Ahead of the summit, the 23rd Council of Ministers that took place on Sunday 22nd July 2012 examined issues that will be tabled to the Heads of State for approval. Of the over 20 items discussed by the Ministers under the leadership of the President of the Council, Congolese Minister of State, Pierre Moussa, there were: the thorny question of the facilitation of the principle of the rotation of posts occupied by the six member countries in the seven main organs of CEAMC, the problem of Air CEMAC, the need to harmonise the Douala and Libreville Stock Exchanges, the biometric passport for CEMAC and of course, the free movement of peoples and goods that has remained a hackneyed phrase for some of the CEMAC member countries like Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

These two countries have continually resisted inhabitants of other CEMAC countries from freely moving into their territories and even the host country of the current summit was accused by citizens of the CEMAC sub-region at a meeting that Congolese officials convened last week for imposing the same immigration fee on CEMAC citizens as they did on immigrants from China, Europe and America.

Keen observers will therefore be watching to see what direction the Heads of State will give as far as the new reforms in the Sub-region are concerned. Perhaps the most crucial point in the reforms will be how to ensure that all six countries are represented at the highest level in at least one of the major institutions of CEMAC which are: the Commission, COBAC, BEAC, BDAC, the Court of Justice, the Audit Bench and COSUMAF which is responsible for monetary market surveillance.

According to the official programme, today's ceremony in Brazzaville will involve the arrival of the various Heads of State or their representatives and the official launch of an economic magazine called Forbes Afrique. This is being presented as the African version of the Forbes magazine and the edition being projected for launching in front of the CEMAC leaders has Cameroonian ace footballer, Samuel Eto'o Fils on the cover page. He is presented as an icon that goes beyond football and there are other stories like business women in Africa and the plans by Cameroon to be an emergent economy among others.

After the magazine launching, the Heads of State will retire to their respective residences all located at the Presidential villa in Brazzaville to prepare for the official opening of the 11th CEMAC Summit on Wednesday July 25, 2012. For the past week, streets in Brazzaville have been flying the flags of member countries and inhabitants of the capital city have kept their surroundings clean to welcome the august guests.

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