25 July 2012

Cameroon: CEMAC in Quest of Solidarity

President Paul Biya and his five peers of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community, CEMAC ended the 11th Summit of Heads of State of the sub-region yesterday July 25, 2012 after long hours of in-camera discussions that took them up to 8:30 pm. The deliberations ended with a reading of the final communiqué by the outgoing Executive President of the CEMAC Commission, Antoine Ntsimi of Cameroon who is now expected to cede his place to a Congolese that is still to be named.

All speeches made during the opening and closing ceremonies of the Summit on Wednesday in Brazzaville, Congo pointed to the need for greater cooperation among CEMAC member countries and the reinforcement of integration.

While appreciating progress made in the reform process that is ongoing within CEMAC, the host President, Denis Sassou N'Guessou said the challenges of globalisation made it imperative for the sub-region to seek ways that will bring them together. He cited current achievements such as the putting in place of the board of Directors for the CEMAC Airline, the strategic partnership with Air France and the selection of Brazzaville as its headquarters, the adoption of the CEMAC passport, the free circulation of goods and peoples among others.

The happy prospects for the effective launching of Air CEMAC and the other institutions previewed for the sub-region were also underline by Antoine Ntsimi both in his balance sheet presented at the start of the Summit and the final communiqué. As such, the Regional Economic Programme (PER) of CEMAC that has been sub-divided into three phases: from 2011-2015, 2016-2020 and 2021-2025 is on a good footing with all that is needed for the first phase was on course. With 116 projects envisaged, 76 were already being executed with areas like agriculture, fishing and infrastructural development being priority concerns for the sub-region.

Concerning the two stock markets within the sub-region, member countries agreed to follow guidelines given by the African Development Bank while a common tax was also envisaged within the CEMAC zone for the financing of some projects. While calling on the incoming President of CEMAC, Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon to continue working with the President of Equatorial Guinea in finalising reforms began within CEMAC in 2006, the Heads of State in the finally communiqué noted that the reforms had brought in much renovations in the sub-region and traced the path for greater cooperation among CEMAC member countries. Henceforth, most of the major posts within CEMAC will follow a non-renewable five-year rotation bases.

Various specialised organs of CEMAC also took advantage of the Summit to present the situation in their various structures which were globally positive. However, the long close-door session that the Heads of State held from 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm made observers wondering whether deliberations went on that easy. Although no officials were appointed to the vacant posts within CEMAC institutions, countries that had to nominate candidates for the various posts were indicated.

Also remarkable during the session was a minute of silence observed in honour of John Atta Mills, President of Ghana who died on Tuesday July 24, 2012. The Mayor of Brazzaville, Hugue Ngouelondele welcomed the august guests to Brazzaville at the start of the Summit and Gabon was announced as the country that takes over batten of command to continue fostering the integration process within CEMAC.

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