Central Africa: Economic Health of CEMAC - BEAC Governor Clarifies On Burning Issues

This was in a press conference after a meeting with stakeholders on July 4 in Douala

BEAC Governor, Abbas Mahamat Tolli, has dispelled fears of currency scarcity ushered by the outings of the Cameroon Employers Union, GICAM recently. Speaking in a press conference after a meeting with stakeholders in the financial sector in the CEMAC region, the Governor said in categorical terms that there was no shortage of currency and that the currency is available at the level of the central bank. When the situation was explained to the GICAM representative at the meeting, he presented apologies for misleading public opinion. The apparent impression of a currency shortage, Abbas Mahamat Tolli said, is due to the reluctance of banks to comply with the new legislation of foreign currency exchange which went into effect on March 1, 2019. The measure, he said, is geared towards contributing to external stability of the currency and adapt to new developments such as new methods of electronic payment and to fight against money laundry and financing of terrorism. The result of the new legislation is an increase in exchange reserves by 127 per cent that is moving from 605.2 billion to 1.376.1 billion over a period of five months.

On Scarcity of Coins

The Central Bank has placed an order for coins which will arrive in November to solve the problem of shortage of coins in circulation.

On the Abandonment of the Franc CFA

The Governor said the franc CFA is playing the essential role that is expected of any currency. That is legal tender for the exchange of goods and services that enjoys the confidence of locals and foreign investors and therefore no need to abandon the franc CFA. He however said no one can tell the future. The CFA might have a name change or extend to other monetary zones in the future.

On Devaluation

He said the question of devaluation is a thing of the past as most economies in the CEMAC region are doing well with an average five per cent growth rate. Congo and Equatorial Guinea will soon be entering IMF Programmes. What is now left to be done is to diversify the economies to make them resilient. He said there is therefore no need for the devaluation of the CFA.

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