Central African Economic Outlook: African Dev’t Bank Foresees Resilience

The main development finance institution focused on the development of the African continent, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has forecasted that the real Gross Domestic Product for the Central Africa Region will grow by 3.6 per cent in 2019 and 3.5 percent in 2020 if countries take advantage of the exploitation of their raw materials, global growth, rising prices of commodities especially oil, and make the best out of recent economic reforms.

The predictions are contained in a report released in Yaounde on April 3 in a ceremony attended by the Director General of the Central Africa Regional Office of the bank, Ousmane Dore, the Country Director of the institution, Salomane Kone, the Minister Delegate in charge of Regional Development in the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Paul Tasong, who represented Minister Alamine Ousmane Mey, among others. The publication exclusively put together by AfDB shows the GDP of the region witnessed a slight growth from 1.1 per cent in 2017 to 2.2 per cent in 2018 though it remained below the 3.5 average of the continent.

Ousmane Dore who launched the Central Africa Economic Outlook alongside the African Economic Outlook launched earlier in January at the Headquarters of the institution in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, noted that the performance of the region is however encouraging because it is still recovering from the 2014 global economic shocks. He hammered on the importance of regional integration.

According to the report, effective regional integration would increase business and investment flows, stimulate the development of national markets, mitigate institutional and infrastructural deficiencies, and spark structural transformation. Minister Paul Tasong who chaired the event, acknowledged assertions in the document that despite the resilience de monstrated by countries in the region in general and Cameroon in particular, certain headwinds still persisted, such as insecurity and political instability.

He cited security problems in the Far North region where soldiers are fighting against Boko Haram, the sociopolitical crisis in Anglophone  regions and the intrusion in the Eastern regions by Seleka rebels from the Central African Republic.

“These insecurities have a negative impact on the economic, especially on customs revenue,” he said. Some recommendations suggested in the report include, acceleration of economic diversification of member states to reduce fragility due to exogenous shocks; strengthening the connectivity of infrastructure for electricity, transportation, and ICTs, combining strengths among countries to develop human capital and enhance countries’ comparative advantages.

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