The 60th anniversary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has been celebrated in Yaounde. The celebration December 12 was organised by the Central African Regional Bureau. Paul Tasong, Minister Delegate in the Ministry of Economy Planning and Regional Development chaired the event on behalf of Minister Alamine Ousmane Mey. The commemoration was marked by a colloquium on the “Stakes, Opportunities and Challenges of Economic Diversification in Central Africa.”
Minister Tasong, accompanied to the event by Louis Paul Motaze, Minister of Finance, said what the Commission and Cameroon has achieved together is laudable. “The ECA is the frontline partner of Cameroon and the Central African sub-region in terms of developing and attempting to harmonise development policies. It is but normal that the government comes out on this day to stand by its strategic partner,” he said.
Antonio Pedro, Director of the ECA Central African Regional Office opened in Yaounde in 1962 said, “60 years for us is a time for reflection. It’s time to take stock of what we have done so far and ask whether our contributions have been good enough to lift Africa out of the state of a marginal player in the global economy. We’ve made progress in certain areas and there are other areas where we still have more to do. That is why we dedicated discussions on this 60th anniversary celebration to economic diversification,” he said. He added that the continent is still a marginal player in terms of exports and innovation. “These are things we need to pay attention to. Fortunately, this particular office for Central Africa has economic diversity as its area of specialisation. We want to deepen our own abilities to respond better to our member states” he quipped.
Noting that Minister Motaze has enjoined the Commission to be more aggressive to be able to translate all its pieces of work into practical tools that can help its member states, the ECA official said the institution also expects Central Africa to improve its own performance. “At 1.7 percent intra-regional trade, they have the least performance in Africa. We want them to double their level of intra-regional trade in the next five years. The good news is that economic diversity has become a priority for all the countries in the sub-region,” said he. Other speakers at the event included the representatives of the African Union, CEMAC Commission and ECCAS, among others.