News / Africa

Central Africa Growth Hindered by Vast Corruption

FILE - Children are seen posing in Blaram in northern Cameroon on March 1, 2013.FILE - Children are seen posing in Blaram in northern Cameroon on March 1, 2013.
x
FILE - Children are seen posing in Blaram in northern Cameroon on March 1, 2013.
FILE - Children are seen posing in Blaram in northern Cameroon on March 1, 2013.
A visiting joint International Monetary Fund/World Bank delegation says high levels of corruption have left the populations of Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and Gabon out of the benefits of their nations’ huge petroleum resources.

Economic growth in the six-nation Central African Economic and  monetary community, CEMAC, has stagnated at 2.2 percent this year, 50 percent less than the 4.4 percent forecast made by the regional Bank of Central African States.  
 
A joint IMF/World Bank inspection mission left Cameroon during the weekend.  Its leader, Mario De Zamaroczy, said such a mediocre economic performance has made the CEMAC zone one of the poorest in the world.
 
“It is not sufficient to reduce poverty. The revenue was below expectations and we do hope that revenue will be as planned by the end of the year,” said De Zamaroczy.
 
Among the issues that reduced the economic performance of the six-nation economic block, made up of Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Congo-Brazaville and Gabon, are prolonged drops in oil and commodity prices and a slowdown in global growth due to the world financial crunch.
 
De Zamaroczy added that five CEMAC countries produce oil that accounts for 40 percent of the regions Gross Domestic Product and close to 90 percent of total exports, but huge debts and amounts paid as subsidies to local consumers have been having negative impacts on the economy.
 
“We think that the generalized subsidies in gasoline (petroleum) prices is not an optimal way in our view to use scarce resources and we recommend a possible reform in that area.  And, finally, we fully support the major projects that are being implemented, but we need to accelerate the implementation of these projects," said De Zamaroczy.
 
Chaos in the Central African Republic since Seleka rebels ousted Francois Bozize from power and heightened security risks with pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea also weakened the economy.
 
The IMF and World Bank are projecting that with a probable increase in oil revenues in Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Chad, there will be a 5.3 percent growth rate in the region next year.
 
Experts skeptical
 
But economists like Professor Fondo Sikot, a lecturer at the University of Yaounde, think that such a growth rate will not improve living conditions in the CEMAC Zone.
 
“NEPAD (New Economic Partnership for African Development) had some years back tried to say that African economies need to grow at seven percent and above continuously over a five year period before they will begin to cut down on poverty...,” said Sikot.
 
Sikot added that Cameroon projected a 6.2 percent growth rate this year, but the Country's 2013 growth rate is ending up at 4.6 percent.
 
“The economy is not yet showing signs of an economy with a potential to emerge because the growth rate is still very low and poverty and unemployment are still extremely high, which means that something has to be done.  At the rate of 4.6 it will take maybe close to 30 years or so before Cameroonians begin to feel that the economy is growing,” said Sikot.
 
The Word Bank and IMF mission says high levels of corruption and arms imports are preventing the economies from having sustained growth.
 
Cameroon Prime Minister Philemon Yang has promised his country's parliament that Cameroon will place emphasis on infrastructure in 2014, such as completing construction of hydro-electric dams and fixing major roads.
 
All the CEMAC countries have plans to become emerging economies between 2020 and 2035.  Economists say such dreams can only be realized if the countries attain a double digit growth rate by 2015.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs