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

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.