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

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week 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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid