Gabon - CEMAC - Currency - Reform

CEMAC shun Ecowas integration model

APA - Libreville (Gabon)

The six countries of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) meeting in the Gabonese capital since Tuesday have resolved not to use the model of integration by their West African counterparts under the regional grouping Ecowas.

CEMAC has chosen Libreville to host the first edition of its general assembly. 

Fifteen years after the implementation of the institutional reform programme, the organisation’s leaders wish to evaluate this experience. 

“Through the initiative of the general assembly, the community wants to draw lessons from the 15 years of experience in implementing institutional reforms on the one hand, and optimise its institutional system in the face of the major challenges it is now facing on the other,” the organisers said.

By placing the event under the theme “consolidation of achievements and prospects,” they clearly indicate that they do not exclude a change of monetary policy as is the case in some regions of the continent. 

However, they do not intend to adopt the same approach as their West African counterparts, said the chairman of the CEMAC Commission, Daniel Ona Ondo of Gabon.

“This reform is underway, but we have a mandate of confidentiality. (...) It is a will of heads of state. People, contrary to what we hear here and there, believe that heads of state are not interested in reform. But this is absolutely false. We have had a mandate, the CEMAC commission and the Central Bank have made conclusions to the heads of state on the conduct to give to the evolution of the CFA franc,” he said, hastening to specify that a possible reform of the CFA franc in Central Africa would not be “a copy-paste.”

“Naturally, people see what is happening in West Africa with the Eco. From you to me, it has not advanced much in West Africa. The only progress in West Africa is that they are no longer depositing their reserves in operating accounts. France has given them their reserves,” the former Gabonese Prime Minister noted.

The West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) brings together eight countries that share the CFA franc. 

With the seven other ECOWAS countries, an agreement was reached with France nearly three years ago to change the name of the CFA franc to the ECO. 

But the implementation of the reforms has been delayed since then in the face of scepticism from English-speaking countries such as Nigeria, fearing French control of the currency, according to some observers.

For its part, CEMAC, which also wants to merge with the Economic Community of Central African States, wants to learn from this lesson to start on the right foot. 

“The reform is underway. We are thinking about it. We have already made proposals to the heads of state,” said the CEMAC Commission chairman. We are waiting for the next meeting of the Council of Heads of State to be able to give them the results of our consultations,” Daniel Ona Ondo said optimistically.


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