Ministers in charge of Integration and Finance of the Economic Community of Central Africa, ECCAS, and the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, CEMAC, have parted company in Yaounde after discussing five of the 12 priority areas for the complete restructuring of the two economic blocs pursuant to the African Union agenda. Meeting in the third Steering Committee for the Restructuring of Regional Economic Communities in Central Africa, COPIL-CER, charged with harmonizing integration policies, programmes and instruments of the two economic blocs, actors found it hard to agree on some of the five priority areas under review – on trade, free movement of persons and goods, peace and security and the financing of the institutions.
The Yaounde confab started on April 21, 2015 with experts reviewing texts that were submitted for approval by Ministers in charge of Integration and Finance on April 24, 2015. Cameroon’s Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi, who doubles as the Chairperson of COPIL-CER, chaired Friday’s deliberations attended by a cream of cabinet ministers.
However, the entire document did not find its way through on the table of Ministers. There was no consensus on the issue of the free movement of people and goods, security and financing. The three priority areas as per the final communiqueacute will be re-examined in subsequent COPIL-CER meetings. However, the meeting adopted coordinating proposals brought forth by experts. Notwithstanding, Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi and his peers are upbeat that having an economic bloc that comes with a common infrastructure was reality though it might delay. Progress has been made he said.
Notwithstanding, the Secretary General of ECCAS, Alamine regretted the time the integration process was taking to be effective. He said the hurdles of financing COPIL-CER besides the lack of political will were counterproductive to the growth of the economies of the blocs. He assured COPIL-CER, of ECCAS’s support and commitment to the acceleration of the integration process.
ECCAS and CEMAC have in the past used separate programmes which entail driving countries of the region in different directions. Harmonising the programmes of the two blocs will facilitate the process of regional integration in which the countries can participate in meaningful development. Experts however say the effort is not a merger per se, but cutting the cost of running. Yet, merging CEMAC and ECCAS has come under sharp controversy with arguments that unifying the institutions is more politically and institutionally difficult.
Source : Cameroon Tribune