The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Governments and experts in various development domains from across Central Africa and around the world, are set to meet in Chad to debate and propose a harmonized strategy of unlocking finances for industrializing the economies of Central Africa.
The stakeholders will be meeting in Ndjamena from 18 to 21 September 2018 within the context of the 34th session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts (ICE) for Central Africa. The ICE is the statutory supervisory organ of ECA’s support to member states in the subregion, UNECA said in a statement.
Meeting under the theme Financing Industrialization in Central Africa, this year’s edition of the ICE falls in line with conversations from the previous ICE session in 2017 that harped on the need for countries in the subregion to completely immerse themselves in a Made-in-Central Africa philosophy and practice, which involves moving from a vicious circle of exporting raw materials into a virtuous one of adding value to resources through sectoral diversification and rapid industrialization.
According to ECA’s office in Central Africa, the focus on financing industrialization in the sub region is most timely and relevant for several reasons, the decision-makers of the sub-region have renewed their interest in economic diversification and structural transformation as was demonstrated at the CEMAC Heads of State and Government’s Extraordinary Summits of in 2016 and 2017 and the adoption of various national industrialization plans.
The body also believes CEMAC countries have adopted fiscal consolidation measures as part of wider national and regional efforts to mitigate the negative impacts triggered by the drop in commodity prices, improve the efficiency of spending and restore macroeconomic stability. These short-term measures could potentially limit the fiscal space needed for governments to strengthen productive capabilities and make other long-term investments to structurally transform local economies. This calls for innovative financing solutions.
Lastly, the meeting will help sustain the momentum created during the 33rd ICE Session on “Made in Central Africa: from a vicious circle to a virtuous circle” and the operationalization of the “Douala Consensus” which aims to stimulate economic diversification in the subregion through resource-based and trade-induced industrialization.
However, lack of funding as one of the main obstacles to economic diversification and industrialization in the sub-region as detailed in an ECA report on “Made in Central Africa: from a vicious circle to a virtuous circle”.
The 34th ICE Session will serve as an appropriate platform to discuss and adopt a common funding strategy to support economic diversification in the region.