Mr. Abebe Aemro Selassie, Director of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) African Department, issued the following statement in Yaoundé at the conclusion of his visit to Cameroon, which took place from 4–5 July 2018:
Cameroon’s continued leadership in sustaining its fiscal consolidation is key to the success of the CEMAC’s regional strategy.
Good progress has been made in addressing the macroeconomic difficulties in CEMAC following the oil price shock to restore stability and achieve sustained and inclusive economic growth.
But this progress remains fragile and further efforts are required from the national and regional authorities to ensure that the strategy’s objectives are met.
“It was both a pleasure and an honor to return to Cameroon as the Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Africa Department. Since the December 2016 CEMAC’s Heads of State Summit in Yaoundé, Cameroon has spearheaded the regional strategy undertaken by CEMAC member states to address the sharp decline in oil prices in 2014.
“Cameroon’s economic and financial reform program supported by the IMF’s Extended Credit Facility has significantly contributed to rebuild BEAC’s reserves, in spite of the lower-than-envisaged fiscal consolidation in 2017. I am however confident that, with resolute implementation of the authorities’ revised 2018 budget and measures to enhance expenditure controls, Cameroon will continue to lead the way. Going forward, it will be important to continue to expand the non-oil revenue base, notably by reducing tax exemptions, and to enhance the quality of spending to create fiscal space for priority social and investment spending while maintaining debt sustainability.
“I also had the opportunity to meet with the Ministerial Committee of the Monetary Unions of Central Africa (UMAC). This was an excellent opportunity to take stock of progress in implementing the regional strategy and to discuss the challenges still facing the region. I must commend the national and regional authorities for their continued efforts, which have contributed to a significant decline in fiscal and external imbalances, and to a stabilization of public debt and BEAC’s international reserves.
“This progress remains fragile, however, as illustrated by some fiscal slippages observed in a few CEMAC countries, leaving no room for complacency. The CEMAC country authorities, with the support of regional institutions and development partners, should therefore continue to implement steadfastly the policies and reforms needed to achieve the fiscal objectives set in the IMF-supported programs. These continued efforts by CEMAC countries and regional institutions are needed to restore domestic and external economic sustainability, in particular to achieve a further build-up in regional reserves, and to pave the way for sustained and inclusive growth.
“I would like to thank Prime Minister Philemon Yang, BEAC Governor Mahamat Abbas Tolli, UMAC Ministerial Committee President and Minister of Economy, Prospective and Development Planning of Gabon Jean-Marie OGANDAGA, as well as Minister of Finance of Cameroon Louis-Paul Motaze, the other CEMAC Finance Ministers, as well as senior officials for their hospitality and for the opportunity to learn more about Cameroon’s and CEMAC’s economic progress.”