A forum to disseminate study findings and recommendations takes place on August 30 in Yaounde.
The Central Africa region, which forms an economic block known as the Central Africa Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) consisting of six member countries notably; Cameroon, Chad, Gabon, Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Central African Republic, is richly endowed with huge agricultural potentials. Despite the enormous endowment, the sub-region’s agricultural sector is largely under developed. Thus, poverty thrives especially with the over dependence on crude oil, which represents 86 per cent of CEMAC’s total exports. This explains why the countries of the sub-region were severely battered with the recent fall in crude oil prices. The slump in oil price left staid impact on the economies of these countries, giving them no choice than to think of economic diversification options. Studies have, thus, been carried out on various ways the CEMAC sub-region can diversify its economies to avoid the unbearable consequences of over dependence on crude oil and minerals. One of such studies whose analytical findings and recommendations will be presented in a forum in Yaounde on August 30, is that conducted by the World Bank on “breaking agricultural trade barriers in Central Africa.” The Bretton-wood institution holds that the economies of the sub-region can be diversified through the development of agricultural trade given that the region has a huge market potential of 48.5 million people. The study has therefore examined perspectives and potentials of regional trade in relation to balance of payment, agricultural development and poverty reduction as well as national and regional opportunities to transform the potentials into concrete actions. According to a press release issued by the World Bank Resident Representative, the recommendations of the study opines that trade in agricultural produce can stimulate the development of the sector and curtail poverty in the case where agricultural revenue increases and reduces imports, thus improving on the balance of payment. The potentials, the report adds, are yet to be fully exploited because of the weak link between producers and the market as well as the poor quality of market infrastructure and high cost of doing business due to corruption and long regional corridors. It therefore needs coordinated actions to upgrade capacities of producers, invest in preservation and market infrastructures, eliminate corruption on the long corridors and intensify inter-sectorial collaboration amongst others are suggested to surmount the obstacles.