Harmonisation of economic communities in Central Africa: experts re-engage

Yaounde, 21 April 2015 (ECA) – Experts in economic affairs and representatives of institutions working toward regional integration in Central Africa have begun meeting in Yaounde, Cameroon to review and validate draft texts relating to five of the of the 12 priority areas of action for the harmonisation of the work of the sub-region’s economic communities. The five draft texts under review concern: the free movement of persons in Central Africa, trade issues, mechanisms for financing sub-regional integration, security issues and matters pertaining to the collaborative framework between ECCAS, CEMAC and the Steering Committee for the Harmonisation of Regional Economic Communities in Central Africa (COPIL/CER-AC, in French). 

The experts’ gathering builds up to the 3rd COPIL/CER-AC meeting. The event to be held on 24 April 2015, will be presided over by the Prime Minister of Cameroon – H.E. Mr Philemon Yang and will witness the participation of ministers in charge of integration, finance, trade, security and defence of CEMAC and ECCAS member States, as well as experts from the concerned countries and governors of central banks of the sub-region. They will work side-by-side experts of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Union (AU), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Development Bank of Central African States (BDEAC).  

To the Minister Delegate to the Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development of Cameroon, H.E. Mr. Yaouba Abdoulaye, who opened the experts’ get-together, "This meeting marks the beginning of the ambitious construction site of a unified normative edifice of Central Africa."


History of COPIL/CER-AC

During the second COPIL/CER-AC meeting, which took place in Yaounde in February 2013, the ministers identified 12 priority areas for harmonisation, carved out with the technical assistance of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the financial support of the African Development Bank (AfDB), to be rolled out in three phases. They adopted an operational budget of 300 million francs for COPIL/CER-AC and its Technical Secretariat.

It was on the premise of directives given by the AU that the 13th Conference of Heads of State and Government of ECCAS, held in October 2007 in Brazzaville, called for the Chairpersons of ECCAS and CEMAC, at the time, to setup a Steering Committee with the aim of drawing up a roadmap of actions to harmonise policies, programmes and instruments of integration of the two communities to be narrowed down, with time, to a single Regional Economic Community in Central Africa. COPIL was therefore setup and Cameroon designated as its Chair by the 14th Conference of Heads of State and Government of ECCAS, held in Kinshasa, DRC, on 24 October 2009.