Central Africa urged to prioritise agribusiness

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Douala, 24 Feb 2016 (ECA) – In the context of a sharp decline in the price of crude oil, Central Africa must capitalise on the diversification of its economies via the transformation of its agricultural products. This was the key message from Cameroon’s Minister Delegate in the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development – Mr Yaoba Abdoulaye – as he opened the 32nd session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts (ICE) of Central Africa, convened in Douala, Cameroon, by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

The three-day meeting, being held under the theme: “Harnessing the agricultural potential of Central Africa for food Security and the Structural Transformation of the Sub-region” provides experts from the zone the opportunity to reflect on current and emerging development issues in order to make recommendations for the harmonisation and coordination of economic and social policies in Central Africa. 

While hailing ECA’s choice of the session’s theme as timely, Mr Yaoba Abdoulaye intimated that faced with a “contingency that weakens economies of our countries, and in order to mitigate their continued vulnerability vis-à-vis fluctuations in international commodity prices, it should seek solutions that some might see as alternatives, but which would be the real bedrock of the development of our sub-region namely – agriculture. " 

On a similar note, the Director of the Sub-regional Office for Central Africa of ECA – Mr Emile Ahohe – argued that “commodity-based industrialisation, the diversification and structural transformation of our various economies, which have constituted the central thrust of ECA’s advocacy to Member States in recent years, are more topical today than ever” while adding that “agribusiness offers, especially Central Africa, opportunities not only for the attainment of faster and inclusive growth, but also for massive job creation.” 

On his part, the outgoing President of the ICE of Central Africa and Head of the Congolese delegation to the session – Mr Jean Christophe Okandza, who spoke on behalf of the experts present, offered his encouragement to ECA, and particularly its sub-regional office for Central Africa, to forge ahead with its efforts in research and analysis for policy orientation in the zone. 

Over 80 experts from central African states, as well as representatives of the African Union Commission, the ECCAS General Secretariat, the CEMAC Commission, the African Development Bank and UN specialised agencies are taking part in the session. 

-ENDS-

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The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) 

Sub-Regional Office for Central Africa  

P.O. Box 14935 Yaounde, Cameroon

Tel: +237 2 22231461

E-mail: sroca@uneca.org

 

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