Expert meeting kicks off in Douala with focus on economic diversification in Central Africa

Douala, 26 September 2017 (ECA) - The 33rd Meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts for Central Africa (ICE2017) kicked off on 26 September in Douala, Cameroon, under the theme, “Made in Central Africa: from a vicious to a virtuous circle.” 

The four-day event provides a unique opportunity for high-level policy makers, captains of industry and other stakeholders to reflect on ways of creating resilient and globally competitive economies in Central Africa through the promotion of local production and consumption.

In her opening remarks, Giovanie Biha, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), deplored the fact that most economies in the subregion rely heavily on the export of raw materials, which exposes them to external shocks such as commodity price fluctuations, "as evidenced by the macroeconomic instability currently observed following the decline in oil prices since 2014.”

Ms Biha added, however, that the current crisis provides an opportunity “for us to reflect on how to promote economic diversification through natural resource-based and trade-induced industrialization.”

Speaking on behalf of Cameroon’s Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development (MINEPAT), Isaac Tamba - Director General of Economy and Public Investment Programming - commended ECA for the choice of theme, stating, “it is in line with efforts made by Cameroon in adopting its Industrialization Master Plan (PDI).”  

Mr. Tamba stated that it is absolutely important for Central African countries to work in unison in order to create wealth, reduce poverty and inequality, strengthen production and processing capacities, improve the social conditions of the populations and achieve a strong, inclusive and sustainable development.

For his part, Antonio Pedro, Director of ECA’s Subregional Office for Central Africa expressed hope that ICE2017 will serve as platform for a “thoughtful and results-oriented search for a solution to our problems that will forever create prosperous, resilient and globally competitive economies in Central Africa with quality, sustainable and inclusive growth.”

The event is attended by over 100 participants , including representatives of ministries in charge of planning, economy, industry, mines, trade, and small and medium-sized enterprises; delegates from ECCAS, CEMAC and their specialized agencies; representatives of UNIDO, FAO, UNDP, AfDB, the private sector, civil society, universities and research centres in the sub-region.

Issued by:

Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826