CEMAC Officials Take Stock of Public Financial Management Reforms
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) held a regional seminar in Yaoundé on April 4—6, 2016. The event took stock of public financial management (PFM) reforms in the CEMAC countries since the adoption five years ago of regional directives that aim at modernizing and improving the management of public finance and strengthening the regional integration process. It also highlighted the major contribution of Japan to support their implementation in partnership with the IMF and to foster fiscal institutions in Central Africa.
In addition to representatives of the Japanese government, the seminar gathered officials from the CEMAC Commission and member states' governments and parliaments, as well as representatives from the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) Commission and some of its member states. Donors and technical assistance partners, including the World Bank, the European Union (EU), the French and German cooperation agencies and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), also participated in the seminar.
The IMF, in close coordination with the above-mentioned development partners, has provided extensive technical assistance to support the directives' drafting and implementation, assisted by the generous support of Japan. Despite a wide diversity of national contexts and capacity level, significant results have been achieved at the country level. However, important challenges remain to be addressed.
Mr. Alamine Ousmane Mey, Minister of Finance of Cameroon noted that “these reforms contribute to achieve our Chiefs of States' vision to make the CEMAC zone a dynamic and virtuous monetary zone.” He thanked the IMF for the technical assistance that it has provided to the CEMAC Commission and Member States for the past five years. Mr. Paul Tasong, the CEMAC Commissioner in charge of Economic, Monetary and Financial Policies, also highlighted the high impact of the seminar to “identify progress achieved, difficulties and challenges encountered in order to give further impetus to reforms implementation” in the CEMAC zone. Mr Kunio Okamura, the Ambassador of Japan in Cameroon, confirmed Japan's commitment to continue its support to African countries in general, and CEMAC countries in particular, to improve public financial management. During the seminar, Mr. Hironori Shoji, the Advisor to the IMF's Executive Director for Japan, discussed Japan's continuing support to promote sound PFM and strategies for PFM reform.
The technical assistance to the CEMAC zone is part of the Fiscal Affairs Department of IMF's longstanding commitment to strengthen public financial management in CEMAC countries.
The six CEMAC Member States are: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo Republic, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon. The six PFM regional directives of the CEMAC, adopted in December 2011, include directives on transparency and good governance of public finances, budget law, accounting regulations, budget nomenclature, chart of accounts, and the summary fiscal table. The deadline for their transcription in national laws was December 2013, and was recently extended to December 2017. However, their full implementation is progressively planned over the next eight to ten years.
Providing capacity development (technical assistance and training) to help countries design and implement economic policy is one of the IMF's core functions alongside its surveillance and lending activities. The IMF shares its expertise with member countries and provides training to build strong institutions, boost economic skills and formulate sound financial policies. Capacity development is closely integrated with the IMF's surveillance and lending work and is highly appreciated by member countries.
Japan is the biggest and longest-standing partner in capacity development for IMF member countries. Since 1990, Japan has contributed over US$430 million and has been the largest donor, among external donors, to IMF technical assistance activities. Japan's support has covered the full range of IMF assistance across 125 countries in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Western Hemisphere.