CEMAC: President Biya Reiterates Urgent Need for CEMAC Passport
Grounds covered in the implementation of subregional integration since President Paul Biya took over the helm of CEMAC as chairman have been reviewed.
While opening the 15th Ordinary Conference of Heads of State of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa -(CEMAC), President Paul Biya highlighted some challenges plaguing the subregion.
“Your presence at this meeting bears testimony to our common desire for a strengthening of the bonds of solidarity, fraternity and cooperation existing between the States and peoples of CEMAC.”
He mentioned the drop in petroleum prices in the world market, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Russia – Ukraine war as some external factors CEMAC countries are grappling with.
Terrorism and armed conflicts, like that which lead to the death of the late President of Chad, Idriss Deby Itno are some internal problems common to all CEMAC member states.
“The challenges along our path to the integration of our States are multiple and varied. The world is changing, and CEMAC cannot afford to stay on the sidelines of this dynamic.” President Biya said.
Recommendations to CEMAC Leaders
Besides pointing out current challenges, the chairman of the conference of Heads of State urged subregional leaders to take resolute measures to fast track the integration process and usher in development for the peoples of the six member countries.
” The ongoing structural reforms under the CEMAC Economic and Financial Reform Programme (PREF-CEMAC) are pertinent, and warranted by our awareness of the far-reaching changes taking place in the world and in our sub-region.”
President Biya told the Heads of States adding that “We will also need to accelerate the release of the CEMAC biometric passport. All these actions will foster better intermeshing of our States, increased movement of people and goods as well as improved performance of our economies.”
Besides facilitating the movement of people and capital within the subregion, the CEMAC chair stressed on the need to enhance mechanisms that foster peace and stability within the subregional block.
“Although we have made major strides here and there, we need to stay on the alert and not relent in our efforts. Such is the case, for instance, with the fight against the Boko Haram terrorist group.
We should stay true to our national and community commitments in order to restore peace and progress in our countries and our sub-region. To this end, solidarity should be the watchword.” according to the CEMAC chairperson.
He also spoke on the merging of ECCAS and CEMAC, “Indeed, our common resolve to coherently foster the economic and social development of our countries has highlighted the need to merge the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).”
Prior to the opening speech of the Chairman of the CEMAC, a review of five years of service of the President of the CEMAC Commission was made to the Heads of State.
The Gabonese born, Daniel Ona Ondo said “Solidarity and regional integration is undoubtedly the most brilliant summary of the common project of the CEMAC member states.
“I am thinking of the legendary tradition of Cameroonian hospitality. I am also thinking of the mobilization of all those who made it possible to hold this great community event in flamboyant conditions.
This summit of solidarity and regional integration offers us the opportunity not only to commemorate the steps taken but above all to celebrate the relevance, the acuteness, the accuracy of the integration project of the founding fathers of CEMAC,” Daniel Ona Ondo said.
At the end of the two speeches that marked the opening session, CEMAC leaders took souvenir photos before proceeding to their in-camera session.
The conference is due to resume after the in-camera session with a review of the reports of different organs of CEMAC.