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Bad Policymaking: A Recipe to National Asphyxiation, by Dr. Fitz N Dinka, 3 November 2016

One of the most strategic driving forces behind the wellbeing of a society or an economy is policymaking. The various policies laid out by policy makers go a long way to either ameliorate different aspects of a society and hence the economy or hold it back.

Policymaking is the act of creating laws or setting standards for a government, organization or business. These changes usually come as a result of the identification, monitoring and evaluation processes where trends are uncovered, or as a direct result of a pressing situation within an organization or a society.

In an ideally running society, the government makes policies for the protection and wellbeing of the citizens and population at large, and to ensure a better and smooth running of the economy. Some policies however, especially within corrupt governments are passed for selfish reasons. Lawmakers generally are people of position, power and wealth. They may run or oversee businesses, whose interests naturally have to be protected. They are well in position to do so. Where selfishness and greed surpasses rational reasoning, policies will be made that will protect businesses even at the expense of the wellbeing and wishes of the society. It is a common practice worldwide.

Examples of such situations are The Rise of Gun Violence as a Public Health Issue and how the NRA (National Rifle Association) has lawmakers deep in their pockets. Others include the continuous activities of MONSANTO and GM food developing companies despite protests and proof of their adverse health effects; the numerous constitutional changes in corrupt African governments to ensure the stay of leaders in power and access to large funds from other governments for hidden services rendered; Big Pharma buying its way into the FDA advisory panels and so on. The list can go on and on and isn’t limited to a few countries. It is a global problem, the only difference being the fact that in developing countries and Africa it is labelled ”Corruption” while in the US and Europe- “Lobbying”.

The slow development pace in Africa especially can be blamed on a major mentality problem which keeps policy makers and wealthy businessmen at the top, canalizing national wealth and deciding on laws almost exclusively for their benefits until there comes a conflict of interest situation.

Cameroon for example, a country which had maintained a leadership role amidst other countries in the central African region, both in terms of economic development and infrastructure since independence, now has most of the other nations ahead especially infrastructure wise. A country so blessed but yet cursed. A country where the dream of the youth is going overseas or getting into the public service, while those in public offices strive to accumulate as much as they can on the job before their term is over. This mentality applies from the topmost leadership in the country to the least student whose dream is to make it into specialized public schools like ENAM (Cameroon National School of Administration and Magistracy) and IRIC (International Relations Institute of Cameroon). He is sure of becoming a millionaire or of at least living a comfortable life. With such a mentality, the system is held in a vicious cycle and a lot of effort has to be made to see the light.

Individuals and companies with wealth have the capacity to bring about development not only economically but also with regard to infrastructure and the wellbeing of the workforce. In any given society this will give credit to the individual or company in question for lifting such a burden off government shoulders. Unfortunately, despite depreciating and disappearing infrastructure, only the government is allowed to carry out such projects.

For example, a company, X, has a warehouse in a location which is practically inaccessible. No matter how large their resources, they have no right to construct a permanent road with bitumen. They have to manage it somehow and wait for government projects to do the job which may take years as is usually the case. Other governments foster partnerships with corporations and wealthy individuals and are only too glad to receive such proposals.

These are a few examples of how policies can make or break a country or an organization and policy makers are the keys to the wellbeing or failure of this process. Policymaking in various sectors should be confided to a neutral body or agency, with its leadership having no affiliation to the government but should have a government representative on the panel alongside specialists in the domain and an ordinary person from the public. Policies should be debated upon, voted and only then implemented.

If individuals can look beyond their present infinite wealth targets and visualize a future for their nations and even their own great grandkids, some mentalities will change. After all, greed and selfishness at such national levels only portray the lack of honour a citizen can have for his country.

Also see Top 10 Reasons Why The World Is Not Likely To Attain Health Targets Anytime Soon, by Dr. Fitz N Dinka

Dr. Fitz N Dinka is Senior Policy Analyst at the Central African Centre for Libertarian Thought and Action (CACliTA).

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Posted by on November 6, 2015 in Uncategorized



Setting the scene:
Many businesses and corporations will over their existence experience a decline in performance. Such a period is characterized by harsh conditions, low morale and lack of zeal and enthusiasm with employees throughout the corporation. Some corporations recover from this and bounce back stronger than before, and some don’t. There are many factors responsible for such a lackluster state of affairs;
* Internal Factors: these are factors that are self inflicted such as, lack of innovation, poor corporate culture, incompetent management or poor financial control
* External Factors: these are factors that are extraneous to the corporation’s affairs such as government intervention, recession in a vital product(s) or service(s) that the corporation produces or renders respectively, or poor performance of partners with which the corporation cooperates with on a long term basis
The continuous survival and success of an organization or corporation greatly depends on managing these forces internally and externally.

The purpose of this presentation (working paper) is to show how, in less than 3 years, CSPH Cameroon has experienced a high performance culture within the organization. We shall examine and suggest along the way, how this turnaround strategy has come about along with restructuring and re – orientation. It is a bold and legitimate vision moving forward.

NOTE BENE: Turnaround strategies are not only for loss making companies. All companies that face declining business performance need turnaround actions and/or corporate transformation. CSPH Cameroon was no exception.

Process and pillars:
The first place to start if your corporation is in decline or failing is to look within the company. This is known as self – evaluation or self – assessment. You have to know what the situation is to better decipher the problem(s). When one knows the circumstances, one can take appropriate action(s). When looking within, focus on the following key areas:

Does the corporation have a direction? Does the corporation know why it exists (does it thrive within its defined specific missions assigned to it by the board?) Does the corporation know what key problems it solves and for whom? Is the business focused on the right things?

Are the right people running the company? Are the right people in the right places? Are employees committed to organizational success? Are employees properly incentivized to share in the ongoing success of the company?

Are difficult policies; internal strife or behaviors of specific individuals driving down the collective spirit of the company? Are there bad eggs in your company that are contaminating the whole organization?

Petroleum Marketers
Are marketers satisfied? Do they know and trust CSPH and the services CSPH offers? Is CSPH focused on profitable marketers versus those marketers that are not so profitable and therefore difficult as partners? Is CSPH targeting the right marketer base?

Is CSPH offering innovative services? Can the company better utilize 21st century technology to offer better services, reduce costs and improve competitive advantages?

Are systems in place to get work done efficiently? Are things being done in the right way? Are policies, practices and procedures facilitating work or hindering work? Is the company structured for high performance?


Is CSPH competitive and profitable? Are cash flows sufficient to sustain ongoing commitments and operations? Is CSPH largely indebted or overly leveraged?

Re – evaluation is the most critical point of turnaround strategy; without it all other things are just frantic moves that will yield little at best. Before one begins to act, one has to know why, what and how the corporation shall be affected.
Challenges are not always evident at first glance. Problems take time to identify and evolve rapidly.

Creating a Value – Centered Culture: The CSPH Turnaround

The core problem
* Lack of rigor
* Professional indiscipline
* Lack of deadline in tasks
* Lack of inclusive meritocracy
* Lack of incentives
* Lack of team spirit (The LION’s spirit)

The solution moving forward/Strategy
* Transformation of the CSPH corporate culture (having the right people with the right attitude and in the right positions) to achieve its value creation goals
* Showing employees that by applying analytical thinking to their actions they could directly contribute to the strategic outcomes of the company as a whole (they should be bold in their thinking; think macro and not micro)
* Cultural transformation using visual techniques designed to align performance indicators with clear corporate targets moving forward

Re-inventing HR by Implementing a High Performance Culture

For a company to be competitive and grounded in its strategy and vision, CULTURE is EVERYTHING!

Respect and professionalism:
CSPH should embody colleagues who have genuine respect for one another, people who respect each other and get respected from others. A great workplace is made of stunning colleagues. What they do, and more importantly, how they do their work (in a professional and ethical manner) should define who they are.

Team work
A strong sense of inclusiveness should be the norm at CSPH. Directors should be akin to coaches; who train, observe and encourage colleagues in order that we have corporate stars in every junior position.

Honesty at all times:
Employees should be honest with themselves, their colleagues and bosses. For the Managing Director (MD), he should periodically ask his directors: “if I told you your position was in jeopardy, how hard would you work to change my mind to stay at CSPH?”

Hard work is not directly relevant:

Work smart NOT hard. It’s about effectiveness NOT effort. Performance should not be measured by how many hours employees spend in their offices. People should be graded by how much, how quickly and how well they get work done, especially under a deadline. Working under pressure is a measure of how effective employees can think well and deliver within a restricted time frame. (Working smart

Why performance is so key:
* In procedural work, the best are 2x better than the average
* In creative work, the best are 10x better than the average
Hence there is a huge premium on creating effective teams of the best and brightest.

The Essence of a High Performance Corporate Culture

High performance corporate cultures have 2 central characteristics:

* Each company is unique. Some companies such as MTN and Guinness Cameroon have a powerful organizational personality – a “soul”- derived from a deep heritage. Others such as SNH and Schlumberger Cameroon create their own distinctive environment. This strong combination of values, character and inclusive meritocracy creates a deep bond with employees, making their work unusually meaningful and rewarding

* The 4 cited companies above foster a similar set of behaviors. Their respective set of “corporate personalities” may be distinct, but they all encourage remarkably consistent patterns of behavior. People in these corporations care passionately about winning! They orient themselves outward, focusing on delivering sterling results and being a good corporate citizen in the community in which they do their business than on internal office politics.

They think like owners/shareholders and have a bias to action. They are about teamwork that wins and are more open to change.
CSPH should be reflective of such tenets moving forward.

Highlights on Corporate Culture & Performance:

* The culture of a company is not a vague set of principles which are pasted on boards and personal computers. The culture of a company is defined by a set of clear tangible vital behaviors, through which the identity and DNA of the company is established
* Culture is pervasive and palpable to outsiders
* Culture is imbibed by living the Vital Behaviors in every aspect of the business.

The foregoing above should be seen and respected as the corporation’s core values.

The overall framework for corporate transformation: from vision to achievement

Alignment of organizational culture, strategy and structure
In order for an organization to succeed, the three elements of strategy, culture and structure need to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.

Of the three elements, CULTURE is widely accepted as the most difficult aspect to change, but is the most critical.

Breaking down the 3 steps of business transformation:

This means what the organization will utilize in order to achieve its core objectives (implement strategies and value propositions)
How we organize ourselves in order to support the culture and strategy (restructuring and processes)

‘How we do things around here’ in order to achieve the desired corporate strategy

One cannot talk about creating a high performance culture without talking about the people behind it. A corporation cannot function by itself, people make it function. People make or break a corporation or business entity.

A high performance culture is not dependent on one single factor or as a result of one or two things. The entire context you operate in greatly impacts your results. This context includes, but is not limited to, how things get done, how decisions get made, what works and what does not work and what gets rewarded and how.

It is pivotal to incentivize staff. This, in part, brings out the best in people. And when people are highly motivated, they will deliver for you and be there by you. People should have a sense of belonging to the company, a sense of inclusiveness that has a tendency to establish employee meritocracy.

The key to building a high – performing culture is to make sure you consider “what” and “how” you will get to your destination points – the clear definitions of where you are going in a specific time frame.

Strategy matters, no doubt. But without a winning culture to drive it forward, your strategy is taking you nowhere.

In the famous words of Peter Drucker: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast…every single time.”

N: B The culture of an organization, and hence the quality of its people is the most sustainable competitive advantage

Leadership is crucial in creating and sustaining a high performance culture. Cultural change won’t happen until and unless leaders (The Managing Director and Department Directors) themselves model their behaviors and values that define the new culture.

Below are a few principles that should guide CSPH’s high performance culture and discipline philosophy as visualized by the current Managing Director:

1. Cultural empathy
For CSPH leaders (Directors and Chiefs of Service), “sensitivity to culture” (so called cultural empathy) is a key requirement. Cultural empathy requires a degree of putting one’s ego aside for the greater good. This essentially means, within our context, that a leader has to surrender the notion that his/her tribe/culture/region/alma mater or point of view is always the best. A leader needs to be open minded, embrace the inclusiveness of others and by all means, embrace and encourage diversity of thought. A leader has to at times see through the eyes of others and reason through the brain of others.

2. Align the leadership team around a common vision and required behaviors
While many factors influence a performance driven culture, a very important one is what leaders do and say (in that order) consistently over time. Employees that are reticent to the new cultural change envisioned must be weeded out in order for the novel culture to take flight and empower the corporation. Remove “leaders” who are obstacles to change.

3. Focus the organization on delivering the corporate agenda
At CSPH, we should apply a culture of accountability, which is best achieved by holding people accountable for actual delivery, rather than spending energy on a formal “culture change” program. Culture is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

4. Manage the culture by managing the drivers of culture
At CSPH, we should encourage directors and chiefs of service to;

* “walk the talk”
* Clarify roles and establish a clear system of accountability and transparency
* Replace people where necessary and incentivize initiative and creativity
* Encourage an open dialogue environment. Let people say what they think. People should respect hierarchy and not fear hierarchy.
* Letters of congratulations should be the norm from the Managing Director (MD)

5. Taking the time to celebrate
A winning mindset and cultural change in a corporation can be a long journey- and one that requires tireless leadership.
Consistent, sustained clear communication of the required behaviors is critical. At CSPH, we should celebrate victories – large and small – but we never declare victory outright. Such is the vision and mindset of our Managing Director (MD) and it is a winning strategy moving forward.

So, globally, CSPH should believe in a philosophy of success as a result of both the individual and collective efforts of its employees. Employees should represent CSPH’s most significant asset and performance management creates the right environment for people to perform to their full potential. Responsibility for performance management lies both within the Department Director who drives performance and provide support and necessary resources for his departmental staff under his control, and the employee who should take ownership of his/her development and contributes positively to the realization of CSPH objectives. Performance management is not the responsibility of Human Resources.

The Integrated Performance Framework (I.P.F.) Notion
An Integrated Performance Framework (I.F.P.) is the process that engages and develops individual and teams in the delivery of aligned corporate objectives that will result to sustainable growth.
By this is, is meant;

* Engages
Connects, communicates, interacts, involves, enables and challenges
* Develops
Empowers, educate, value added skills, identifies and creates growth opportunities for the team and the individual
* Individual and team
The identity, values, and blend of strengths that makes each person and team unique
* Sustainable growth
Enduring performance that continuously anticipates and meets the expectation of marketers and other partners in the sector
* Aligned corporate objectives
Objectives that are both results and behavioral oriented, translated from corporate strategy

Corporate Strategy Translated into SMART Goals


* Define performance expectations and clearly define strategy moving forward
* Avoid being vague. Clarity is key
* Define the cost of the corporate strategy on year going basis. This should be objectively measured.
* Ensure that corporate goals are reasonable and legitimate
* Avoid assigning too many or too few goals
* Ensure that corporate goals are relevant to the strategy, levels of work and functional roles
Time – bound:
* Assign specific deadlines to all corporate deadlines
* Avoid making all deadlines to be at the end of the year (December)
* Spread deadlines throughout the year

Dealing with Resistance to Change in CSPH

Examples of questions leading to resistance to change in CSPH:

• Wait it out, this clamour for cultural change will go away
• Will the culture really change or is it a fad?
• Don’t believe in the leadership vision of the new General Manager
• If it’s not broken, why fix it?
• Let’s keep the status quo, it is more comfortable than the new ways
• Don’t know if I can trust this new future
Typology of Resistance to Change:
Three signs of resistance to change to look out for, and address, are;
• Silence and passive resistance (or refusal to engage) – The affected staff see internal passive harmony as more important than the change. Doing the strict minimum which allows these forces of resistance to stay below the radar of detection. No “extra mile” effort to be expected.
• Cynicism – Always looking on the bad side of things. Keeping your head down, ignoring it, and this shall pass.
• Collusion with passive resistance rather than confrontation

Dealing with Resistance to Change in CSPH
Solutions to overcome Resistance to Change…and to create a High Performance Culture:

• Transparency (CEO/MD Newsletters to share the state of the corporation with staff)
• Setting of targets (Review of Annual and Quarterly CSPH performance. Encourage employees to go the “extra mile”. The more you expect from people, the more they will achieve.)
• Change of role (Colleague peer reviews and role play reversal)

• Rewards (Reward employees who excel and embody the core values of CSPH and who go beyond the normal call of duty. CEO letters of congratulations to deserving employees is a worthwhile initiative. CEO awards for acts of selflessness that epitomize the CSPH spirit should be encouraged)
• Effective communication (Corporate General Assembling can be a powerful tool when a CEO wants to drive organizational change and performance improvement. His discourse in the form of inspirational talks/speeches can be motivating and inspirational to employees to help them achieve more than what they thought possible)
• Celebration of victories, big and small; It is important to celebrate milestones once they have been reached. Taking time to celebrate is relevant because it acknowledges people’s hard work and makes them feel they are an integral part of the overall success of the company. Annual bonuses to staff should be encouraged in proportion to annual corporate profits. And end of year party is also a good idea to boost corporate morale among employees.

3. Consequence Management
• Performance (Implement a Performance Improvement Plan “P.I.P.”. In addition, CSPH should have a business performance metrics)
• Behaviour (Cultural slammers have to removed in order to better implement the new culture)

Critical Do’s and Don’ts
• Always prioritize culture over strategy and structure
• Clearly define vital behaviours to create the desired culture
• Spend a disproportionate amount of time on cultural issues
• Deal with individuals who are obstacles swiftly and thoroughly; remove them!
• Get the right leaders in senior management positions
• Get change agents (influential employees and opinion leaders) to assist in the transformation. The head of HR is critical to corporate success in transforming the culture
• Instill a passion to win and excel. Let excellence be a habit
• Align the Performance Framework to the Culture of the company
• In setting performance agreements, make them tangible and measurable. Avoid vague objectives.


Tracking the Execution:

It is may be trite, but it is simply true; there is no way to turn around a slumping company into a performing one by mere words. One needs to do the work! And, CSPH as a corporate body has not been working as it used to work before. For almost 3 years, under the new leadership and vision, CSPH has re-invented itself as a corporate entity. For a long time, the corporation had been engaged in random work rather than focusing on performance-driven, goal-oriented and timely mannered work.
It is one thing to work in a diffuse manner and it is quite another thing to align your work with the strategic goals of CSPH.

Every objective has been broken down into processes, with a project leader and has been structured to have a goal or key indicators to track performance.

Given that CSPH is not a profit making corporation, it has not deterred CSPH from being internally competitive and making the company strive for better days ahead. CSPH has adjusted and improved our bottom line (which is the CSPH “compte d’exploitation) in order that the company experiences a better financial fitting. This has been the pride and joy of the board of directors, the Director General/ MD, and the employees at CSPH. All benefactors have seen their bonuses increase by virtue of the remarkable corporate turnaround.

Mr Ananga is a cadre at CSPH and is Vice President of the Central African Centre for Libertarian Thought and Action (CACLiTA)

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Posted by on November 6, 2015 in Uncategorized



Primary education without government coercion: The case of Cameroon, by Chofor Che, originally published at 28 August 2015

On Thursday the 20th of August 2015, the government of Cameroon closed down over 250 so called clandestine primary schools. This government measure also included the closing down of some Muslim religious institutions which the government claimed were operating without authorization. According to a report by Africa 24 aired on television on Sunday the 23rd of August 2015, these measures are being put in place because the government of Cameroon cannot allow unauthorized institutions of primary education continue to function, especially as some government officials claim that the teachers are not well trained to properly teach children. Other analysts add that due to attacks by the Islamist sect, Boko Haram, such establishments could attract bomb attacks and thus a bad omen for state security.

This scenario raises a lot of contentious issues. Is this a situation of government coercion against freedom to primary education or does the state have the obligation to ensure that poorly trained teachers do not impart wrong knowledge to young Cameroonians? In the context of the war against the Islamic sect Boko Haram, is the state of Cameroon correct to take such measure for the security of the whole country?

In Eamonn Butler’s 2014 publication entitled ‘Foundations of Free Society’, he alludes that according to a study by Professor James Tooley, it was proven that in countries like India, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya, most children were attending non-government schools. Many of these schools were unofficial schools not recognized by government. Some of these schools received charitable assistance and none benefited from state funding. Even in such circumstances, children who went to such schools performed better than those in government schools. Professor Tooley also found that in government schools the rate of absenteeism was very high. Private schools had better facilities including toilets.

A recent study by the Cameroon based Central African Centre for Libertarian Thought and Action shows that indeed like in the cases of India, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya, private education especially at the primary school level furnishes better results in subjects like mathematics and general knowledge. Therefore the state of Cameroon needs to rethink measures on promoting primary school education. Closing down over 200 primary schools is not an appropriate policy measure.

Rather than closing down these establishments promoting primary education, there was need for the government of Cameroon to instead allow these establishments function and improve the teaching capacity of teachers via training programs. Such a measure will go a long way in improving the quality of teaching in these establishments.

Several private establishments are not registered because of heavy taxes levied on them by the state. In this respect the proprietors of these institutions prefer to run them without proper authorization. Being unauthorized does not mean that the quality of education is poor. Therefore it is important for the state of Cameroon to ensure that registration and taxation methods in place are favorable for private establishments to be created and stay in business.

Refining the curriculum of private institutions and making sure it meets the expectation of an emerging economy is germane. Rather than closing down these private establishments, the state of Cameroon could have also assisted these private establishments by refining their curriculum and ensure that it meets the expectations of development objectives of the state.

Private public partnership is an emerging phenomenon that improves quality of services as argued by certain economists. In this vein, rather than closing down private institutions involved with primary education, the state of Cameroon may have considered partnership agreements between some of these private institutions with state institutions, so as share best experiences and close up loopholes, for the betterment of young Cameroonians.

Not all Cameroonians have access to primary education, although this is a major objective set by the Millennium Development Goals, which was supposed to be realized this year, 2015. Private establishments promoting primary education can indeed make this dream come true if given the opportunity to do so by the government of Cameroon and most states around the world. All the same it is equally important for these private institutions to respect rules and regulations set in place by the state. Owing to the fact that terrorism is now a reality especially in the Northern part of the state, there is need for proprietors of privately managed primary schools to respect security measures and collaborate with the forces of law and order.

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Posted by on October 1, 2015 in Uncategorized


Harnessing the remittance market for development in the Central African sub-region by Asanji Burnley Nguh, 19 June 2015

Remittances have been identified as the third pillar of development as their volume is second to Foreign Direct Investment and three times higher than Overseas Development Assistance and are steadier than both private debt and portfolio equity flows. Analytical studies have shown that remittances contribute to poverty reduction in home countries. Remittances are an essential source of external funds for developing countries.

Since 2001, the transfer of funds by Cameroonians abroad to their home country has considerably increased, as testified by the multiplicity of financial companies specialised in the transfer of funds in Cameroon. The multitude of these canals renders impossible the evaluation of the exact amount of these transfers. All the same, going by the 2009 World Bank report, we note an increase of the approximate amount transferred from abroad each year by Cameroonians for the period 2001 – 2008. These amounts, are estimated at US $ 11 million in 2000, to US $ 103 million in 2004 and US $ 167 million in 2008, representing 0,8% of the GDP in 2008.

According to a 2010 World Bank report, in the eight countries belonging to the Central African sub region, remittances do not exceed Official Development Aid (ODA) and are low compared to the other African sub regions. This is partly due to a lack of data reported for half of the countries the sub region. Out of the recorded remittances going to the remaining four countries (125.3 million Euros), Cameroun receives by far the biggest share (86%).

Recognising that remittances are, above all, private funds, but which also offer development possibilities for entire communities and countries, how then, do remittances impact development in Sub Saharan Africa especially in the Central African Sub region and how can remittance flow be enhanced?  This write-up also outlines barriers to remittance markets in the Central African sub-region as well as possible recommendations.

According to the World Bank 2011 Remittance Markets for Africa report, remittances can affect economic growth in a positive manner by raising consumption and investment expenditures. Remittances also increase expenditures on health, education, and nutrition that contribute to long-term productivity; and by improving the stability of consumption and output at both the household and macroeconomic level. These benefits in turn increase the supply of investment from both domestic and foreign sources by increasing financial intermediation, which can ultimately contribute to higher growth.

The 2011 report also brings out the fact that economies in which the financial system is underdeveloped such as those of the Central African Sub-region, remittances may alleviate liquidity and credit constraints and help finance small-business investments, thereby effectively acting as a substitute for financial development.

Consequently, remittances are also of great importance to countries for maintaining external-sector balance and macroeconomic stability. These are some of the reasons why remittances have been receiving increasingly the attention of politicians and analysts.

It is worth noting that despite the development implications, remittance markets in the Central African sub region remain plagued with many challenges.

The remittance market in the Central African sub region is plagued by regulatory bottle necks. Existing policies in a number of countries in the sub region create barriers for deployment of these flows for national gain. Regulations that restrict, limit or authorize institutions to carry out foreign currency transfers include those regulating foreign currency management and authorizing institutions to perform foreign currency transactions.

The decision to allow a particular institution to perform international money transfers is instrumental to expanding financial access for remittance senders and recipients. Countries with more restrictions on outbound payments often belong to monetary unions, such as the Central African Monetary Union (UMAC) or have legislation dating from
before 1998.

Whereof, these policies are there to increase remittances flows in the sub region they rather hamper its development and thus needs to be improved upon for better results, they are either not being implemented or improved upon due to some factors such as;

  • The non-implementation of a regulatory framework to reduce transfer cost in the different corridors;
  • Lack of inclusive finance;
  • Lack of support to investment motivations of the Diaspora amongst others.

The Central African sub region remittance market exhibits a low level of competition and has limited payout presence in rural areas. Going by an IFAD report (Sending money Home to Africa, 2009), 50 per cent of the banks in the Central African Sub-region countries pay remittances, but the percentage jumps to 100 per cent in countries like Angola where only banks are allowed to pay. This situation strongly discourages other actors from entering the remittance market.

Exclusivity arrangements severely limit competition and create barriers to entry. Most regulations in the Central African Sub-region permit only banks to pay remittances. In half of the countries of the Sub-region, they constitute over 50 percent of the businesses paying money transfers. About 41 percent of payments and 65 percent of all payout locations are serviced by banks in partnerships with Western Union and Money Gram.

More than 20 percent of the people within the reach of Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) receive remittances. Yet MFIs currently represent less than 3 per cent of remittance payers. In countries where MFIs do pay remittances they often operate as subagents of banks. This can be seen in the Central Africa Republic where they have an impregnation rate of about 20 percent.

High remittance costs represent an unnecessary burden on Central African migrants. In a 2011 World Bank report based on IMF survey, almost 70 percent of central banks in the Central African Sub-region cited high costs as the most important factor inhibiting the use of formal remittance channels.

According to data from the recently released World Bank Migration and Development Brief 23 Report of 2015, the cost of remitting to the Central African Sub-region remains above global levels (11.3 percent of sending the equivalent of US $200, versus the global average of 7.9 percent).

The lack of readily available data on the remittances markets in the Central African sub-region is another major difficulty. Most  states do not report data on remittance outflows or inflows to the IMF Balance of Payments Statistics, which is the main source for the internationally comparable dataset of the Migration and Remittances Factbook produced by the World Bank.

Also, most of the money sent home by migrants is unrecorded, and therefore does not enter many countries’ national statistics. Development planners increasingly stress the importance of tracking this money. That will help governments try to increase remittances as a source of development finance and better channel them into productive sectors. This makes it difficult to compute the impact of remittances on the development of the sub region.

In the light of these obstacles, the following can be advanced as possible recommendations that can enhance financial access in the Central African Sub-region.

Firstly, regulatory reform is central to leveraging the impact of remittances. There are a range of businesses that have the operational and financial capacity to conduct transfers, but that are not permitted to do so. When banks can perform transfers and MFIs can only act as sub-agents, both institutions suffer as they encounter barriers or lack incentives to enter the market.

Allowing more actors to perform money transfers will expand the reach beyond banks and foreign exchange bureaus, allowing greater competition among Remittances Service Providers (RSPs).

While there are eight banks on average in each Central African Sub-region country, the MFIs impregnation in these countries is about 6.5%, half of which are regulated, and at least three or four of which could compete as payers.

The Central African Sub-region countries have a very low number of payout locations less than 34%. Bringing MFIs and post offices into the market would double the number of payout locations.

According to the IFAD 2009 report cited above, 4 (Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea) out of the 8 countries of the Central African Sub-region do make use of the Post offices for Remittances payment. Gabon has a Post Office impregnation rate of 50 percent, while Congo has 28 percent.

It is also important that governments provide to MFIs equal market access. This may be done by ensuring basic benchmarks regarding their capacity to comply with the standard regulations on financial crime prevention, cash flow and liquidity to cover payments, technological innovation, trained staff, market presence and financial service cross-sale.

Policies should be designed to increase financial sector development. This may be done by encouraging greater competition among banks and by promoting alternative providers such as microfinance institutions, credit cooperatives, and postal savings. In this way banks are likely to have a beneficial impact on the market for remittances.

Improving competition is germane. In order to improve on limited competition, there is need to phase-out exclusivity agreements and contracts that prevent agents from forming partnerships with other providers or that block competitors from entering the market.

Governments in the sub region should encourage competition through foreign currency market promotion. Competition is enhanced through the dissemination of information and networking tools.

Increasing the role of post offices in remittances can be facilitated by several policy measures. Post offices can partner with destination-country post offices, banks, and money-transfer companies to extend existing domestic money-order facilities to international remittances. Better coordination among the various regulating entities should be promoted to ensure better consumer protection.

High remittance costs represent an unnecessary burden on the Central African migrants. Reducing remittance costs can lead to increases in the remittances sent by migrants, in turn increasing the resources available to recipient households.

The extended geographical coverage of domestic mobile money services and the growing number of customers with access to mobile money accounts may be encouraged in the Central African region. This may entail the need to extend money access points to include ATMs and mobile wallets as well as agents in many countries. The adoption of these innovative technologies is still nascent and will vastly improve access to both remittances and broader financial services, including low-cost savings and credit products, for the Central African migrants and remittance recipients.

Measures that would encourage the expansion of mobile phones to cross-border remittances include (a) harmonizing banking and telecommunications regulations to enable mainstream banks to participate in mobile money transfers and for telecommunications firms to offer micro deposit and savings accounts; (b) ensuring that mobile distribution networks are open to multiple international RSPs instead of becoming exclusive partnerships between an international money transfer operator (MTO) and country-based mobile money services.

Furthermore, Technological development will benefit financial access, including the adoption of new hardware, the development of software platforms, and the adaptation and integration of existing technologies. In the case of remittances, the key to technological development lies in strengthening payment networks.

Finally, as yet, relatively little is known about remittances to Central African Sub-region. The key to both informed policy decisions and private-sector interest is the availability of timely, accurate information.

As more information becomes available on a regular basis, governments, the private sector and the donor community are each better able to play their roles in maximizing the impact of remittances.

Conclusively, good governance and sound economic policy initiatives are also essential if the potential of remittances are to be enhanced in the Central African sub region.

Asanji Burnley is a diplomat by training from the International Relations Institute of Cameroon (IRIC). He is President and co-founder of the Cameroon based Central African Centre for Libertarian Thought and Action (CACLiTA).

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Posted by on June 19, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Liberalisation: Key to catalysing the air transport sector in the Central African sub region by Sirri Caroline Nfornah, 18 June 2015

The air transport industry consists of activities that directly involve transporting people and goods by air, which includes airlines, airports and general aviation. It has a vital role to play in achieving sustainable development in the Central African sub region. The expansion of air services is a necessary condition for the development of a more diversified export base across the continent and for the expansion of tourism to the sub region. Improvements in the air transport industry would help to raise living standards and alleviate poverty by lowering transport costs, supporting more rapid economic growth and increasing personal mobility.

According to the African Union, ‘Aviation in general provides the only rapid worldwide transportation network, which makes it essential for global business and tourism – thus facilitating economic growth, particularly in developing countries.’ Liberalisation leads to increased air services, which in turn, facilitates growth in the sectors of the economy by supporting increased trade, attracting new businesses to the region, encouraging investment and enhancing productivity.

Liberalisation also offers efficient, competitive carriers an opportunity to enhance profitability by expanding into new markets, accessing a wider pool of investment and through consolidation.

There’ve been numerous initiatives and good efforts by governments of the Central African sub region to benefit from the opportunities of the aviation industry. The African Economic Outlook reports that there’s been an increased government-led infrastructure investment and modernization of Congo’s aviation sector- from the construction of new airports and the modernization of existing ones, as well as the expansion of the country’s national carrier’s footprint; Equatorial Congo Airlines( ECAir).

The domestic and sub-regional air service industry nonetheless has remained underserved, inefficiently connected, underdeveloped, and uncompetitive. Global bodies such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), African Union (AU) Commission, Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), as well as African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) are worried that until African governments liberalise the air transport sector, the much-desired development would continue to be wishful thinking.

Their worries are not baseless because the absence of an air transport policy that would define how the industry would be positioned is not in place. There has to be policy that would assist the industry to chart the way forward for Africa’s in general and particularly Central Africa’s economic development.

The Central African aviation industry has been facing a number of problems over the past decades including; poor management, government involvement, financial constraints, monopoly and increased safety and security measures amongst others. The aim of this write up is to show how the Central African sub region, like the rest of the aviation industry elsewhere is facing challenges as well. The way forward gives various proposals as to how states in the Central African sub region can reap the benefits of opening up their skies and improving the aviation industry which is critical to the African Union (AU)’s Agenda 2063.

So what is behind all these casualties, and how can the countries in this sub region maximise the potentials enshrined in the air transport sector? In other words, the above facts suggest the need to examine the operating environment to identify factors which are stifling efficient aviation in the Central Africa sub region.

The numerous initiatives and good efforts to benefit from the opportunities of the aviation industry in the Central African sub region have either been too little and/or too slow.  Many reasons can account for the above assertion: inadequate infrastructure and man power, political intervention as well as governments’ control and monopoly over the industry.

A report on the implementation of the air transport policy by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) reports that more than any reason, the declarations of intent that Central African states have made regarding cooperation and integration have not been effectively carried out because of their lack of initiative, trust and the financial difficulties most of them are going through. While the studies which have been undertaken could have led to positive results, the cultural and political commitments have not been forthcoming.

It seems the abandonment of the Air CEMAC project by CEMAC Heads of State (Cameroon, Chad, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo) during the 12th Session of Heads of State in Libreville-Gabon has fallen foul of this interference. It should be noted that the community had planned for Air CEMAC to improve connectivity between the neighbouring countries in a region long starved of reliable air services. There were also plans for international routes to major cities such as Johannesburg, Dubai, Frankfurt and London.

These states have not been able to take several initiatives to enter into alliances that would have helped them to achieve the objectives of liberalisation. Because people are afraid of themselves, they refuse to integrate fully and completely.

Another challenge is also attributed to the economic and political situation of Central African countries. Since the early 1990s, these states have been experiencing political, economic and social turmoil. Their governments have not had the time they need to concentrate on developing the air transport sector, more specifically, airline cooperation and integration. They are still distrustful of each other and hesitate to commit themselves to cooperation and integration arrangements.

The 1999 Yamoussoukro Decision was signed by 44 African countries in 1999 as a key enabler for air liberalisation. The air transport sector in the Central African region is hampered by the fact that the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Declaration regionally has now become a political decision, because the airline industries ownership within the Central African sub region are mostly state-owned. It appears that fair play is not always observed, particularly with regard to operational approaches, whereby some airlines have tended to unfairly eliminate other airlines in order to monopolize the market.

The potential dominance and monopoly of some national carriers is a concern for certain governments. Throughout the sub region, a number of countries continue to restrict market access under the pretext that their national airline is not ready to compete in a liberalized market. They view airports as potentially monopolistic enterprises to be regulated and controlled.

Camair-Co is Cameroon’s new national carrier, succeeding Cameroon Airlines which collapsed in 2008 after an unsuccessful privatisation process. The carrier has a monopoly on its domestic routes where it had grown capacity in the past years, including a more than 57% increase on the largest route between the country’s biggest city Douala and the capital Yaoundé. Camair-Co continues to hold a monopoly, but profitability remains elusive.

Speaking at the Aviation Africa Conference in Dubai earlier last month, the chairman of Rwandair and former Ethiopian Airlines CEO Girma Wake said that while the ideas of consolidation always made great sense they fall down on political intervention and individual national protectionism and interests.

The problem is exacerbated by the European Union’s ban on several airlines for safety reasons. A lack of confidence in safety oversight has resulted in some airlines with good safety records being put on the list. Not surprisingly, about 80% of intercontinental traffic to and from Africa is carried by non-African airlines.

Local civil aviation companies in the sub region for instance, are often blacklisted because they do not meet international criteria and this black-listing remains a critical challenge for these countries in achieving international recognition in this regard. For example, the expansion of air traffic in Gabon has been affected by an EU blacklist of several Gabonese carriers, after an audit of the national civil aviation authority conducted in 2007 found insufficient compliance with European safety regulations and standards. As a result, some locally registered airlines are currently unable to land in Europe. The blacklist has prevented partnerships with local operators.

The World Bank’s Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostics (AICD) study provides analysis of infrastructure gaps, including for aviation, where lack of airline competition and the development of regional airport hubs are noted as important constraints. Inadequate airport and other transport-related infrastructure weigh heavily on the sub region. Many airports are incapable of accommodating large aircraft and tend to have very few runways. For instance, air traffic control at the Douala international airport is seriously deficient; tend to be frequently poorly drained and overdue for resurfacing.

These highlight the failure of a number of governments and airport authorities to invest in infrastructures such as air navigation networks to improve safety standards. The poor infrastructure arises from decades of under investment by governments and neglect that has affected development in the air transport infrastructure.

If the aviation sector is to reach its full potential in the Central African sub region, priority should be given to a number of issues.

Firstly, the issues of state-control can be addressed by fully implementing of the 1999 Yamoussoukro Decision which was signed by 44 African countries in 1999 as a key enabler for air liberalisation. Liberalisation is an effective means to fuel the growth of low-cost competition, as well as removing some of the restrictions on air services. Therefore, collective effort from governments of the Central African sub region will be required to push forward the liberalisation agenda by fast pacing unilateral liberalisation, setting up independent regulatory bodies to reduce government involvement.

Governments should also provide other facilitator assistance, such as implementing global standards in safety, security and regulations, reducing high charges, taxes and fees and removing visa requirements for ease of movement across the sub region.

Improvements in the air transport infrastructure have a key role to play as a facilitator of and complement to policies that aim to improve living standards and alleviate poverty. When it comes to rolling out new projects and revamping existing infrastructure for the purpose of fostering economic development, public-private partnerships are key. Infrastructure allows state authorities to be in control of these projects while the management and maintenance is delegated to external, reputable private partners – companies that have the necessary knowledge, expertise and capacity. Private companies from outside can provide world-class expertise that meets international standards especially when one wants to create and maintain a level of confidence.

The Malabo Airport, used by over 600,000 travellers in 2013, has benefited from a public infrastructure investment that has upgraded all airports in the major islands, as well as the Bata International Airport in the continental region. This investment seeks to transform the capital into an air hub for the sub region and for the continent, with the aviation sector forecasted to be worth USD 860 million by 2020.

The Economist (2003) describes the lack of full liberalisation and the restrictions arising from this as one of the biggest dangers facing the global airline industry. Aviation makes a significant contribution to the global economy. In an increasingly competitive global environment, the Central African sub region can no longer remain isolated, but must pursue measures that make its aviation efficient and capable of withstanding the global challenge.

The conclusion is that Central African states need to reap the benefits of the current trend in the aviation industry, which includes building up an extensive global network to realize economies of scale and density and to meet consumer demands.

Mrs. Sirri Caroline Nfornah is the Public Relations Officer for the Central African Centre for Libertarian Thought and Action (CACLiTA), Cameroon. She is equally a trained diplomat at the Ministry of External Relations, Cameroon. She holds a Masters in diplomacy from the International Relations Institute of Cameroon and is currently an Atlas Leadership Academy participant.

Mrs. Sirri Caroline Nfornah is the Public Relations Officer for the Central African Centre for Libertarian Thought and Action (CACLiTA), Cameroon. She is equally a trained diplomat at the Ministry of External Relations, Cameroon. She holds a Masters in diplomacy from the International Relations Institute of Cameroon and is currently an Atlas Leadership Academy participant.

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Posted by on June 18, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Advocating for the envisaged African Free Trade Area, by Chofor Che

In late May 2015, How Africa published an article entitled ‘Africa About to Launch a Free Trade Area Bigger than the EU or NAFTA.’ According to How Africa, this laudable trade area is purported to be greater in population than the European Union (EU). How Africa adds that the big Free Trade Area (FTA) aims at merging Africa’s markets into one common market.  The launching of this project is envisaged to take place during the Tripartite Heads of State and Governments Summit on 10 June 2015 at the Egyptian resort city of Sharm El Sheikh. It is to be named the tripartite free trade area, composing of 26 states. How Africa opines that it will be the largest economic bloc in Africa and the likely pave the way for the creation of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) come 2017. When this project goes operational, it will be the creation of a market of over 600 million people. Having a large FTA is a laudable idea, but are African states ready constitutionally and institutionally for such a large economic bloc? Can African states boast of a peaceful and stable environment to house this large economic bloc?

The US based Brookings Institute opines that 58% of Africa’s economic activity is to be covered by this pact, with over $1 trillion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  If successful, such an endeavor is to furnish the free movement of goods, services, people and capital across Africa.

Several Central African states like Chad, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea are still grappling with issues like the protection of investor’s rights, execution of public contracts, the rule of law and property rights. These are elements very germane for free markets to flourish in Africa. According to the Doing Business Reports for 2014, states in the Central African region like Chad and Cameroon still lag behind with respect to the above mentioned indicators. Statistics from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) show that states like the Central African Republic and South Sudan have poor records with respect to investor’s rights and property rights, reason why certain states may delay the laudable plan of creating the largest economic zone on the continent.

State protectionism remains a problem plaguing free markets in Africa. There are still a lot of trade and tariff barriers hindering the free circulations of goods and services between African states. For instance IMF and World Bank statistics show that states in the Central African region like Chad, Cameroon, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea state harbor rigid trade and tariff barriers within their borders which hinder the free circulation of goods and services. This is indeed a bad omen for the creation of a large FTA in Africa.

States in West and Central Africa are still vulnerable to inflation.  According to the 2014 Doing Business Report, states like Chad and Equatorial Guinea still have a feeble monetary policy and do not guarantee the independence of this monetary policy from political authorities.

Logistical obstacles remain a big issue on the African continent which may retard the realisation of a FTA According to the African Development Bank (ADB), many states like Benin, Mali and The Gambia cannot boast of adequate infrastructure and logistics services. Such deficiencies increase transaction costs and discourage trade.

There is still conflict in South Sudan, some parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.  Recently South Africa witnessed a wave of homophobic attacks. Burundi was recently plunged into turmoil over a presidential term of office broil.  With such squabbles all over the continent, it is hard for a large economic zone to be effectively created.

There is thus need for a change of events. Giving constitutional and legislative importance to property rights, the rule of law and a fluid environment for the execution of contracts in the Central African region would make owners of property to be assured enough to engage in activities of the envisaged large economic zone. Additionally if investor’s rights are protected constitutionally and with sound legislative instruments and local institutions, this will equally make them trust the envisaged large economic zone.

State protectionism needs to be dismantled for free markets to strive in Africa. Trade and tariff barriers need to be lessened to enable the free circulations of goods and services between African states. State intervention in the economy should be restricted by giving more economic freedom to individuals to consume, produce, and exchange.

Redressing the issue of inflation for free trade in Africa is thus important. Hence the need for sound monetary policies and the guarantee of the independence of monetary policies from political authorities is germane.

Several African states have to ensure that there are adequate infrastructure and logistics services in place to make sure the laudable FTA initiative does not fail. States like Mali and Benin need to invest in road infrastructure most especially.

It is vital for the governments to strengthen security and intelligence because this aspect on its own helps to reduce insecurity and insurgency brought about by high level of criminality such as terrorism. Investors will be reluctant to take advantage of a large economic bloc because they do not see how their human and capital resources can be protected. This then acts as a setback in an effective large economic zone for investors.

Chofor Che is an integral part of the Africanliberty’s Voice of Liberty initiative. He is an analyst at and Audace Institut Afrique. He is equally co-founder and chair of the Central African Centre for Libertarian Thought and Action (CACLiTA). This article was originally published at on 8 June 2015.

Chofor Che is an integral part of the Africanliberty’s Voice of Liberty initiative. He is an analyst at and Audace Institut Afrique. He is equally co-founder and chair of the Central African Centre for Libertarian Thought and Action (CACLiTA). This article was originally published at on 8 June 2015.

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Posted by on June 12, 2015 in Uncategorized


The challenges of fostering harmony amongst stock markets in the Central African region, by Asanji Burnley N and Chofor Che

The African securities market has witnessed serious development since the early 1990s, but the central African region has not benefited from this evolution. According to an article dated the 2 of April 2015 byThis Day Live, prior to 1989, there were just eight stock markets in Africa of which three were in North Africa and five in sub-Saharan Africa. Today, there are over 22 stock exchanges in Africa. Alongside the rapid expansion of stock markets on the continent, there has also been a significant growth in market capitalization and the number of listed companies.  At present, over 50 per cent of the 54 countries in the continent have formed securities exchanges.

In an effort to promote regional cooperation, individual African securities exchanges created an African Securities Exchange Association (ASEA) in 1993. The ASEA was incorporated in Kenya in the same year. Recently, there have been calls by interest groups for business combination of West African stock exchanges in other to foster unity and a wider securities market to ensure speedy development of the region in line with the ASEA objectives. Why has the Central African region not followed the example of West Africa? Is it a problem of lack of adequate constitutional and legislative parameters in the region? Is it a problem of lack of political will? Is it lack of personnel and institutions? If so what can be done to change the status quo for harmony and unity in the stock exchange market in the Central African region and in Africa at large?

Issues like the rule of law, property rights, protection of investor’s rights are fundamental to the constitutional and legislative environment governing Africa’s stock markets. According to the Doing Business Reports for 2013 and 2014, states in the Central African region like Chad and Cameroon still lag behind with respect to the above mentioned indicators, reason why this part of the continent lags behind when it comes to fostering unity and a wider securities market to ensure speedy development of the region in line with the ASEA objectives.

Lack of political will remains a canker worm in the African stock market environment. Many politicians, bureaucrats and lobbyists still prefer to make African stock markets weak because of selfish economic gains, especially making sure that their businesses are financed to the detriment of other growing businesses as argued by Sam Mensah and Todd Mos in a past article on African Capital Markets.  These lobbyists also influence the activities of stock markets so that they can control government shares in privitised companies.

Institutions like Central Banks and government ministries of finance called upon to coordinate affairs of the stock exchange markets in Africa remain wanting. These institutions still find difficulties in understanding and participating in the activities of Africa’s stock markets.

Cultural factors also contribute enormously to the Central African regions slow progress in the stock exchange sector.  A lot of preference is still given to hand to mouth consumption.  Consumers and investors remain reticent to invest in stock markets because of the risks involved. Another factor which contributes to the poor stock exchange market environment especially in the Central African region include ignorance on how the system functions and non-familiarization with the financial markets culture.

There is thus need for a change of events. Giving constitutional and legislative importance to property rights in the Central African region would make owners of property to be confident enough to engage in activities of stock markets especially in obtaining financing for their property. Additionally if investor’s rights are protected constitutionally and with sound legislative instruments, this will equally make them trust stock markets and eventually contribute to fostering unity and harmony in stock markets in the Central African region and in Africa.

Bureaucrats, politicians and lobbyists would definitely not stop influencing the activities of stock markets if there is no external push. It is this important for think tanks, journalists, university dons to continue to put pressure on them to allow the stock exchange sector function free from political influence and pressure.

Revamping Institutions like Ministries of Finance and Central banks called upon to coordinate affairs of the stock exchange markets in Africa is very important. Personnel working with financial Institutions in the Central African region need to be schooled about the activities of stock markets especially in Africa.

Respecting Africa’s cultural values is germane, but if such cultural practices impede on the development of the continent then we cannot continue to talk of Africa’s renaissance. States like Gabon and Equatorial Guinea most understand that collaboration with other states like Cameroon and Chad is necessary for unity and growth in the stock exchange sector regardless of whatever cultural differences.

This article is originally published in French at as ‘A quand l’intégration financière en Afrique centrale?’

Asanji Burnley is a diplomat by training from the International Relations Institute of Cameroon (IRIC). He is President and co-founder of the Cameroon based Central African Centre for Libertarian Thought and Action (CACLiTA), a partner of the Atlas Network.

Chofor Che is an analyst with Libre, Audace Institute Afrique and He is also co-founder and current Chair of Research at the Cameroon based Central African Centre for Libertarian Thought and Action (CACLiTA). He blogs at


Posted by on April 30, 2015 in Uncategorized


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