The discussion has begun today in the Chadian capital Ndjamena, in an extraordinary summit of heads of state of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC). Equatorial Guinea and Gabon are the last countries to have endorsed the abolition of visas for nationals of the country. Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), pursuant to the agreement concluded in 2013 on free movement in Central Africa. Any national of the CEMAC countries (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea, and Chad) may to enter without a visa in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon but must hold a biometric passport.
CEMAC leaders discussed issues of financing, integration as well as review measure taken in Equatorial Guinea for the free movements of persons and goods. However, for some observers Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, two oil-producing, relatively prosperous and sparsely populated countries feared a massive and uncontrolled immigration from the poorer countries of the zone.
According to media reports; CEMAC statement said the special summit is being convened by the Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno in his capacity as current chair of the grouping.
Among the issues on the agenda are the handing over of the leadership of the CEMAC Commission from Congo’s Pierre Moussa and to Gabon’s Daniel Ona Ondo, the appointment of new leaders of several institutions of the bloc, funding, strengthening progress for integration, and the thorny affair of scrapping visas for citizens of the region. However, the CEMAC zone must diversify its economy, which is too dependent on raw materials. It must better manage its public resources. This is what the experts hammer. The path to healing is long and will still be painful, on the sidelines of the summit.
Equatorial Guinea hosted the last CEMAC heads of state summit in the beginning of this year. The summit comes after Gabon and Equatorial Guinea recently join the bid to open its borders to all CEMAC nationals.
It should be noted that; before these two countries, the Central African Republic “materialized” on 13 October the agreement of free movement between the countries of CEMAC. It was preceded in early August 2017 by Chad.
The decision to fully implement the free movement of persons and goods in the community space was taken in Djibloho, Equatorial Guinea, by the six members of CEMAC.
Founded in June 2000 in Malabo, CÉACAC brings together countries with very different incomes and is struggling to implement economic and monetary integration mechanisms.
But hidden in this summit is a much more difficult question – one that is often skipped in the design process of the meeting “What do you need to know?” The free movement of persons is understood as one of the CEMAC’s important achievement. but how to apply free movement of goods and persons while open borders are still a threat to security and public safety between the neighboring countries. We need to ensure the transfer-ability of social security first, and perhaps additional security measures at the bloc’s external needed o regain control over the flows of people into the zone.
Source: Idriss Zackaria – Young Diplomats’ Africa Regional Director, reporting from N’Djamena, Chad