Interview with the Development Bank of Central African States (BDEAC) President, Anicet-Georges Dologuélé
“It will be nice to make the great job being done by the AfDB to re-launch the economy know,” says the Development Bank of Central African States (BDEAC) President, Anicet-Georges Dologuélé.
Question: Five of the six Central African States are oil-producers. What impact has the global financial crisis got on their economies?
Answer: The economic crisis has had an impact on the six member countries of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC). First and foremost because five of the six are oil producers, but five of the six are also wood producers and one produces diamond. As you have noticed, the price of a barrel of crude fell from US$140 to US$50. In these conditions, the forecasts for 2009 had been reviewed downwards. As a result, budget earnings in most of the five oil-producing nations in the region dropped by half. For countries that had wanted to earn more revenue from the initial oil boom in order to carry out infrastructure investments, they are today obliged to put these projects on hold. Some of these oil producers are, at the same time, wood exporters. Wood prices have fallen so these countries have seen their earnings from wood decline substantially. The consequences of such a situation include: a decline in state earnings and a disappearance of many jobs. These countries need budget support in the short term. This applies to the Central African Republic which is not yet an oil-producing nation. The country has been living on its diamond and wood export earnings. These two sectors have been seriously affected. When one thinks that this country had difficulties with normal production, it is easy to figure out what the country is going through now. With a decline in budget earnings, CEMAC countries also need money.
Question: How does the Development Bank of Central African States work with the African Development Bank to help CEMAC countries cope with the crisis?
Answer: We really want to be the link for big institutions such as the AfDB, EIB, and the World Bank in areas such as infrastructure development. These institutions are capable of financing huge infrastructure projects. There are also medium-scale infrastructure projects in which my institution could be very operational. For example, to develop agriculture, which is a good thing during this period of crisis, we need rural roads. Building these roads is expensive. But huge organizations are not designed to monitor such minor projects. With good concessionary lines of credit which enable us to deal directly with governments, we could monitor operations on the ground. We could also engage countries in a constant dialogue in a way that these investments really serve the agricultural sector and that they create jobs and wealth within the country. BDEAC also provides support to the private sector. The more we lend to certain private sector players, the more we create the conditions for good job and wealth creation. By generating new taxes, these activities will also be beneficial to the state. We are finally focusing on certain themes which help to orientate national policies towards certain sectors which could have been marginalized whereas they could be promising sectors.
Question: What are your expectations of the 2009 AfDB Annual Meetings which are focusing on a current issue?
Answer: I would like the Annual Meetings to come up with concrete resolutions and financial solutions to the crisis. I look forward to a clear definition of the role each sub-regional bank will play in financing development. It will be nice to make known the great job being done by the AfDB to re-launch our economies.