(Business in Cameroon) - CEMAC countries’ 2022 economic growth could become stronger than the 1.9% recorded in 2021 after the 1.7% recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Indeed, on December 20, 2021, the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) - the regional central bank - held its fourth regular meeting for the 2021 financial year via videoconference to assess the regional economic situation.
The committee forecasted a 3.7% growth for 2022, representing a 1.7% year-over-year growth. For the committee, this improvement will notably be spurred by an upturn in non-oil activities. The upturn will continue till 2024 amid the expected decline in global uncertainties thanks to the Covid-19 combating efforts combined with the results of reforms initiated in the framework of the Pref-Cemac (an economic and financial reform program) and the second-generation programs with the IMF.
The expected growth will come with rising inflation, the monetary policy committee also forecasts. It projects a 2.2% inflation rate for 2022. Although that rate is below the 3% threshold admitted in the regional convergence criteria, it is higher than the 1.7% recorded in 2021 and slightly closer to the 2.6% recorded in 2020.
According to the BEAC, that inflation will mainly be “imported” as the result of rising prices in international markets.
At the same time, the central bank expects a slight increase in the import coverage ratio to 3.9 months against 3.82 and 3.72 respectively in 2020 and 2021. The projected improvement could be due to the planned applicability of the foreign exchange regulation for extractive industries (the regulation has been applicable for other industries since 2019) in the CEMAC region. That regulation requires economic operators to repatriate the proceeds from their exports outside the CEMAC region.
Brice R. Mbodiam