(Business in Cameroon) - Amid currency shortages within the CEMAC, the region’s central bank (BEAC) recently published data that partially explains the problem.
According to the BEAC, between 2000 and 2018, CEMAC countries allowed resident economic operators to open numerous foreign currency accounts without prior authorization from the BEAC. At end February 2019, the number of such accounts was estimated at 2,188.
A detailed analysis of the data reveals that Cameroon allowed the opening of 244 foreign currency accounts containing a record amount of XAF53.6 billion. Central African Republic approved 31 accounts containing XAF146 billion while Congo holds 202 accounts for XAF27.23 billion. Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Chad respectively allowed the opening of 239 (XAF9.9 billion), 59 (XAF439 million) and 1,413 (XAF886 million) accounts.
To ensure flexibility, the BEAC issued a foreign exchange regulation allowing a transitory period of six months (starting from March 1, 2019) to regularize the said accounts’ status. As of end May 2019, 37 applications were submitted to the central bank including 21 applications to regularize accounts’ status and 16 account opening applications.
The BEAC finally indicates that more than 95% of the operations that require a foreign currency account are handled by CEMAC’s financial system.