(Business in Cameroon) - On April 20, the Bank of Central African States (Beac) issued a pre-qualification notice for the selection of a technical and strategic partner to establish a regional Credit Information Bureau (CIB) in the CEMAC. According to the Central Bank, the CBI is a credit, consumer, and business information reporting service. The notice states that applications should be sent before May 20, 2021.
"The pre-qualification process will lead to the selection of the appropriate investor that will work with the BEAC, the COBAC, financial system actors (credit, microfinance, and payment institutions), major billers (fixed and mobile telephone operators, water and electricity utilities, etc.) and other relevant actors to establish, hold, manage and operate a BIC tailored to the needs of credit information providers and users in the CEMAC region," the BEAC informs.
According to the central bank's data, currently, in the CEMAC region, the main sources of lenders’ credit information are the BEAC's central banking risk database (set up in the early 1990s and periodically updated by credit institutions) and microfinance institutions' risk database developed by Cameroon's National Council of Credit, which can only be accessed by Cameroon-based financial institutions.
In addition to these risk centers that provide credit information, there are several platforms (already developed or under development), which provide financial information. Those platforms include the CEMAC Central Balance Sheet Office launched in 2018. The office provides the financial data of non-financial companies. There is also the Central Payment Incidents (under development) that will provide information on incidents recorded on payment instruments circulating in the CEMAC region.
The BEAC explains that although those platforms contain "useful information for credit risk assessment (...) They don’t offer advanced credit reporting services to the credit sector. There is, therefore, a compelling business need for a modern and reliable credit information bureau to improve the quality of credit decision making, expand financial inclusion and the borrower client base, improve credit risk performance, and reduce loan losses."
At end-2020, there were 60 credit institutions (including 51 banks and nine financial institutions) and about 864 microfinance institutions in the CEMAC financial landscape.