According to experts from the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), intra-regional trade remains an under-exploited potential. In this part of the continent, which counts no less than 160 million inhabitants, spread over 6.6 million km2, commercial transactions between states represent 1.5 billion dollars, or 2% of total trade in the region.
According to the report on Trade Challenges and Prospects in Central Africa, “the Central African region should constitute an important market for Member States whose economies are increasingly being adversely affected by exogenous shocks Development objectives “.
According to the report, “intra-Community trade is not only marginal but also not very diversified”. Looking closely at the situation, it is clear that two countries have a Community dimension in their commercial transactions with other states: Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.
For the former, whose economy is more diversified, the rate of intra-Community trade is 30%; While for the latter, its exports are based only on hydrocarbons and only capped at 10%.
“On the other hand, between the Congo, Gabon and Angola there is an important traffic around maritime transport equipment and oil platforms which are not always equated with real trade. This explains why these countries carry out the most important imports: 25% for the Congo, 25% for Angola, “the report notes.
For ECCAS, “the exportable supply of the subregion is still dominated by cash crops. Manufactured goods which are the subject of regional trade are still very uncompetitive. In this context, stresses the report, there are very few complementarities in terms of supply that can generate a significant flow of trade “.
Beyond the weakness of the exportable base, ECCAS faces the challenges of opacity and irregular access to trade information, the non-application of Community provisions, significant additional costs for commercial transactions, Low productivity of businesses in the region.