IMF sees Central Africa’s economic growth at 3.4% this year

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Economic growth in the Central African CEMAC zone is expected to reach 3.4% in 2022 and rise gradually to above 3.5% in the medium-term, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Thursday.

The Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) includes Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. Most are oil-producing nations that rely on oil and gas exports for revenue.

“The outlook for 2023 is broadly positive, driven by high oil prices, the lifting of COVID-19 containment measures, and assumed continued prudent management of the oil windfall,” the IMF said in a statement following annual discussions with the member states.

Public debt is expected to decline to close to 40% of GDP by 2026, down from about 53% of GDP in 2022, it said.

Inflation is projected to slow to 3.3% in 2023 and to revert to below 3% from 2024, if monetary policy remains tight, the fund added.

The Bank of Central African States (BEAC) increased its key interest rate twice this year to 4.5%.

“Directors welcomed BEAC’s monetary policy tightening to date and encouraged BEAC to tighten further should it observe evidence of rising inflation, deviations from the targeted reserve path, or fiscal slippages,” the IMF said.