Lucas Abaga Nchama, Governor, Bank of Central African States (BEAC), on access to finance and regulatory reform

Lucas Abaga Nchama, Governor, Bank of Central African States (BEAC)


In June 2013 we held debates concerning two central themes: firstly, access to finance, and secondly, institutional, regulatory and structural reforms. As a result, we have drawn and suggested many conclusions and recommendations to the main economic and financial players of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States (Communaute Economique et Monetaire de l'Afrique Centrale, CEMAC) zone.

CEMAC member states have a crucial role to play in strengthening the economic governance of public and private affairs, and in improving the business environment of our region. Additionally, we must ensure that the regulatory and legal frameworks related to financial institutions’ activities, public finance management and administrative functioning are consistent with international standards and best practices.

The substantial increase in the Central African Development Bank’s capital (as well as that of primary banks), plus the repatriation of sovereign wealth funds, are trends that need to be explored so as to provide long-term financing for development projects. These could also represent a sustainable way to finance added-value activities generated by small and medium-size enterprises and the agriculture sector.

To boost the financial sector, states were encouraged to diversify the maturity and frequency of their bond issuances to promote the progressive construction of a yield curve; thus, Central African states are also encouraged to systematically use financial markets in support of their privatisation programmes.

In compliance with monetary and financial stability, the BEAC should ensure proper implementation of the monetary policy and strengthen the banking system for a healthy and appropriate financing of private and public investments. The BEAC was encouraged to reform its monetary policy to make it more efficient, to strengthen the stability of the financial system in the sub-region, to improve the functioning of the inter-banking market, and to develop systems and means for modern and efficient payments. It was encouraged to improve the quality of financial reporting by centralising and publishing more regular information, which includes risk analysis on natural and legal persons to significantly reduce information asymmetry. The BEAC was also encouraged to continue its programmes of rating banks, to facilitate interbank and investor transactions.

As over-liquidity and budget surpluses are structural elements of our economies, the BEAC will soon be identifying ways and means to establish a productive use of budget surpluses to finance investment needs.

Credit institutions in the sub-region were encouraged to engage in the mechanisms and innovative financing instruments that have proven their effectiveness and potential leverage in modern financial markets.

The contribution of other financial players to economic growth is mainly found in the following areas: by sharing the cost of investments, development banks should help finance infrastructure in the fields of transport, energy production and distribution, telecommunications, and drinking water and sanitation. They should also promote the private sector by facilitating access to financial and non-financial services, support industrialisation – especially in the agro-industry and mining sector – and work towards creating a single financial market in the CEMAC zone to avoid duplication of approval procedures. They should also promote a single regulatory body governing trading activities, which would reduce the cost of operations and increase the competitiveness of our financial market.

Some work highlighted the initiatives underway to create a favourable climate for fundraising and development credit. These efforts include providing the credit market with more attractive guarantee schemes, simplifying the formalities for collateral damages and strengthening the support to creditors in case of default.

It is also imperative to improve and strengthen the microfinance sector, and also to raise the minimum capital requirement of credit institutions. Ultimately, streamlining prudential standards/ratios will be key to overcoming the challenges of financing our economies.

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The Report: Gabon 2013

Banking chapter from The Report: Gabon 2013

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