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Central African states target higher 2010 growth

By on November 9, 2009

The six-nation Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) could see growth of up to four percent in 2010, up from the modest 2.4 percent expected this year, the regional central bank said late on Friday.

While Central Africa’s largely oil-producing economies are still far from having overcome the global slow-down which has exacerbated poverty across the zone, the comments suggest evidence of a tentative recovery.

“If current economic trends continue, both at global and sub-regional levels, and huge investments we are witnessing in the petroleum sector pay off, we are confident the CEMAC growth rate will be much higher in 2010 and reach 3-4 percent,” BEAC vice-governor Rigobert Roger Andely told reporters.

Andely said the BEAC (Bank of Central African States) was for now keeping its interest rate on hold at 4.25 percent to “protect clients during these difficult economic times, promote domestic consumption and foster growth”.

The CEMAC consists of Cameroon, Gabon, Congo Republic, Chad, Central African Republic and Equatorial Guinea.

The local head of oil major Total (TOTF.PA: Quote) said this week Congo’s total oil production should reach 310,000 barrels per day by the end of the year, up from a current 250,000 barrels, after the group expanded activities there.

Equatorial Guinea, sub-Saharan Africa’s third largest oil producer with output at around 500,000 barrels a day, is also looking to boost ties with energy-hungry countries such as the United States and South Africa.

Critics have long pointed out that few energy-producing African countries have so far managed to use their oil wealth to relieve the widespread poverty of their citizens.

Reuters.

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