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A defining objective of the African Union, is to promote sustainable development at the economic, social and cultural levels as well as the integration of African economies. This noble mandate, enshrined in Article 3, of the Constitutive Acts of the AU, actually predates the AU, and was a principal goal of the Organization of African Unity, OAU, the predecessor body of the AU. Economic integration also provided a fundamentalimpetusin the formation of the variousRegional Economic Communities, RECs, and monetary zones in Africa – viz. ECOWAS, UMOA, CEMAC, CEEAC, EAC, AMU, CEN-SAD, SADC, COMESA, IGAD, etc. Together, these RECs have striven to promote and co-ordinate social, political and economic integration in the continent.Interestingly, some countries are even members of up two or three RECs.This is a testament to the overarching criticality of economic integration in the vision, plans and activities of African states. In this treatise, I will focus on the integration of financial services in Africa, an unheralded field, but where remarkable results are being recorded. A Payment System is a facilitator of monetary transactions, and a veritable integrative node. In the UEMOA zone, in West Africa, the GroupementInterbancaireMonétique de I’UnionEconomique et MonétaireOuestAfricaine, more widely known by its French acronym, GIM-UEMOA, set up by BCEAO, the Central Bank of West African States in 2003, in striving to create a cashless region, has grown to become a regional platform for cards, electronic payments, and clearing of interbank transactions. With over 100 banks, financial and postal institutions as members; cardholders in the GIM network,pay relatively low transaction fees. Also, the Central African equivalent, GIMAC,created in 2013, under the guidance of the Central Bank of Central African States, BEAC, is working with Banks to integrate the electronic payment system in the region, and ensure inter-operability and acceptance of GIMAC cards, for ATMs, POS, etc, by banks and for international payments,and reduce transactionand cash handlingcosts, whilefacilitating e-commerce.
The East African Payment System, EAPS, provides a platform for the real time settlement of cross border payments in the region. Driven by the Central Banks in the region, and piloted in 2013, the payment system took off immediately in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and subsequently, Rwanda. More remarkable is that EAPS is based on direct convertibility, and the use of the currencies of participating countries for transactions and settlement, without the intermediary facilitation of any OECD currency. For instance, transactions initiated in Tanzania shillings can be directly settled in Uganda shillings or Kenya shillings. In Southern Africa, the SADC Integrated Regional Electronic Settlement System (SIRESS),and the Regional Payment and Settlement System, REPSS, launched separately in 2014, are two integrative payment systems worth referencing. Through SIRESS, funds can be wired, real time, to beneficiaries with accounts in SIRESS commercial banks. REPSS, with a clearing house in Zimbabwe,and the Central Bank of Mauritius as its Settlement Bank, utilizes an electronic platform for cross-border payments and settlement. Quite positively, theseinitiatives, operationalized under the auspices of Central Banks, andwith the active participation of commercial Banks are technologically advanced, rapid, and secure. While leveraging on the real-time gross settlement systems of the countries, they seekto enhance efficiency, reduce settlement time, lower transaction costs and generally facilitate intra-African trade, and economic integration in the continent. In tandem, the banking sector, in Africa, has expanded exponentially in the last decade, in assetsize and profitability; geography -distribution channels and network; product sophistication- digital banking, cards, mobile payments;and,financial inclusion. Access to financial servicesalso continues to improve across the continent. Furthermore, leveraging on enhanced capacity,pan-African banks are increasingly able to collaboratively finance large ticket and transformational infrastructural projects through syndications and risk sharing. Currently, the top 20 pan-African Banks have assets over $800b, with over 11,000 branches. Beyond banking, we are also witnesses to the birth and growth of pan-African insurance, micro finance, and other financial service companies across the continent that offer greater diversity and depth of products and solutions. All these have led to the increase in the range, frequency, and diversity in the classes of risks that Banks, and other financial institutions, face. Concomitantly, risk management, regulatory compliance and corporate governancehave become more stringent, and with onerous application, as they remain important variables for assessing the health of Banks, in the drive towards overall sector viability and sustainability. Imperceptibly, but surely, the regulatory environment of the financial services sector, is also being integrated. The Association of African Central Banks, headquartered in Dakar, bringstogether 39 regional and country Central Banks in Africa. In line with its statutes and practices, its Assembly of Governorsusually meets yearlyto deliberate on financial system stability, monetary and payment systemintegration, the African Central Bank initiative, etc.Another critical arm is the Community of African Banking Supervisors (CABS) which works to strengthen banking regulatory and supervisory frameworks.In the last decade, I have observed, first hand, this increased collaboration between African Central Banks,with MOUs being signed, to facilitate cross border banking supervision, exchange of ideas and information sharing between host and home regulators. Also, the College of Supervisors set up by the Central Bank of Nigeria, as a forum that brings together host regulators of Banks, with headquarters in Nigeria, but with operations in other jurisdictions,to strengthen governance practices, and ensure soundness in the banking sector, is also a positive development. An evolving trend in the African banking space, is the initiative to connect Africa, andenablecustomers of a bank to conveniently access their accounts, deposit cash and make cheque withdrawals in any branch, in different countries across Africa, where the bank operates, outside the primary country holding the account. This has the distinct capability to alter the face and operation of banking in the continent as it will open up and facilitate easy movement of goods, services,capital, and people. I also look forward to the day, soon enough, for instance, when a Moroccan manufacturer of fertilizer visiting Zambia to negotiate a contract; agrees payment terms, issues a paymentinstrument right away to a Zambian exporter of high quality packaging materials and gets value immediately, using simple electronic payment instruments. On the whole, these emerging trends contribute significantly to the on-going African-led processes of creating a powerful, vibrant pan-African financial infrastructure, to further undergird and deepen Pan African economic, commercial, business and social interactions through access to personal and business finance across Africa. Together with the various similar initiatives in different spheres by African economic communities identified above, these initiativeswill serve as a powerful signal of the march of African economic advancement through financial facilitation to build a fully integrated financial system that enhances financial inclusion, and serves the people.
Work remains. To accelerate financial integration, existing regional mechanisms and frameworks, including those highlighted above, must now begin to coalesce and fuse into larger pan-African systems, Central Banking, common currency, payments and collections; intra-African trade facilitation; etc. In spite of existing differences, but given the importance and fluidity of finance to agriculture, infrastructure, industryand economic development, the largest economies in each region should serve as regional anchors, within a defined framework of the Assembly of the African Union. Emeke E. Iweriebor is an Executive Director and CEO UBA Africa – Francophone

The June session of Parliament has begun in Yaounde as Members of Parliament and Senators converge to make decisions on the deplorable condition  of the country. Anglophone MPs have once again given a deaf ear for them to walk out from the Parliament which aggrieved Anglophones say does not longer represent their interest.

 By continuing to attend Parliamentary sessions in Yaoundé, most Southern Cameroonians believe the MPs are traitors, people who put their interest first before the population who elected them. They are not only a minority but never has their voices been taken to consideration. Very few MPs especially from the ruling party CPDM have come up to react to the unlawful arrests, intimidation and imprisonment of Anglophone youths.  

Opening the session at the National Assembly Thursday, long term Speaker, Cavaye Yegue Djibril mocked actors who called for boycott of National Day. To him, the calls did not in any drowse the spirit of the celebrations and Cameroonians demonstrated their willingness to live together.  He has given a pass mark to efforts made by ¨President Paul Biya  to resolve the Anglophone problem as well as efforts taken by education authorities to ensure the academic year goes through despite calls for boycott.

Senate President,  Marcel Niat Njifenji  who opened the Senate sessions hours later called on CAMRAIL to speed up the compensation of victims of the Eseka train crash while stressing the need for unity.

A minute of silence was given in honor of the fallen Bishop of Bafia, Jean Marie Benoit Balla whose death has been described as shocking by MPs

SDF MPs have rubbished the opening session saying Government has done nothing to resolve the matter. But that has not pleased majority of disgruntled  Anglophones who want the MPs to walk out from what they say is a rubber stamp Parliament.

The June Session has nothing a stake. MPs will control government action through Questions and Answer sessions. We learnt about 7 bills will be on for scrutiny in the days ahead.

 

Three Boko Haram bombers were killed in Cameroon on Friday morning by their own bombs, local newspaper, L’Oeil du Sahel, reported, two days after another set of killers attacked the same area.The newspaper said the two bombers were killed in Kolofata, a town in Cameroon’s far north region, when the explosive devices they were carrying exploded before their attack. No one else was hurt. A third was killed in Mora at about 3am Friday.

The latest attack came two days after two bombers, a woman and an 8-year old girl blew themselves up in Galbi, an area in Mora, also in Cameroon’s far north. Two civilians were injured.Boko Haram has been wrecking havoc in Cameroon and Nigeria and on Wednesday night, the terrorists killed about 14 people in the northeastern Nigerian town of Maiduguri and injured at least 24 others.

It was the biggest and most severe attack in Maiduguri in 18 months. The Boko Haram insurgency started in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state in 2009 before extending to Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

So far,  over 2000 have been murdered by Boko Haram in Cameroon. Millions of people have been displaced and thousands of women, girls and boys have been abducted.

 

Ayah Ayah , son of detained former Supreme Court Advocate General has been released after spending one night at the Defence State Secretariat SED. He was picked up, Wednesday  after security forces accused him of allegely taking pictures of  the stormy trial of Anglophone leaders at the Yaounde Military Tribunal.

Upon his release, he reacted to the claims circulating " Kindly tell all around you that I am Just back from jail after I was picked up yesterday at the military Tribunal Yaounde alongside my younder cousin, as I came to his defence, just after he took photographs of myself, Honourable Joshua Osih and Barrister Kan, outside the court room, contrary to all the lies and misinformation you have all been fed with this far. That is the truth. I chose not to abandon him to his fate and let him suffer alone. He is my responsibility. Thanks be to God for letting my entire family and especially my mum for bailing me out of this wahala."

About his 24 hour expirience in the dungeon, he says "What an experience it was. I spare you the details for heaven's sake. What I will say is this: There's need to pray for all those under detention especially the 'anglophone' detainees on the account of the 'anglophone' crisis. They must be going through the darkest moments of their entire lives. Just one night for me and....."

Following his father's prompt retirement , Ayah Ayah wonders what his father has done to merit such a disgraceful move from the Biya regime, Hear him "you must have already gotten news that our only Advocate General of the Highest Court of the land was retired yesterday June 07, 2017. What a price he pays? May you all remember him in your prayers and in all you do..."

 

 

The now former Advocate General at the Supreme Court, Ayah Paul Abine has been sent on retirement, the Higher Juridical Council decided Wednesday June 7, 2017.

This is major decision taken at the Unity Palace during the meeting chaired by President Paul Biya. Ayah Paul Abine now imprisoned has reached the age limit but could have been given two additional years as the constitution specifies. He was replaced by Yap Abdou.

As Ayah Paul goes on retirement while in dungeon, his son AYAH AYAH Abine arrested Wednesday in front of the Military Court, he is accused of taking pictures of the court prohibited by law. AYAH AYAH Abine was arrested alongside his brother Etonong Christian and ferried to State Defense Secretariat. A family member confirms the arrest to reporters. 

Ayah Paul has been a strong critic of the regime . As member of the ruling CPDM, he bitter objected to Biya's removal of Presidential term limits, resigning from the party and forming the People Action Party - PAP.

He was abducted from his Yaounde residence  by 6 armed men from SED. They had no arrest warrant.Ayah was not permitted to make any calls nor answer any. They got into Ayah's privacy with no restraint. Even Ayah's wife wasn't permitted to change clothes as the men in question accompanied her even into her privacy.

He graduated from the Cameroon National School of Administration and Magistracy (ENAM) in Yaoundé in 1976.

 

 

Barrister Felix Nkongho Agbor Balla, Fontem Neba, Mancho Bibixy and 26 other Anglophones have regained their respective detention centres in Yaounde after the Military Tribunal rubbished an appeal for release of the leaders of the disbanded Anglophone Civil Society Consortium by Judicial Supervision.

Colonel Abega Eko Eko Mbazoa who is the presiding judge read the ruling as crowds thronged the court to savor what is now an elusive  freedom for the Anglophone leaders.

Today's hearing lasted  less than 20 minutes and the matter was adjourned to the 29 of June 2017. The Defense Counsel that was planning to launch a new appeal for the provisional release of the 26 others previously refused bail  and sympathizers of the detainees have expressed shock at the Judge's ruling.

 The high point of today's court drama was Mancho Bibixy who  arrived at the Military Tribunal, handcuffed and under heavy armed guard. He looked  shaby,  barefooted and pale. He stormed the court room on his buttocks as he had  joint other Anglophones in the indefinite hunger strike. But, he remained defiant saying even death can't stop his enthusiasm for the Southern Cameroon Course.

 We are yet to get the main  reason behind the judge's refusal .But  legal experts were  clear that it was not proper  proposing judicial supervision to only two out of 29 detainees held under similar  charges. Even if that were to happen, the leaders  had  insisted on an unconditional release of all those arrested in connection with the socio - political upheavals in the Anglophone regions.  It is also alleged  in some quarters that the Prosecuting counsel had filed a motion behind closed doors telling the Judge not to consent to the demands for judicial supervision under the pretext that it was difficult to guarantee a hitch free clause for judicial supervision.

 

Attempts by Cameroon Concord to reach some lawyers of the Defense counsel on the way forward proved futile.

 

 

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Headlines On Cameroonian English Tabloids

Modern Villa For Sale in Yaounde Cameroon

Cameroon Concord  is an online publication covering and reporting on  local and world news, sports, entertainment, politics, business, and religious news. Serving Cameroonians .

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