Abstract

The creation of the CEMAC customs union in 1994, was a major step in the regional integration process in central Africa. The reform was part of a wider initiative to boost regional integration and policy effectiveness in conjunction with the devaluation of the common exchange rate relative to the French franc. CEMAC replaced the UDEAC (Union Douanière des Etats d’Afrique Centrale), which was created in 1964 but had remained largely ineffective. The 1994 reforms introduced (1) a common external tariff (CET), (2) the gradual removal of tariffs on intraregional trade (completed in 1998), (3) the harmonization of indirect taxation (with the introduction of a value-added tax (VAT) in 1999), and (4) the replacement of quantitative import barriers by temporary import surcharges (to be phased out by 2000—see below).