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Cablegate: Chad and Its Francophone Regional Affiliations: Tending To

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL ECON ETRD PGOV SU CD

SUBJECT: CHAD AND ITS FRANCOPHONE REGIONAL AFFILIATIONS: TENDING TO
BUSINESS, AND AIMING FOR ELECTORAL AND GEOPOLITICAL GAINS

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SUMMARY AND COMMENT
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1. (SBU) President Deby took over the annual rotating chairmanship
of the Economic Community of Central African States (often referred
to by its French acronym CEEAC) in October 2009. He will assume
rotating leadership of the Economic and Monetary Community of
Central Africa (CEMAC) in January 2010. Chad will host Summits of
participating states in these two organizations in October 2010 (for
CEEAC) and December 2010 (for CEMAC). Meanwhile, Deby hosted the
first summit of the Organization for the Harmonization of Commercial
Law in Africa (French acronym OHADA) earlier this month.

2. Deby's leadership of CEEAC and CEMAC and his interest in OHADA
during an election year will give him opportunities to display the
GoC's "competence," put his own statesmanship to the fore, raise
Chad's regional profile, and enhance his credibility among
colleagues. Deby's opportunities via these organizations could also
reinforce his position vis-a-vis Sudan in particular, and Arab
League states in a more general way, as none are members of the
francophone central African groups he is now cultivating. The GoC
remembers CEEAC's refusal to condemn Sudan for sponsoring attacks by
Chadian rebels in the 2008-9 timeframe; Deby seeks to reverse the
tendency of his neighbors to the west and south to calibrate
relations with Chad based on relations with Sudan.

END SUMMARY AND COMMENT.

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CHAD'S GOALS FOR CEEAC
----------------------

3. (SBU) The membership of CEEAC, headquartered in Libreville,
includes Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR),
Chad, Congo/Brazzaville, DRC, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda, and
Sao Tome and Principe. Organizational goals consist of developing
joint capacities to maintain peace, security and stability;
encouraging economic integration; encouraging a culture of human
integration; and establishing financing mechanisms for member
states. The organization has also adopted several treaties and
protocols, among them a mutual assistance pact, a protocol on
non-tariff trade barriers and a regional accord to counter
trafficking in persons.

4. (SBU) Deby's stated objectives for his ongoing CEEAC
chairmanship inclue harmonized customs procedures among member
staes; harmonized border controls; reduction in multile taxes
charged to business and other travelers;encouragement of freer
movement of goods and peole; parallel improvements in law
enforcement infrmation-sharing so as not to facilitate impropermovement of goods/people; development of common road infrastructure
and joint policing near borders; development of new economic
investment zones in the CEEAC region; and harmonization of energy,
environmental and health policies among member states. Deby has
traveled extensively in connection with his CEEAC chairmanship, and
seems to be investing considerable effort into building regional
linkages through the organization.

5. (SBU) Deby's chairmanship of CEEAC will coincide with the
organization's May-June 2010 certification of the Central African
stand-by brigade for African Union peacekeeping. A joint military
exercise, Operation Kwanza, is scheduled for May-June 2010 in
Angola. Deby has made public statements expressing commitment to
establishing the brigade and carrying out the planned exercise on
schedule. He is likely to be asked by other member states to
solicit external military assistance for Operation Kwanza.


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CHAD'S GOALS FOR CEMAC
----------------------

6. (SBU) The membership of CEMAC, headquartered in Bangui, consists
of the six Central African nations that share the CFA currency
(communaute financiere africaine): Cameroon, Central African

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Republic, Chad, Congo, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea. The
organization has a central bank (BEAC) located in Yaounde, which has
recently been rocked by a major ($38 million) corruption scandal.
The scandal has resulted in the postponement of the 2009 CEMAC
Summit, set for December in Bangui, to January 2010.

7. (SBU) Deby's plans for the CEMAC chairmanship include
development of anti-corruption standards and agreement on a
mechanism for rotating the BEAC governorship among member states, as
the long-serving Gabonese head has resigned in connection with the
corruption scandal. Deby is also interested in the possibility
during his presidency of inaugurating Air CEMAC, a proposed regional
airline that has been under discussion for several years (and that
has South African interest), and of CEMAC members' reaching a
decision on the location of the airline's eventual headquarters --
N'Djamena and Brazzaville are the only two bidders thus far.

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CHAD'S GOALS FOR OHADA
----------------------

8. (SBU) Deby hosted the first-ever Summit of OHADA, involving
visits by Heads of State/Government from Senegal, Benin, Togo, CAR,
Congo/Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea, Mali and Gabon, on December
20. (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Comoros, DRC, Cote d'Ivoire,
Guinea-Bissau, and Niger also belong to the organization and sent
lower-ranking reps to N'Djamena. The organization has a secretariat
in Yaounde, a training facility for magistrates in Cotonou, and a
court of justice and arbitration in Abidjan.)

9. (SBU) The goal of the OHADA Summit was to urge member states to
take action by January 2010 to adopt a revised supra-national set of
streamlined commercial laws granting legal and judicial guarantees
and ensuring that arbitration becomes the recourse of choice for
settlement of contractual disputes, recovery of debts, bankruptcy
law, receivership, and accounting. (Chad adopted the package of
laws in 2008.) The broad aim of the process is to attract foreign
investment to member states. Chad hosted an OHADA event in 1995
that laid out a common commercial charter for member states. The
new set of commercial laws revises the charter.

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COMMENT
-------

10. (SBU) Deby's leadership of CEEAC and CEMAC and his interest in
OHADA during an election year will give him opportunities to put his
own statesmanship on public display, to raise Chad's regional
profile, and to enhance his credibility among regional colleagues.
Deby's organizational opportunities could also reinforce his
position vis-a-vis Sudan in particular, and Arab League states in a
more general way, as none are members of the francophone central
African organizations he is now cultivating.

11. (SBU) Whether Deby's counterparts will be receptive to his
assertions of interest in regional integration remains to be seen:
CEEAC refused to condemn Sudan during the 2008 Chadian rebel attacks
on N'Djamena, leading to tensions between Chad and neighbors to the
west and south. Deby seeks to reverse the tendency of Central and
West African states to calibrate relations with Chad based on their
own relations with Sudan.

12. (SBU) Deby may come under pressure to merge CEEAC and CEMAC, a
proposal that had currency several years ago. Alternatively, he may
resist pressure in this direction on grounds that holding two
concurrent chairmanships will offer him more optics. Of the two
organizations, Deby has been more active on CEEAC business, in part
because the BEAC scandal has yet to be resolved during the current
CEMAC presidency of CAR and has prevented the organization from
looking ahead. Also, Deby may find that he has to share the
spotlight in CEMAC with Cameroonian President Paul Biya, long active
in the organization through Cameroon's hosting of BEAC. END
COMMENT.

13. (SBU) Embassies Libreville, Yaounde and Bangui have seen and
contributed to this message.

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