Cameroon - Politics, government, and taxation

Cameroon was originally colonized by Germany, but was divided between England and France after World War I. Since gaining independence in 1960, Cameroon has had only 2 presidents: Ahmadou Ahidjo, who relinquished power voluntarily in 1982, and Paul Biya, the current president, who was elected to a 7-year term in 1997.

Historically, political stability has proved one of Cameroon's most vital economic assets. The country has watched civil wars and serious unrest erupt in each of its neighbors, while managing to avoid major conflict within its own borders. Cameroon's first president, Ahidjo, ruled the country by sometimes authoritarian methods, but the resulting stability allowed for the growth of a highly diverse economy.

The popularly-elected Cameroonian president presides over the unicameral (1-house) National Assembly, comprising 180 seats. Members are elected by popular vote to a 5-year term of office, but the president has the power to lengthen or shorten the term of a government. Though Cameroon is a stable country with ostensibly democratic institutions, political power remains concentrated in the hands of President Biya and his ruling party. Like the heads of state of many neighboring countries in sub-Saharan Africa, President Biya has developed a democratic facade while maintaining effective control of most governmental institutions. Past elections have been marred by serious fraud, leading most major opposition parties to boycott the most recent elections in 1997. President Biya will be eligible for reelection in 2004.

The ruling Democratic Rally of the Cameroon People (RDPC) has dominated Cameroonian politics and controlled its government since independence. Since 1990, many opposition parties have freely organized themselves to compete in elections, but the opposition remains divided. The most prominent opposition parties include the Social Democratic Front (SDF), led in 2001 by John Fru Ndi; the National Union for Democracy and Progress (UNDP), led in 2001 by Maigari Bello Bouba; and the Cameroonian Democratic Union (UDC), led in 2001 by Adamou Ndam Njoya. All of these parties espouse similar ideologies of free enterprise.

Cameroon is handicapped by the lack of an effective and independent judiciary. Judges are appointed by the president, and courts are subject to the influence of money and politics. In 1999, Groupement Inter-Patronal du Cameroun (GICAM), an organization representing and coordinating Cameroon's largest businesses, established a business arbitration center in order to avoid the inefficiencies and uncertainties of Cameroon's legal system. A regional commercial court is due to be established in N'Djamena in Chad. Lack of an independent court system further deters foreign companies from investing in Cameroon.

The country is gradually reducing the legacy of state involvement in economic affairs that it inherited from France. Beginning in 1997, Cameroon began collaborating with the IMF and the World Bank on a new structural adjustment program. Four previous reform programs ended in failure, but the recent program has been more successful. Reforms have sought to privatize state enterprises and improve management practices in government. The tax code has been simplified and customs rules have been partly reformed in order to bring Cameroon into harmony with regional standards established by the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), the economic and monetary community of Central Africa.These measures have contributed to the recent turnaround in Cameroon's economy.

As part of its structural adjustment reforms, Cameroon is continuing the process of privatizing its state enterprises. Though the pace of this process has been slow, a state insurance company, the national railroad, the mobile telephone company, and all state banks have been privatized, as have several agro-industrial firms, including the state sugar company, a rubber company, and a palm oil company. Plans for the privatization of Cameroon Airlines and the Cameroon Development Corporation are well advanced, and the state electricity, water, and telephone companies should be privatized during the next 2 years. The privatization process has already contributed to recent economic growth by encouraging investment in developments that the state was unwilling to finance.

Cameroon's government generates revenues primarily from oil sales, customs duties , and taxes on businesses. Oil revenues declined from 50 percent of government revenue in the 1980s to 30 percent in the 1990s before returning to 50 percent when oil prices rose in 1999-2000. During the late 1990s, Cameroon began to revise its tax and customs codes to bring them into compliance with CEMAC standards. As part of CEMAC's regional integration plan, all 5 member-countries established a value-added tax and began to harmonize their customs duties.

Also read article about Cameroon from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

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Nov 22, 2010 @ 10:22 pm
why is cameroun privatising every thing which are really important for the economy and the development of he country?
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Apr 15, 2011 @ 5:05 am
the government has to give way to the youths while the elders stand behind make this great nation
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Apr 27, 2011 @ 10:10 am
With the economic crises in cameroon in the 80s,i think privatisation of state enterprises was the best way to curb these unfavour situation we were in .Privatisation encourages foreign investors thus they bring in revenue to invest in cameroon.Efficiency of labour also improve because what they want most is profit.In effect,privatisation of state enterprises has contributed to the economic growth of cameroon.
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Aug 13, 2011 @ 5:05 am
When considering an economy to be either planed, free or mixed economies, i douht which of them Cameroon can be placed. This is because the state can,t give space to heavy investors to invest and manage the economy as a free system,or collaboratly operate with them as a mixed system but she considers herself the sole overrole determinant without fulfilling even a quater of her duties in the country tobe considered a planned economy. Also, people talks of privatisation leading to growth, i douht weather they now the difference between growth and development. For i belives that growth is expirenced when there is development. We,re day-dreaming for we talk of a better tomorrow but which is not true for i placed Cameroon as a family where all they could have was a non renewable resources but unfortunate for them, their parents invited foreigners in the name of privatisation in order to bost the family standard of living but forgeting that after exhuasting all the resources, and because of the nature of the resources, the family will have almost a zero rate of standard of living. So, i advise the Youths to think twice befor the Nov. 2011 Election.
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Oct 11, 2012 @ 2:02 am
It is authenticated and draws fairness but at the same time lacks complete information on the Country as a whole. Privatisation was employed to generate employment and economic growth, a fact embraced by the Party in power,the leadership, its peop[e, and it has worked.

Looking at the two periods of leadership, the first under President Ahidjo was characterized by a people of average intellectual stand that created little or no firm challenges but unified towards nation building and economic development. The population was minimal and there was all for all to celebrate/enjoy. There was only One Party that worked for the common good of all and only two States that were determined to expand intellectually. With this geometric expansion came the need for elites and functional classess emerging from acquired knowledge, trained to observe and act that led to the 2nd period in the history of the nation under the next leader, President Paul Biya.

The challenges of this period are many and stronger to face due to the changes in academic, political, economic and social understanding built - too much book people. Living in this civilized world with a growing population without a refined economic agenda and social order preservation, expectations are high or have become too high and sufficient accommodation short to bear. Good knowledge of the Laws of the nation and interpretation have been searchable and employed with clear understanding

Despite all of these rapid changes, the leadership under President Paul Biya has worked hard to meet the needs of the people and to accommdate challenges through a unified goverment led by CPDM. We all have worked hard to get out of the state of dependency into a self reliance comptence. The advent of multiparties has been a good resource for political understanding of the masses giving the people the rights to choose leaders. This Act of Democracy in Cameroon has not been embraced fully to meet the true love for the nation but I must aplaud the leadership for such meaningful rule which has kept the saved and secured from politcal and economic dissasters. If our elected leaders are respected and given the opportunities to manage the affairs of this nation, peace and prosperity will be our portion So work together to be successful and to be where we want to be. From two States to ten Regions signifies lots of sacrifies and a compelling interest for the nation. The one good thing addressed by the leadership is corruption which many have taken as a way of life injected by our clonial masters. I am thankful for it is like a Son illegally taking from his Dady but not building a home with.
Tante Melki
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Apr 7, 2013 @ 12:12 pm
the main questions of the day is that why is Cameroon privatizing its public corporation and what will be come of such policies and how is the money used from the privatization of such companies
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Jun 6, 2013 @ 12:00 am
Cameroon government privatizing all Cameroons important minerals and doing trade by bather in the name of economic transformation is all detrimental because when we run short of minerals why?, because all the good minerals is exported and we are left to consume third class products is a draw back. while we have highly intellectual citizens young citizens who ,if given the opportunity can manage this wealth that she has in other that foreign countries will need to also buy her finished product and in turn she can buy any other product that the country needs.looking at the negative impact of privatization for the country you would see that youths are forced to live the country just in search for some thing of their own and being treated like nothing abroad while back home everything is being privatized. and the money gotten from the privatization of countries products never and has never been used for its right purpose .so privatization to me is doing more harm than good to the country.those minerals is what we have we should turn them in to finished product by opening industries and employing citizens of the country who are qualified to manage those enterprises so that our wealth can stay with us.And with that we can import any thing that the country is in need of,then the country can grow because of job availability .

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