Chapter

Is it Possible to Reform a Customs Administration? The Role of the Customs Elite on the Reform Process in Cameroon

Thomas Cantens

in The Role of Elites in Economic Development

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199659036
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191749032 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199659036.003.0012

Series: WIDER Studies in Development Economics

Is it Possible to Reform a Customs Administration? The Role of the Customs Elite on the Reform Process in Cameroon

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An ethnographic approach is applied to Cameroon customs to explore the role and capacity of bureaucratic elites to reform. Fighting against corruption has led to the extraction and circulation of legal ‘collective money’ that fuels internal funds. This collective money is the core of the senior officers’ power and authority. Nevertheless, when reforming, senior officers face major problems. Reformers depend on an unpredictable appointment process, driven by the political will to fight against corruption and the fact that the political authority has to keep a close eye on the customs apparatus that tends towards autonomy, thanks to its internal funds. Violence and collective representations weaken the legitimacy of the senior officers, even the reformers, by pushing individual skills into the background. This chapter questions whether Cameroon’s use of customs data to evaluate individual performance can open up fissures among customs elites such that reformers are distinguished from others.

Keywords: customs; money circulation; bureaucratic elites; Cameroon

Chapter.  11687 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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