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Conflicts and corruption in Cameroon drain the economy

Deutsche Welle | Cameroon is finding it difficult to meet its financial commitments as the battle against armed separatists and corruption depletes the country’s resources.

In addition to corruption and the battle against separatists fighting to create an English-speaking state, there is also the war against Boko Haram on Cameroon’s northern border with Nigeria and the spillover of the crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR). All of these combined are draining the state of its resources.

Employees of a company constructing the Paul Biya Stadium in Olembe, on the outskirts of Yaounde, protested against difficult working conditions and non-payment of their salaries. Their spokesperson Dieudonne Nguidjol demanded that they be given a normal contract.

“We are supposed to work from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. [and] 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. is supposed to be extra time. Our salaries are not good,” said Nguidjol. He added that people who come to work as engineers earn a salary of about 80,000 CFA francs (about €120, $138), which is not in line with Cameroon’s labor code.

“We have salaries of four, five and six months that have not been paid; this is the immediate cause of this strike,” Nguidjol said.

Cameroon’s Minister of Finance Louis-Paul Motaze said the stadium is just one project that has been affected by the conflicts affecting the country. He said the treasury is stretched with requests for funds for development projects and money to fund the conflicts.

“The people want roads. They want security. They want energy. They want agricultural products. We have to realize them with revenues. That means that we have to look for internal revenues. Those internal revenues are taxes. But we have to consider the expenses,” Motaze said.

Financial scandal

The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) project was one of the largest projects recently rocked by a financial scandal in Cameroon. The country was stripped of its hosting right in favor of Egypt due to massive delays in the preparations.

Whistleblowers claim that an estimated 1.8 billion euros of Cameroonian public money has been swallowed in contracts shrouded in controversy. A video of a Cameroonian official allegedly defending why a bag of cement costs 15,000 CFA francs  for the AFCON project, instead of the normal 4,500 CFA francs, went viral on social media.

Whistleblowers claim that an estimated 1.8 billion euros of Cameroonian public money has been swallowed in contracts shrouded in controversy. A video of a Cameroonian official allegedly defending why a bag of cement costs 15,000 CFA francs  for the AFCON project, instead of the normal 4,500 CFA francs, went viral on social media.

Ako John Ako, a university lecturer and civil society activist in Cameroon, said that the prices of the 2019 AFCON infrastructure were ten times more than is usual for the same kind of infrastructure in other African nations.

“Findings indicated that public contracts suffered one of the highest hits,” Ako said. “Within Cameroon, those who implement decisions or grant the order for contracts always have a percentage reserved in their name.”

Corruption kills infrastructure

Government ministers, heads of parapublic and public as well as giant private enterprises are increasingly being brought down as Cameroon’s anti-corruption organ intensifies its efforts.

According to the National Anti-Corruption Commission’s (CONAC) most recent report, the country saw 375 billion CFA francs  returned to its coffers.

Despite these efforts, civil society actors like Ako think that CONAC, other anti-corruption agencies and poor governance remain key factors in holding back Cameroon’s development.

“CONAC and many other agencies that have been created by the state simply come to confirm that Cameroon will solve problems with commissions, but then more often than not most of the commissions created are still a problem and center for corruption within Cameroon,” he told DW.

Ako went on to say that the Cameroonian government could say that the fight against corruption has been succeeding, because Cameroon does not appear among the first five most corrupt nations in the world.

“But corruption still continues to be the venom that is eating and killing the infrastructure and implementation or execution of state activities,” he said.

Threat of famine

The situation in the English-speaking regions, where suspected separatists have been carrying out attacks and kidnappings, is dire. Dominic Asah, one of the supervisors of government development projects, said that up to 20 percent of planned projects could not be implemented due to insecurity and shortage of liquidity.

“The socio-political climate in the field is actually what is hampering the execution process in these localities. The northwest region received a total of 490 operations. Only 52 have been executed, 69 are ongoing and 311 are still to take off the ground,” Asah said.

At least 10,000 workers have quit their jobs in rubber plantations in the English-speaking town of Buea. According to director general Frankline Njie, they require at least 54 million dollars.

“None of our rubber estates is operating normally. Some are shut down completely, the workers are threatened,” Njie lamented.

He said it was difficult for him to understand and accept why all this pain was being inflicted. “The banana sector has been hit. One of our pack houses, where bananas are processed for export was attacked and set ablaze.”

President Paul Biya has openly called on all fighters to drop their guns  and has created a national disarmament commission to socially reintegrate fighters who surrender.

Mimi Mefo contributed to this article.

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19 comments

  1. Besides CDC and the famine, the amount China just cancelled, ought to be enough
    even to support Mr. Biya`s war.
    When writing next time, let the press remember that readers are not fools. Well,
    the cpdm gov`t, can still go to the banks. History, has told us that Cameroon, is a
    good customer.

    • I quit reading when I noticed BS; “…the battle against armed separatists and corruption depletes the country’s resources.”

  2. what the author of this article did not mention,and it is normal because it is written by an aryan is that,germany is the foundation coner stone of corruption at a global level.any country that is part of the imf,has no moral to talk about corruption knowing that the imf is an instrument of corruption.it is still used by the aryan world to creat and sustain corruption as explained by john perkins in confession of an economic hitman.what does the author of the article think about the alarming public dept of germany even with a shrinking population?is it also the result of corruption in africa?
    what is unfortunate is that many africans in the diaspora retake articles like this,as if it is absolute truth.looking one understand our leaders have no leverage.

  3. let me also say that when the same aryans were bombing the presidential palace in abijan to capture,hold and tuture BAGBO for refusing to bow.on this same forum people like ZAM ZAM and JOHN DINGA were saying he lost elections and should leave power to watara.few years later,their position has completely changed.all of them where saying that ,i am mad because i said it has nothing to do with elections.has watara industrialised ivory coast?lets try to understand the game we have been playing with the aryan world for five hundred years.they hope we give them another five hundred years to live without working.but this time it is impossible.

    • @bah, here you come again, with the bomb shell to Africans, your critics and
      the wise Cameroonians, whose thinkings and actions have made the black man
      a laughing stock.

  4. The lazy diaper wearing dictator can borrow at will. We will bring down LRC economy

  5. “We will bring down LRC economy”

    Cutting your nose to spite your face.

    You do realise there are so called anglophones who also rely on that economy.

    • The superiority of the `so called francophone`, is what will finally,
      destroy what is called CAMEROON. This, is the error, of being foolish.

      • The National Interest(TNI)

        How about the stupidity of those calling themselves anglofools in which way are they helping cameroon ?

        • why should they help us LRC, we Camerounese are like monkies and ostrich that dont see, reason. How do we allow France and one lazy man to drain everything in the country? The anglofools are reasonable than us

  6. SEPARATIST aka SECESSIONIST

    “CONAC and many other agencies that have been created by the state simply come to confirm that Cameroon will solve problems with commissions,….”

    COULDN’T HAVE SAID IT BETTER !!!

    Case study 1: the so-called Commission on bilingualism

    It was created by Dictator Biya as the solution to the Anglophone Question.
    However, the same Dictator Biya rubbished the Commission on bilingualism by addressing his so-called BILINGUAL country people EXCLUSIVELY in French

    Case study2: the so-called Commission on disarmament

    Dictator Biya declared his sh*thole war on Southern Cameroonians without an EXIT STRATEGY. He thought it would be a BLITZKRIEG. Unfortunately for him, the war is OPEN-ENDED and UNWINNABLE. Realising that his LRC is almost bankrupt to fight an open-ended war, ……

    • SEPARATIST aka SECESSIONIST

      …..the evil Dictator created his so-called commission on disarmament. Unfortunately for the Bulu warmonger, his commission was dismissed by Amba boys as putting the cart before the horse. It is common knowledge that disarmament commissions are created AFTER cessation of hostilities and not DURING wartime. The truth of the matter is that this commission is a joke in bad taste a sheer waste of scarce resources. FAKE Amba boys created by ex-convict Atanga Nji have “disarmed” in order to deceive the international community. GENUINE Amba boys will NEVER EVER, I repeat NEVER EVER disarm until the Anglophone Question is TOTALLY, COMPLETELY, IRREVERSIBLYand UNCONDITIONALLY resolved.

      Simply put, Dictator Biya’S SH*THOLE UNWINNABLE war will resolve the Anglophone Question come rain come shine

    • SEPARATIST aka SECESSIONIST

      In sum,

      citizens of LRC are already commission-weary. This is so because commissions have become nothing but a cynical instrument for public lulling, scapegoating and buck-passing. Commissions in LRC are a waste of precious time and precious taxpayers money. Nothing more, nothing less.

      The greatest paradox that defies all human logic is that Dictator Biya always creates his commissions whenever commissions are not required.

      However, he refuses to create commissions whenever commissions are required:

      Case study: ZERO AFCON19

      LRC was stripped of the right to host AFCON19. The country became the laughing stock of the whole world. LRC media outlets gave identified Ngoh, Yand and Bidoung (the so-called AXE DU MAL ) as the people directly responsible for the international disgrace.

    • SEPARATIST aka SECESSIONIST

      The media outlets have been begging for a commission to investigate ZERO AFCON19.

      However, Dictator Biya has said NYET to the calls for a commission. To add insults to injuries, he even instructed the KANGAROO legislative arm of government NEVER to discuss the matter. Administrators were also instructed NEVER to allow any demonstrations on ZERO AFCON19. The Dictator even promoted a member of the AXIS OF EVIL to Minister of state secretary General at the presidency. The other member of the AXIS OF EVIL was given a new ministry. The only member of the Axis of evil to be punished was the second class citizen called Yang. He is now a refugee in LRC because he is Persona Non-Grata in his own country, SC. His BIR bodyguards have been taken away. Without them, he cannot visit his village

    • SEPARATIST aka SECESSIONIST

      **** BREAKING NEWS ****

      “Chantal Biya accusée d’avoir fait nommer des ministres dans le dernier gouvernement”

      « la première dame joue de son influence pour faire nommer les collaborateurs et ministres de son mari ». Le journal vendu par abonnement fait savoir que la promotion du secrétaire général de la présidence de la République au rang de ministre d’Etat en dépit des critiques qui l’ont visé dans dossier de la Coupe d’Afrique des nations mal préparée est l’oeuvre de la première dame camerounaise. « Ce dernier reste sous la haute protection de Chantal Biya, originaire comme lui, de Nanga-Eboko, commune de la Haute-Sanaga », appuie notre confrère. Qui cite également le cas de Bidoung Mkpatt, l’ancien ministre des sports et de l’éducation physique.”

  7. The satanic republic of Cameroun (LRC) breeds failure in all forms. What will save LRC is for the diaper man to stop the unwinnable war declared. This shortsighted dictator is vision-less as well as most camerounese who think their almighty soldiers will solve a problem. “Nothing good ever comes from Yaounde” I read Meka and other supreme leaders still making declarations, these ostrich lrc leaders never learn. The follow the diaper man to their grave. The economy is dead
    Did Ekama and Atangana Nji hear that LRC has plagiarized silicon mountain and has christened it silicon river in Yaounde? LRC is not creative. CFA and reserves in French treasury! wow LRC

  8. The only time the average Cameroonian hears of state bankruptcy is when there is not enough to go round to satisfy the rogues pilfering state revenues because they are privileged to have access to public funds.
    They are not there to serve, but steal. The poorer the country becomes,the sooner the better because the looters can’t stand poverty, so they will scamper to Europe to spend what they have hidden in Swiss banks This might just be a blessing in disguise. Keep praying.

  9. @BahAcho,
    can you please direct me to sites where l can read what you just mentioned about Germany´s public debts? The last time l checked, German´s public debts stands at 62% of their GDP and their public debts have been on a fall for the 6th year now. I find it funny when you say the public debt of Germany, just because you are trying to defend the corruption at home that is master-minded by Biya and CPDM. No doubt the public debt of Germany might be high, but its remains the second lowest of all these G7-Nations with Canada having the lowest. Taking that the economy of Germany is very strong, their public debts is not alarming as you made t sound. Germany has low unemployment

    Ghttps://www.statista.com/statistics/427201/national-debt-of-germany-in-relation-to-gross-domestic-product-gdp/