IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/unu/wpaper/wp2010-118.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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

Author

Listed:
  • Thomas Cantens

Abstract

An ethnographic approach is applied to Cameroon customs in order to explore the role and the capacity of the bureaucratic elites to reform their institution. 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, and materially grounds their elite status. Nevertheless, when reforming, wilful senior officers face a major problem. On the one hand, the onus is on them to improve governance and transparency, which can challenge the way they exert their authority. On the other hand, goodwill is not sufficient. ‘Reformers’ depend on a violent and 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 paper questions whether Cameroon’s use of official customs data to evaluate individual performance can open up fissures among customs elites such that reformers are distinguished from others.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Cantens, 2010. "Is it Possible to Reform a Customs Administration? The Role of the Customs Elite on the Reform Process in Cameroon," WIDER Working Paper Series 118, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2010-118
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.wider.unu.edu/sites/default/files/wp2010-118.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item

    Keywords

    customs; money circulation; elitism; Cameroon;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2010-118. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mauricio Roa Grisales). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/widerfi.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.