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EVALUATION OF GOVERNMENTAL ANTICORRUPTION STRATEGIES IN CAMEROON

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EVALUATION OF GOVERNMENTAL ANTICORRUPTION STRATEGIES IN CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the study

Most developing democracies have been plagued by the phenomenon of corruption which is a major barrier to good governance, especially in Africa. According to Ngomba (2020), corruption is a "complex and multifaceted phenomena with different origins and effects, since it manifests itself in various forms and circumstances. Similarly, Emmanuel (2021) believes that while it is difficult to describe corruption, the crises associated with corruption is not difficult to detect such as  illegal or unethical practices that undermine the integrity, transparency, and effectiveness of government institutions and processes..

Undoubtedly, Cameroon, a country in Central Africa, has grappled with corruption at various levels of government and society for decades. The pervasiveness of corruption in Cameroon has been highlighted by international organizations such as Transparency International, which consistently ranks the country poorly on its Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). Despite the enactment of laws and the establishment of anticorruption agencies, corruption continues to undermine the country's development efforts and negatively impact its citizens. According to Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index for the year 2022, Cameroon was ranked 153rd out of 180 countries, indicating a high level of perceived corruption within the country (Transparency International, 2022). This underscores the urgent need for a comprehensive evaluation of the governmental anticorruption strategies in Cameroon to assess their efficacy and identify areas for improvement.

According to Fombad (2020), high levels and vast scales of corruption remain among the main causes of Cameroon’s economic and political problems. Ndoumbe (2018) provided additional support for this claim by pointing out that the nation's past of concentrated power and authoritarian governance under President Paul Biya's administration—which has ruled the country since 1982—has contributed to the concentration of wealth and power among a small political elite and created an atmosphere that is favourable to corruption. Furthermore, corrupt practices have been sustained by the complex interactions between political patronage, nepotism, and rent-seeking behaviour. Public resources are frequently misappropriated for personal benefit rather than used for the greater good. According to (Ngomba, 2020), this has had a negative impact on attempts to reduce poverty, create infrastructure, and provide public services. It has also been shown to exacerbate social inequality and erode public confidence in government institutions. 

In the effort of combating corruption, Cameroon has developed different anticorruption approaches, which are being implemented and managed by a government agency, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), also known as the CONAC (Commission Nationale Anti-Corruption) in French. Created in March 2006, NACC’s activities against corruption in Cameroon are usually paired-up with different presidential policies and mechanisms geared towards the same goal (NACC, 2008). According to  Alemagi, & Efobi, (2019), anti corruption strategies refer to the policies, laws, institutions, and initiatives implemented by governments or other stakeholders to prevent and combat corruption. These strategies may include legislative reforms, establishment of anticorruption agencies, enforcement mechanisms, awareness campaigns, and capacity-building initiatives aimed at promoting transparency, accountability, and integrity in public governance.

Consequently, the most recent campaign launched against corruption in Cameroon by the head of state and managed by NACC was named Operation Epervier (French appellation), which means Operation Sparrow Hawk in English (NACC, 2006). This operation led to the incarceration of several government officials in February 2008 (Cameroon Today, 2021;  NACC, n.d; Ndoumbe, 2018). Although several top-ranked government officials were arrested and incarcerated through several anti corruption strategies the Cameroonian population still harbored mixed feelings on how successful government anticorruption efforts had been in Cameroon.Therefore, there is an urgent need for a comprehensive evaluation of governmental anticorruption strategies in Cameroon to assess their efficacy, identify gaps in implementation, and propose evidence-based recommendations for enhancing their effectiveness.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Corruption poses a significant challenge to the socioeconomic development and political stability of nations worldwide. Combating corruption through different anticorruption approaches such as government structural adjustment, systematic strategies, and specific mechanisms put in place by governments and international organizations is an issue of global significance. Cross-national cooperation in the fight against corruption has become a major means for tackling the issue, especially in developing countries (Udombana, 2023). Nevertheless, most developing countries, including Cameroon, have not been able to substantially reduce their levels of corruption even after employing universal anticorruption strategies such as structural adjustment programs (SAPs), which are now considered as the way forward for most developing countries engaged in a serious anticorruption fight (Nguemegne, 2021). 

In Cameroon, corruption permeates various sectors of society, undermining public trust in government institutions, impeding economic growth, and perpetuating social inequality (Alemagi & Efobi, 2019). Despite the Cameroonian government's implementation of numerous anticorruption strategies and the establishment of dedicated institutions to combat this pervasive issue, corruption remains rampant, as evidenced by the country's consistently low rankings on global corruption indices (Transparency International, 2022).

Existing studies often focus on analyzing the root causes and consequences of corruption or proposing theoretical frameworks for combating it, but few provide empirical assessments of the impact of specific governmental measures on reducing corruption levels. Furthermore, the complexity of corruption in Cameroon, characterized by deeply entrenched patronage networks, weak institutional capacity, and limited transparency and accountability mechanisms, necessitates a nuanced understanding of the challenges hindering the successful implementation of anticorruption strategies (Kramon & Posner, 2018). Without a thorough evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of current governmental approaches, policymakers lack the evidence-based insights needed to formulate targeted interventions that effectively address the underlying drivers of corruption in Cameroon.

While there is a plethora of literature discussing corruption in Cameroon and examining various aspects of the phenomenon, there remains a notable gap in comprehensive evaluations of the effectiveness of governmental anticorruption strategies in the Cameroonian context.  Upon this premise the study seeks to  evaluate governmental anticorruption strategies in Cameroon.

1.3 Objective of the study

The objectives of this study is focused on evaluation governmental anticorruption strategies in Cameroon. Specifically, the study seeks to:

Investigate various anticorruption strategies implemented by the Cameroonian government

Assess the extent to which these measures have succeeded in reducing corruption levels within government institutions.

Identify the obstacles and deficiencies hindering the successful implementation of governmental anticorruption measures in Cameroon

1.4 Research Questions

What are the various anticorruption strategies implemented by the Cameroonian government?

What is the extent to which these measures have succeeded in reducing corruption levels within government institutions?

What are the obstacles and deficiencies hindering the successful implementation of governmental anticorruption measures in Cameroon?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

Ho1:  The extent to which governmental anticorruption strategies has reduced corruption levels within government institutions is low

Hi1: The extent to which governmental anticorruption strategies has reduced corruption levels within government institutions is high

1.6 Significance of the study

The study will provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of governmental anticorruption strategies in Cameroon, informing policy decisions aimed at combating corruption. By identifying the strengths and weaknesses of existing measures, policymakers can tailor interventions to address specific challenges and improve the overall effectiveness of anticorruption efforts. 

Practically, by shedding light on the challenges and gaps in the implementation of anticorruption strategies, the study can contribute to enhancing transparency and accountability within government institutions in Cameroon. By addressing these deficiencies, policymakers can strengthen public trust in government institutions and promote a culture of integrity and accountability. By providing evidence-based recommendations for enhancing anticorruption efforts, the study can contribute to promoting good governance practices in Cameroon. This, in turn, can foster a conducive environment for sustainable development, attract investment, and improve the delivery of public services.

Theoretically, the study contributes to the existing body of literature on corruption and governance in developing countries, particularly in the context of sub-Saharan Africa. By conducting empirical research and employing rigorous analytical frameworks, the study generates new knowledge and insights that can enrich academic scholarship in fields such as political science, public administration, and development studies.

1.7 Scope of the study

The study will focus specifically on evaluating the effectiveness of governmental anti- corruption strategies in Cameroon. This includes policies, laws, institutions, and initiatives implemented by the Cameroonian government to prevent and combat corruption at various levels of governance.

Geographically, The study will engage with key stakeholders involved in anticorruption efforts in Cameroon, including government officials, members of civil society organization  in Yaoundé, city and capital of Cameroon

1.8 Limitations of the study

One limitation of the study may be the availability and reliability of data on corruption and anticorruption efforts in Cameroon. Limited access to official government data or discrepancies in reporting practices may pose challenges to conducting a comprehensive evaluation of governmental anticorruption strategies. Furthermore, the effectiveness of governmental anticorruption strategies may be influenced by contextual factors such as political dynamics, socio-cultural norms, and economic conditions. While the study will seek to account for these factors, their complexity and variability may present challenges in drawing definitive conclusions about the impact of specific strategies. More so,  the researchers' own biases or preconceptions may influence the interpretation of data and findings and generalization of the study.  However, despite efforts to maintain objectivity and impartiality, Steps will be taken to minimize bias through rigorous methodology, triangulation of data sources, by  providing valuable insights into the effectiveness of governmental anticorruption strategies in Cameroon, with the goal of informing policy decisions and enhancing transparency, accountability, and good governance practices in the country.

1.9 Definition of Terms

Corruption: Corruption refers to the abuse of entrusted power for private gain, often involving bribery, embezzlement, nepotism, or other forms of dishonest or unethical conduct. In the context of this study, corruption encompasses illegal or unethical practices that undermine the integrity, transparency, and effectiveness of government institutions and processes.

Anticorruption Strategies: Anticorruption strategies refer to the policies, laws, institutions, and initiatives implemented by governments or other stakeholders to prevent and combat corruption. These strategies may include legislative reforms, establishment of anticorruption agencies, enforcement mechanisms, awareness campaigns, and capacity-building initiatives aimed at promoting transparency, accountability, and integrity in public governance.


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