The decentralized forestry taxation system in Cameroon: local management and state logic

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This study examines the changes in the local management of forestry revenue in South and East Cameroon resulting from the decentralized forestry taxation system introduced in 1994. The 1994 forestry reforms introduced new procedures for the access and local management of forestry revenue. Unfortunately, the decentralization process implemented in this context is authoritarian decentralization. Imposed from above and ignoring the real needs and expectations of the local communities. It represents predatory and neo-paternalistic alliances between the central State, the decentralized bodies and the forestry fees management committees, and between the authorities of the central State, the local administration and local political figures. Efficient and transparent management of forestry revenue can only be guaranteed in a dynamic of democratic decentralization, in which powers over the local management of forestr revenue are devolved to local institutions and actors who are accountable to the local populations for the exercise of those powers. The study demonstrates the need to see the decentralization of forest management in general, and the local management of forestry revenue in particular, as part of the overall framework of political and administrative decentralization in Cameroon.

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