Cameroon entrusted the International Monetary Fund the duty to reorganize its finances since 1986. It is however evident that the relationship with the IMF has been very “controversial”. The founding fathers, the late Ahmadou Ahidjo and the late Dr. John Ngu Foncha were hostile to any form of dealing with the IMF.
To be sure, the first President of the Republic of Cameroon, Ahmadou Ahidjo observed during his handing over speech to President Biya that Cameroon should never accept any IMF austerity measure that does not allow us to preserve our independence and to control as much as possible our own economic and financial establishments.
Although Cameroon was already a member of the International Monetary Fund, until 1982 it had not yet solicited any financial assistance from this so-called monetary structure of assistance to less developed countries. The reason for this was in Ahmadou Ahidjo’s anti IMF stance. Frankly speaking, the political choices of the late President Ahidjo were guided by a cautious approach. It was in 1986 that Paul Biya eventually fell to pressure from the UN institution.
Biya in a televised address to the nation acknowledged that Cameroon was facing an unprecedented economic crisis and called on Cameroonians to roll up their sleeves and face the austerity that was coming. Cameroon was eventually placed under the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) and in 1998, the SAP was replaced by the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility.
It was from then that we witnessed the privatization of many companies and Cameroon’s public expenditure was subjected to IMF approvals. A situation that helped and slowly killed the ex-President exiled then in Senegal.
By Rita Akana
Cameroon Intelligence Report