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Is CDC Going The Cameroon Bank, Marketing Board Way? 

By Barnabas Mbonde

President Biya has, in decree N° 2016/031 of 19 January, 2016, declared the State as the sole owner of the Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC, with no private shares.
“In accordance with Article 52 of the Statute, the President of the Republic can dissolve the corporation through a decree,” says Jacques Kwimo, Rehabilitation Counsellor law expert and public enterprises.

According to the presidential decree, the corporation is now “under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture and under the financial supervision of the Ministry of Finance”.
The decree also gives the ‘new’ corporation a lifespan of 99 years, the state-run daily Cameroon Tribune reported.

To the 12-member Board of Directors of CDC – Ministries, Governors of the Northwest and Southwest Regions – have been added a General Assembly.
The General Assembly is composed of representatives of five Ministries who have the powers to “approve the audits, appoint, remunerate and revoke the auditor”.

The General Assembly is superior to the Board of Directors and can change the statute of the CDC as may be proposed by the Board of Directors, reports Cameroon Tribune.
According to the Cameroon Tribune report, the presidential decree transforms CDC into a “multi-engaging public utility corporation with the State as unique owner of all shares.”

The decree empowers the corporation to acquire, create, administer, exploit and develop “agricultural enterprises through production and transformation of produce”.

It also empowers the corporation to “assist small holders cultivating similar crops as CDC within the perimeters of CDC factories; commercialize agricultural produce either raw or transformed (with added value),” reports Cameroon Tribune.

“The CDC can exercise other operations directly linked to the afore-mentioned objectives by means of creation of new companies, inputs, fusion, association or participation and other means with regards to the development of the Corporation,” says the decree.

Observers say President Biya’s decree is like CDC’s death warrant as it provides that the corporation can be transferred to any other place of the national territory by a resolution of the Extraordinary General Meeting.

This is the end of CDC, it is believed.
Many Anglophones fear that the corporation, which employs over 20,000 workers and has a social capital of FCFA 35,718,550,806 will go the same way as the Cameroon Bank, the Marketing Board, Santa Coffee Estate, Yoke Powercam, Wum Area Development Authority, WADA, Tole and Ndu Tea Estates.

It worthy to recall that the British colonial administration created CDC in 1947 with the aim of managing the plantations expropriated from the Germans after they lost World War II.
One of the major goals of the corporation was to carry out agro-business in banana and rubber whose profits would be ploughed back into the development projects of the then Southern Cameroons.