Keywords: Cameroon, electricity reform, privatisation, power sector reform, institutional endowment, sub-Saharan Africa, World Bank, developing countries
Transparency in the dark: an assessment of the Cameroonian electricity sector reform
In 2001, AES Corporation was the sole bidder in the sale of the Cameroonian electricity company. In accordance with the World Bank's third structural adjustment credit project, the state-owned company was sold. Since then, consumers face regular blackouts and tariff increases and some investments have been made in new generation capacity. A new regulatory body has been set up, but it is not fully operative. With many sub-Saharan countries under similar pressure to sell their public utilities, this paper contributes to the understanding, assessment, and analysis of privatisation reforms. After describing the reform process, the paper assesses the results three years later and a general 'institutional endowment' analysis of the power sector is presented. The main conclusion is that due to the weakness of institutions, competition and private ownership cannot be fully relied on, and that government involvement is unavoidable. Some recommendations are made to move beyond the many failures of privatisation.