Business Visibility and Taxation in Northern Cameroon

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Through an analysis of the taxation of business activities in Adamaoua Province, Cameroon, this article aims to provide ethnographic substance to current debates about the "tax effort" in sub-Saharan Africa. Although the current mission of the tax authorities to identify all potential taxpayers and track their locations, movements, and activities is often presented in the context of nationwide reform and a commitment to making all taxable enterprises visible, a close examination of the government's practices reveals other factors at work. The case of cattle traders in particular shows that taxation policies in Adamaoua today are based on an interplay between, on the one hand, modes of state control and levels of administrative efficiency, and on the other, longstanding repertoires of business practice and idioms of documentation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-175
JournalAfrican Studies Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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