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Customs, brokers, and informal sectors: a Cameroon case study

Thomas Cantens, Jonathan Kaminski, Jonathan Kaminski, Gaël Raballand () and Tchouawou Tchapa
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Jonathan Kaminski

No 6788, Policy Research Working Paper Series from The World Bank

Abstract: Based on extensive interviews with informal importers and brokers in Cameroon, this paper explains why customs reform aimed at reducing fraud and corruption may be difficult to achieve. Informal traders and brokers (without licenses) follow various business models and practices, which are product-specific. Overall, what matters first are customs brokers'practices. Information asymmetries mark transactions between brokers and importers and are accompanied by misperceptions of the costs and risks of informal brokers working among informal importers. In a low-governance environment with widespread informal practices, blanket policies should be avoided in order to discourage activities of unprofessional and systematic bribe-taker brokers. It is also essential that customs officials disrupt information asymmetries and better disseminate information to informal importers on customs processes and official costs. Finally, customs should more strongly sanction some informal brokers in order to reduce collusion with some customs officers.

Keywords: Debt Markets; E-Business; Transport Economics Policy&Planning; Customs and Trade; Financial Intermediation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014-02-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr and nep-iue
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