Tontines et banques au Cameroun ; les principes de la société des amis

Henry, Alain ; Tchenté, Ghuy-Honoré, Guillerme-Dieumegard, Philippe, Editions Karthala, 1991

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In Cameroon, tontines represent a savings and credit phenomenon. The authors describe their organization and how they are currently operated.

This book presents the results of a field survey carried out in Cameroonian ”tontines with auction”. The authors invite us to visit the particular universe of these associations. They show their social and financial mechanisms. Based on many accounts and traditional tales, presented with humor and kindness by members of these associations, they explain that the members of these associations obey to a true social logic, centered upon friendship duties. More than a symbol incentive to savings, the tontine is primarily a school of life in society. These traditional institutions raise many questions among development experts, especially regarding their financial aspects (interest rates, use of funds, etc.). This book challenges the most frequent hypotheses used by scholars. Through the results of the sociological survey, the authors formulate a calculation model, which has been validated by users. Applied to about 700 auctions, this model demonstrates that financial rates are rather advantageous, compared to those of the banking system. Members of associations find here a method to check their by themselves their own rates.

The dynamism of this social phenomenon contrasts with the failures of the banking system. The way these associations teach trust and respect of the rules should help the banks in overcome their management challenges. If they want to have better relationships with their clients, they would be inspired to ‘’tontinise’’ their operation. The book presents some practical ways in this direction.

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