The National Water Corporation of Cameroon (SNEC) was listed among the companies to be privatized by decree no 99/210 of 22 September 1999. The strategy adopted was aimed at transferring 51% of the company’s share capital to a reliable partner equipped with established technical skills and a strong financial base to realize expected investments within the framework of a new concession agreement.
But the tendering process initiated in 1999 for the privatization of SNEC was unfruitful, despite the Government efforts and support from development partners. The failure was due to the fact that the water exploitation system based on concession, already abandoned in many countries, was not attractive to investors in the sector. Drawing lessons from this failure, the Government decided to change strategy.
The new privatization strategy adopted by the Government was “The leasing of the sector of drinking water supply, through a public-private partnership (PPP)”. This option is built on the triangular relationship between the State, state-owned company and tenant farmer that will be organized around two main contracts: contract of concession and management of infrastructure (State and state-owned company) and leasing contract (tripartite: State, state-owned company, tenant farmer). In order to show the new configuration of the water piping sector in urban area, the President of the Republic signed the decree no 2005/ 493 of 31 December 2005 laying down the procedures for delegation of public services of drinking water and sewerage in urban and suburban areas. This decree makes provision for the creation of two companies:
A state-owned company: asset management company in charge of managing the property and rights concerning the drinking water service in urban and suburban areas, and is responsible for the construction, maintenance and management of infrastructure, capture, production, storage and transportation of potable water ;
A limited company in charge on his own of the production and distribution of drinking water in urban and suburban areas.
The sate-owned company was created by decree no 2005/494 of 31 December 2005 under the name: Cameroon Water Utilities Corporation (CAMWATER).
The production and distribution of potable water in urban and suburban areas was entrusted to la Camerounaise Des Eaux through a leasing contract.