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France in Mali: myths and realities

The French intervention in Mali in 2013 was portrayed by many commentators at the time as another manifestation of la Françafrique. Tony Chafer argues that framing the intervention in this way is both problematic and misleading. Tony Chafer is Professor of Contemporary French Area Studies and Director of the Centre for European and International Studies Research at the University of Portsmouth. His main research interests lie in French African policy in the colonial and post-colonial periods, French military and security policy in Africa and EU security policy in Africa. He is a Research Associate of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and acts as a consultant to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on French African policy.   Since the 1990s, la Françafrique has become shorthand for a neo-colonial relationship rooted in illicit and often criminal practices designed to maintain France’s ex-colonies in a relationship of dependency with the former metropole. Underpinning this relationship, it is argued, there exists a range of official links that have bound, and in many ways continue to bind, France to its former colonies in sub-Saharan Africa. These include defence and military assistance, economic aid, political, business and cultural links, and the maintenance of a common currency zone, alongside a […]

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Savoigne, a developmentalist utopia in Senegal (1964-1967)

In the 1960s, Savoigne was a village-pilote in Senghor’s development policy after Senegal’s independence. It was expected to prompt an innovative agricultural model as well as reducing rural flight. Romain Tiquet recounts the origin and the outcome of this project. Romain Tiquet is a doctoral student at Humboldt University in Berlin. His research focuses on forced labour and more specifically on the continuities of the policies regarding work and labour from colonial rule until independence in Senegal.   Savoigne, located at nearly 30km north of Saint-Louis, at the heart of the Senegalese River Valley delta, is barely known. Who would have thought that this small village of 2000 souls resulted from the ambitious development plan launched by the Senegalese authorities in the 1960s, right after the independence of the country? At the occasion of its 51st anniversary which took place on the 11th November 2015, an exploration of Savoigne’s history provides insight into the legacy of Senghor’s policy.   The national army: supporter of Senegalese development In the aftermath of Senegal’s independence, the promotion of agriculture, the struggle against rural depopulation and the active mobilisation of the youth – 60% of the Senegalese population in the 1960s were under 25 […]

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