Archive | August, 2020

The 1958 Referendum in French Sub-Saharan Africa

In most of France’s colonial territories in sub-Saharan Africa there was a massive ‘yes’ vote, with over 90% of those who turned out to vote voting in favour of joining the French Community. The two exceptions were Guinée, where over 95% of those voting voted ‘No’ to the Community, and Niger, where the turnout was low (only 37%) and just 78% of those who turned out to vote voted ‘Yes’ to the Community. Here a prominent Nigerien historian says that, if the elections had been free and fair, ‘No’ would have won. Read more on rfi Afrique

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France in the Sahel: a case of the reluctant multilateralist?

France is presenting its current involvement in the Sahel as a new, and more multilateral, form of intervention. But is it? Does it mark a clean break with France’s early postcolonial past, characterised by unilateral intervention practices? Or does it, thanks to a process called ‘layering’, superimpose and meld together old unilateral intervention practices with the ‘newer’ multilateral approach? In looking for answers to these questions, we are reminded of the quotation by management consultant Peter Drucker, namely that If you want to do something new, you have to stop doing something old. This observation seems to be the key to understanding the novelty or otherwise of France’s actions in the Sahel. Thus, before searching for the ‘new’, we need to look back and identify the ‘old’. Read more on The Conversation Authors: Tony Chafer: Professor of African and French Studies, University of Portsmouth Gordon D. Cumming: Professor of Foreign and Development Policies, Cardiff University          

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