Title of Presentation or Performance

Ce Qui Reste: Legacies of Decolonization in French Africa

Major

International and Global Studies

Type of Submission

Oral Presentation

Type of Submission (Archival)

Event

Area of Study or Work

International Studies, Political Science

Expected Graduation Date

2022

Location

CNS E105

Start Date

4-9-2022 8:30 AM

End Date

4-9-2022 9:30 AM

Abstract

The transition from colonial rule to independence is the subject of much debate among political scientists and international relations theorists. I focus on two specific cases out of French Africa diametrically opposed in their experiences of decolonization. In Guinea, the French left abruptly, taking everything they could carry. In Gabon, they stayed, and continued to direct the country’s politics and economy. I analyze the impacts French actions had on three aspects of the postcolonial societies: rule of law, political participation, and development strategies. Each element is critical for a successful state– institutions must be bound by rules to be trusted by citizens and enterprises, citizens must have a voice (if not necessarily a vote) in government, and the basic needs of the people must be met. I find that while rule of law was very weak in both new states, it failed for different reasons. Political participation was far more genuine in Guinea, even while opposition to the regime was illegal. Despite Guinea’s professed socialism, the development of both countries was engineered to serve those at the top. All told, it seems that whether the French stay or leave, the outcomes are strikingly similar.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 9th, 8:30 AM Apr 9th, 9:30 AM

Ce Qui Reste: Legacies of Decolonization in French Africa

CNS E105

The transition from colonial rule to independence is the subject of much debate among political scientists and international relations theorists. I focus on two specific cases out of French Africa diametrically opposed in their experiences of decolonization. In Guinea, the French left abruptly, taking everything they could carry. In Gabon, they stayed, and continued to direct the country’s politics and economy. I analyze the impacts French actions had on three aspects of the postcolonial societies: rule of law, political participation, and development strategies. Each element is critical for a successful state– institutions must be bound by rules to be trusted by citizens and enterprises, citizens must have a voice (if not necessarily a vote) in government, and the basic needs of the people must be met. I find that while rule of law was very weak in both new states, it failed for different reasons. Political participation was far more genuine in Guinea, even while opposition to the regime was illegal. Despite Guinea’s professed socialism, the development of both countries was engineered to serve those at the top. All told, it seems that whether the French stay or leave, the outcomes are strikingly similar.