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University of Amsterdam (2020)

Ethnicity matters : Development in Burkina Faso between Symbiosis, Favouritism and Exclusion

Kuipers Max

Titre : Ethnicity matters : Development in Burkina Faso between Symbiosis, Favouritism and Exclusion

Auteur : Kuipers Max

Université de soutenance : University of Amsterdam

Grade : Research Master in International Development Studies 2020

Résumé _ This research explores inter- and intra-ethnic group relations and their effects on development interventions in Burkina Faso, a country with a large variety of ethnic groups. The country, housing over 60 different ethnic groups has a long history- of international and national development initiatives being performed. Much of the literature involving ethnicity, ethnic groups and development conclude that ethnic diversity is in many cases counter developmental. How does this assumption hold up in Burkina Faso ? Through a convergent mixed-methods design, consisting of unstructured and semi-structured interviews and a survey, data was acquired from former- and current development professionals with experience in Burkina Faso. During a fieldwork period of four months, interviewees were acquired through a method of snowballing, while surveys were distributed online and in person within seven months. Two narratives with regards to the effects of inter- and intra-ethnic group relationships were found. The first narrative describes how ethnic groups, and especially the largest present in the country, tend to favourite members of their own groups in the selection of recipients and the corresponding allocation of resources stemming from development intervention. The second narrative, conversely, denies that biased selection of recipients and allocation of resources is a result of inter- and intra-ethnic group relationships but rather a consequence of corrupt individuals that select recipients and allocate resources along their own personal networks. Another finding stemming from this study is that discrepancies exist between perspectives of research participants along the lines of their age and nationality. Overall, it was concluded that intra- and inter-ethnic group relations affect development initiatives in terms of exclusion from participation to developmental initiatives, from access to resources and through various forms of preferential treatment within and between groups. The findings and conclusions of this research contribute to the body of literature dealing with the relationship between ethnicity and development. The results seem to be relevant to policy makers, development professionals and others engaged in pursuing development goals in Burkina Faso and elsewhere


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