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Wageningen Universiteit (2001)

Listen to the cradle : building from local dynamics for African Renaissance : case studies in rural areas in Benin, Burkina Faso and Ghana

Hounkonnou, D.

Titre : Listen to the cradle : building from local dynamics for African Renaissance : case studies in rural areas in Benin, Burkina Faso and Ghana

Auteur : Hounkonnou, D.

Université de soutenance : Wageningen Universiteit

Grade : Doctor Thesis 2001

Résumé
The development strategies implemented in most African countries after the independence period - in the 1960s in most cases -were guided by the option to achieve ’rapid modernisation’ through a development process based on industrialisation and on ’expert culture’ ; without exception these dominant strategies overlooked grassroots initiatives. The marginalisation of traditional institutions created a vacuum ’between the macro-bureaucracies and giant corporations and the micro-structures of more or less extended families’ (KleinGoldewijk and de Gaay Fortman, 1999). The failure of this development approach resulted in the long-lasting economic crisis which drove most African countries to adopt structural adjustment programmes ; unfortunately these programmes did not bring about the desired change. Today, without mentioning the social problems related to their implementation, there is even a growing recognition that structural adjustment policies, despite their implications in the midterm, seem to have neglected Africa’s long-term needs (Stewart, Lall and Wangwe, 1992). Meanwhile, in different parts of Africa, despite the (expensive) failures of many national programmes or projects, local development dynamics, - although often with limited impact - are achieving tangible and substantial results with very little resources. The notion of local dynamics is used in this research to describe the various forces on the move at local level, in the continuously changing environment of Africa, struggling to help local communities to meet some of their priority needs. Such forces are in general small associations or groups, or even individuals, both social andlor business-oriented. Some of those dynamics are old or long-established, others are emerging only now, but in their entirety they form part of the basic constituencies of the emerging civil society in Africa.

Mots clés : RURAL AREAS / COMMUNITIES / COMMUNICATION / SOCIAL CHANGE / WEST AFRICA / BENIN / BURKINA FASO / GHANA

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