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Mali’s Mission Civilisatrice

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Chapter Summary

Most of Northern Mali's desert region is very difficult to develop when development is not based on mining or industry. The new regime was determined to bring all its subjects the benefits of modernisation. This ambitious project is provocatively described as a mission civilisatrice, to avoid calling it internal colonialism. This chapter focuses on the administrative and political relations between the Keita regime and the Kel Tamasheq throughout the 1960s. The US-RDA's high modernist social economic policies were unrealistic and unwanted, and they proved to be a failure in the end for more or less the same reasons as they were a failure elsewhere in the country. Despite the abolishment of traditional chieftaincies by law, the nomad tribal chiefs were maintained in place. Where Mali had opted for the socialist road, and was eager to break with 'neo-colonial dependency relations', Niger opted for stronger ties with France.

Keywords: Franco-Nigerien cooperation; French neo-colonialism; Keita regime; Kel Tamasheq; Mali's mission civilisatrice; traditional chieftaincy; US-RDA



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