Displacing the French? Ivorian Development and the Question of Economic Decolonisation, 1946–1975

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Book Chapter

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Department 1



This chapter revisits the historical mechanisms that allowed French firms to dominate the arena of development in Ivory Coast. Starting in the late colonial era, and especially during the heyday of the post-1945 modernisation of the territory, not only did French businesses receive the larger share of aid-financed work, but French involvement and deal-making would become hegemonic in the post-independence industrial expansion of the country. Having struck an alliance with the Ivorian elite during the waning years of colonialism, French interests rearticulated their clientelistic relations and networks to maintain the competitive edge over the business of postcolonial development. While Ivorian authorities attempted subsequently to ease the grips of their French development partners, their effort remained modest. By the mid-1970s, the voices of the critics of postcolonial development as implemented in Ivory Coast had gained momentum. This situation forced the Ivorian leadership to contemplate serious transformations of the country’s drive to modernity.



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