P060 – Interroger la mémoire des projets d’aide au développement
9 July, 09:00 – 10:30

Ségalini Céline / Les Afriques dans le Monde
Bregeot Ghislain / IFAID Aquitaine


Gomez-Temesio Véronica, Triangle/ ENS Lyon

En Afrique, les projets de développement se suivent. Le monde du développement connaît une amnésie structurelle, aggravée par la courte durée des phases de projets, la dispersion des équipes, l’absence d’archivage. En lien avec le programme « Développement, Mémoire, Territoire », ce panel souhaite valoriser la mémoire des acteurs pour interroger l’histoire des projets d’aide, sur la moyenne durée. Nous tenterons de dessiner les contours de cette histoire en questionnant la mémoire que les acteurs locaux ont de la succession des projets qu’ils ont vécus, de leurs perceptions des continuités et ruptures, de leurs représentations des évolutions des politiques. Les traces matérielles (restes de bâtiments ou de matériel, devenir d’aménagements, etc.) sont aussi une piste possible, de même que le devenir des archives des projets, révélateur de l’intérêt – ou du manque d’intérêt – des institutions d’aide et des administrations nationales pour la mémoire. Enfin, en interrogeant la mémoire de praticiens, nationaux comme expatriés, et leurs analyses de l’évolution des rapports entre agences d’aide, administrations nationales et acteurs locaux. Il s’agit ici de lire de l’intérieur l’évolution des politiques, des dispositifs et des pratiques, et en particulier de mieux comprendre comment se sont construites historiquement la culture du per diem, le renoncement des États à des politiques propres, et ce que l’on peut appeler la démobilisation des Africains vis-à-vis du développement.

Analyzing the Memory of Aid Projects
In Africa, as one development project finishes, a new one begins. The world of development experiences is a structural amnesia, aggravated by the short duration of projects, the scattering of teams, and the lack of proper records. In conjunction with the « Development, Memory, Territory » program, this panel aims to scrutinize the memory of actors in order to examine the history of aid projects over the medium term. We will try to outline this history by asking the local actors what they remember of the succession of projects, their perceptions of continuities and ruptures, and their views on policy developments. Material traces (traces of buildings, or equipment, what becomes of these, etc.) are also possible tracks, as well as what became of the archives of the projects revealing the interest – or lack of interest – of aid organisations and national governments in memory. Finally, by studying the memory of practitioners, nationals as well as foreigners, and analysing the changing relationship between aid agencies, national governments and local actors. In this way, we hope to see from within the development of policies and practices. In particular we will try to understand how the culture of
per diem, the renunciation by states of their own policies and what we can be called the demobilisation of Africans towards aid projects have emerged over time.


Paper 1

Lavigne Delville Philippe / IRD

Gbaguidi Noël / Chaire Unesco/FADES/Université d’Abomey Calavi

Un retour du refoulé ? La réinvention de la reconnaissance des droits fonciers coutumiers au Bénin au début des années 1990

Expérimentés au Bénin au début des années 1990, les Plans Fonciers Ruraux (PFR) sont présentés par leurs promoteurs comme une alternative à l’informalité des droits fonciers paysans et à l’immatriculation foncière d’origine coloniale, répondant aux enjeux contemporains, dans une logique de « paradigme d’adaptation ». En fait, ils sont très proches de la logique du décret de 1955 portant réorganisation foncière et domaniale en AOF sur la reconnaissance des droits fonciers. Au Bénin même, une démarche de cadastrage de la palmeraie avait été proposée en 1956, à partir de principes très proches des PFR. Typiques d’un colonialisme tardif cherchant à refonder le pacte colonial, ces mesures n’ont pas guère eu de concrétisations.
L’histoire des PFR prend ainsi une autre perspective : le « paradigme d’adaptation » n’est plus une invention récente contre un monopole de l’immatriculation, mais un principe cohérent avec un pouvoir qui cherche à se construire une base sociale sur une logique plus inclusive ; la démarche PFR des années 1990 est en partie une réinvention, en partie une réémergence non explicitée des propositions du début des années 1950.
A partir d’entretiens avec les fondateurs des PFR et d’une analyse croisée des démarches PFR et des propositions de l’étude de 1956, cette communication discutera l’oubli et la réinvention des politiques de reconnaissance des droits fonciers paysans au Bénin, et les traces des réflexions de 1956 dans les PFR actuels.

Paper 2

Venot Jean-Philippe / GRED-IRD

Wanvoeke Jonas / Université de Wageningen (Pays-Bas)

Irrigation in the Sahel: Memory failure and material traces

Irrigation development in the Sahel has long been a major development objective, with a clear renewed interest since the late 2000s when agriculture came back on the international development agenda. This contribution investigates two approaches to irrigation that have a central role in national policies and international development aid in West Africa: small reservoirs and drip irrigation. In technical terms, these approaches to irrigation are different. Small reservoirs are large infrastructures to be collectively managed and leave a lasting material imprint in rural landscapes. Drip irrigation systems consist in a network of plastic pipes covering a few hundred meters; they can be easily moved and once they fall in disuse, they physically vanish from fields to sometimes be found in homestead for different unintended uses. Beyond material idiosyncrasies, what is striking in both cases is the failure, or even refusal, to build a collective memory around irrigation. Development projects, and associated research agendas, follow the same principles than several decades ago. This absence of collective memory is linked to the fact that aid agencies and national governments revolve in a world of their own, disconnected from that of farmers, and are little accountable to the latter. Farmers however have built their own memory: they integrated this absence of institutional recollection as a characteristic of development practice, and use it to their own ends to “draw projects in”.

Paper 3

Brolin Therese / Unit of Human Geography, Department of Economy and Society, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Development results without memory? The results agenda and Swedish development cooperation with Uganda

In the last decade the demand for results has increased within the international development cooperation, leading to a stronger interest for documenting the outcomes of aid projects to improve the development effectiveness. Although the, so called, results agenda is welcomed by many actors, it has been criticized for being donor driven and for focusing on accountability, rather than on learning. It is, for instance, argued that results should be attributed to the donor’s development objectives, rather than the recipient’s and that reporting development failures is discouraged, as this could lead to cuts in funding. The results agenda could thus have an impact on the memory of aid projects; on what is documented, and what is not. Sweden, with a reputation of emphasizing the recipient countries objectives in its development cooperation, was one of the first donors to adhere to the agenda. With examples from Swedish development relations with Uganda, this paper explores how the results agenda is influencing the documentation of aid projects and the relations between development actors. For this purpose interviews have been conducted with stakeholders in Uganda and Sweden, and a review has been made of Swedish policy documents. Primary findings indicate that the requirements to report results in relation to Swedish objectives have increased, but also that Ugandan actors consider this an opportunity to demonstrate achievements made in relation to a donor’s expectations.

Paper 4

Marriott Sarah / Durham University

“We are crying for cotton”: Recalling colonial development in South Sudan

This paper will analyse contemporary memories of the Zande Scheme, a late colonial development initiative based on cotton growing and manufacturing in what is now Western Equatoria State in South Sudan. There is a striking dissonance between attitudes towards the scheme recorded by an anthropologist at the time of its heyday in the 1950s and the way in which experiences of the scheme are recalled and retold today. Using oral histories and observations collected over nine months of fieldwork in the region this paper will explore the ways in which visible and invisible remnants of the scheme shape the way in which it is talked about today, as well as subsequent events and outside influences. It will be suggested that nostalgia contained within current memories of the scheme can be read as political commentary on the workings, failings and absence of contemporary development in the State today. It will also demonstrate how the public memory of the scheme is used politically by both national and state governments. Finally, it will be argued that interpretations of current development programs are shaped by the memory of prior development, long after their demise or abandonment, with ramifications for their acceptance and uptake.

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