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Translating rhetoric into practice? The case of French aid to Cameroon

Bomba Nkolo, Odile 2016. Translating rhetoric into practice? The case of French aid to Cameroon. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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In the late 1990s, the donor community espoused a new metanorm, poverty reduction. Against this backdrop, Lionel Jospin, elected French Prime Minister in 1997, promised a shift in French aid policy away from a paternalistic and interest-driven approach towards a more needs-focused, empowering strategy. This thesis asks, with reference to the 1997-2015 period and to the Cameroonianian case, how far, how and why France’s aid discourse on poverty reduction and empowerment has been translated into practice. Our introduction sets out this research question. Our literature review demonstrates that there have been no detailed studies of French aid to Cameroon and looks more broadly at research on French coopération, empowerment and African agency. Chapter three identifies our methodological and theoretical framework, focusing particularly on neo-classical realism and a template of hard, soft and smart power. Chapter 4 shows how French aid sructures and instruments were neo-colonial in the early post-colonial decades. It then highlights reforms under Jospin and President Jacques Chirac’s second term, paying particular attention to the aid instruments deployed in Cameroon and their ‘fitness for the purpose’. Chapter 5 sets out the aid promises of French Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande, identifying the reformist pressures they faced. Chapter 6 explains why important but ultimately limited changes took place in the French assistance programme to Cameroon. Drawing on a neoclassical realist framework, it shows how the French policy-making establishment was divided between the conservative old guard resisting and modernisers promoting aid conditionalities. Chapter 7 addresses weaknesses in the NCR framework, notably its crude definition of power and failure to include African agency. It shows how francophone Cameroonian elites facilitate or constrain the implementation of French aid. Our conclusion summarises our findings, identifies future aid trends and explores the wider significance of this research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Submission
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Modern Languages
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages
P Language and Literature > PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania
Uncontrolled Keywords: French aid to Cameroon, African, Translating
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 July 2017
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2019 03:25

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