Democracy and Development in Mali

Democracy and Development in Mali

R. James Bingen
David Robinson
John M. Staatz
Copyright Date: 2000
Pages: 404
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  • Book Info
    Democracy and Development in Mali
    Book Description:

    Mali, a country rich with history and culture, but one of the poorest in the world, emerged in the 1990s as one of Africa's most vibrant democracies. Strengthened by bold political and economic reforms at home, Mali has emerged as a leader in African peace keeping efforts. How has such a transition taken place? How have these changes built on Mali's rich heritage? These are the questions that the contributors to this volume have addressed.

    During the past twenty-five years, the scholarly research and applied development work of Michigan State University faculty and students in Mali represents the most significant combined, long-term, and continuing contribution of any group of university faculty in the United States or Europe to the study of Malian society, economy, and politics. The applied nature of much of this work has resulted in a significant number of working papers, reports, and conference presentations. This volume represents a coherent and connected set of essays from one American university with a widely known and highly respected role in African development. While the essays identify and review Mali's unique historical and contemporary path to democracy and development, they also contribute to the advancement of theoretical knowledge about African development.

    eISBN: 978-0-87013-895-9
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
    R. James Bingen, John Staatz and David Robinson
  4. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Mary Jo Arnoldi

    The invitation by the editors to write the foreword for this volume, which highlights the long commitment by Michigan State University to research in Mali, provided me with the occasion to reflect upon my own twenty-year research career on arts and culture in Mali. My professional associations with African Studies were first nurtured at Michigan State University.

    When I was a master’s degree student in African art history at MSU, the faculty and graduate students at the African Studies Center provided a supportive and intellectually exciting environment within which to pursue my particular interests in West African arts. Later, for...

  5. Preface
    (pp. xv-xx)
    David Wiley
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)
    R. James Bingen, David Robinson and John M. Staatz

    Most observers would agree that Michigan State University President John Hannah’s response to the invitation in 1960 from his personal friend and president of Nigeria, Nnamdi Azikiwe, to help build a new University of Nigeria at Nsukka represented the real beginning of African Studies at Michigan State University. MSU faculty had been active in higher education institution-building projects in Latin America since the 1950s, but none of these compared to the depth and breadth of MSU’s initial involvement in Nigeria. From 1960 through 1969, more than 140 MSU faculty worked on long- and short-term assignments to establish faculties of agriculture,...

  7. Cultural and Historical Setting

    • Overview of the Section on Cultural and Historical Contributions
      (pp. 9-14)
      David Robinson

      Mali arguably has the richest cultural heritage of all of the nation states of West Africa. The explanation is both simple and complex. The simple reason is the state of Old Mali, based in the Niger River valley. Starting as a chiefdom, expanding to a kingdom, and becoming an empire under the leadership of Sunjata Kéita, Mali was the dominant force in much of the West African savanna from about 1200 to 1400 ce. It controlled a vast amount of territory, extending into today’s Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea in the south, Burkina Faso and Niger in the east, and Senegambia...

    • Perspectives on History and Culture: The Case of Mali
      (pp. 15-22)
      Adame Ba Konaré

      Perspectives on history and culture: here is a subject which arouses vigorous debate among historians. This is because the relation between history and culture is so vital to the life of human communities. To take the case of Mali, it is said that the country is one of a great culture which draws its savor from a glorious past, a rich and fecund history whose golden age is situated in the time of the great medieval empires (eleventh to sixteenth centuries). To hear Malians talk, you would think that this is their only point of reference. How did we get...

    • “French Africans”—Faidherbe, Archinard, and Coppolani: The “Creators” of Senegal, Soudan, and Mauritania
      (pp. 23-40)
      David Robinson

      In late 1944 French intellectuals began to think of the role that the “Empire” had played in the liberation of France and in the life of the nation generally. Robert Delavignette, a former colonial official and head of the colonial training school,¹ and Charles-André Julien, an emerging historian of Algeria, inLes constructeurs de la France d’Outre-Mer,² commemorated the debt to the colonies by publishing the main “action” texts written by the pioneers of the Second Empire.

      The Second Empire began, it is usually assumed, with the conquest of the Algerian coast in 1830. Thomas Bugeaud, one of theconstructeurs,...

    • Generational Conflict in the Umarian Movement after the Jihad: Perspectives from the Futanke Grain Trade at Medine
      (pp. 41-60)
      John H. Hanson

      Al-Hajj Umar Tal’s call tojihadenticed tens of thousands of Futanke¹ to fight in his mid-nineteenth-century conquest of the Western Sudan.² Expansion came to a halt with Umar’s death in 1864, but his sons continued waging war in the region until the French ended Umarian rule with their late-nineteenth-century conquests.³ The military campaigns of Umar’s sons prompted another several thousand young Futanke to leave the Senegal valley in hope of accumulating wealth in booty. In Karta, the Umarian state that received the largest influx of young recruits, criticism of the wars emerged among earlier Futanke colonists who had fought...

    • Women in Francophone West Africa in the 1930s: Unraveling a Neglected Report
      (pp. 61-86)
      Ghislaine Lydon

      On 7 October 1937, Marcel Jules de Coppet, the governor-general of French West Africa (AOF),¹ delegated an important assignment to aconseillère technique de l’enseignement, Denise Moran Savineau. She was to head amission d’enquête² in AOF on “la condition de la femme et de la famille, dans les écoles, l’emploi, etc.”³ That French administrators felt it necessary to finance a special inquiry for the sole purpose of gathering data on African women in the colonies was ratheravant-garde. Furthermore, this project seems to have assumed a high-priority nature judging from the correspondence exchanged prior to and during Denise Moran’s...

    • Labor Migration, Gender, and Social Transformation in Rural Mali
      (pp. 87-102)
      Maria Grosz-Ngaté

      Labor migration is a significant demographic and politico-economic phenomenon in Mali, as in neighboring Sahelian countries. Yet in contrast to migration in Senegal and especially in Burkina Faso, labor migration in Mali has attracted little attention on the part of researchers. As a result, available data are largely restricted to aggregate statistics and fail to provide an appreciation of the long and complex history of migration in the country. Although several “Women in Development” survey-based studies of women migrants in the major urban centers of Mali¹ have recently started to improve our understanding of migration in Mali, these studies do...

  8. Economic and Agricultural Policy Reform

    • Overview—MSU’s Food Security Research and Outreach Program in Mali
      (pp. 105-118)
      John M. Staatz

      In 1985, the Department of Agricultural Economics at MSU, in collaboration with Malian colleagues working in various ministries and research institutes, began a program of applied research and outreach focused on agricultural marketing reforms and on the potential roles for regional trade and cooperation in Mali’s food security and economic growth strategies. The program also helped to strengthen Mali’s public agricultural market information system and improve the strategic planning of agricultural research in the country.¹

      The food security research program in Mali began as an effort to provide a stronger empirical base for implementing and evaluating the cereals market reform...

    • Food Security Policy Reform in Mali and the Sahel
      (pp. 119-144)
      Josué Dioné

      The food crises of Mali and the other Sahelian countries during the 1970s and 1980s stemmed not only from the lingering effects of the severe droughts in the mid-1970s and early 1980s. Many observers of Sahelian development have concluded that poorly designed pricing and marketing policies distorted agricultural incentives and failed to address the major causes of the enduring food production gap throughout the subregion. In the late 1970s, many donors pressed for policy reforms to restore farmers’ and private traders’ investment incentives to increase food production and improve distribution. Under strong pressure from donors, the government of Mali agreed...

    • The Response of Cereals Traders to Agricultural Market Reform in Mali
      (pp. 145-166)
      Niama Nango Dembélé and John M. Staatz

      Since 1981, the government of Mali has undertaken a broad range of reforms aimed at fostering a much greater role for the private sector and market processes. These reforms have involved the sale of state enterprises, permitting private-sector (including independent farmer and trader organizations) competition and removal of domestic and international barriers to trade. These changes, combined with the liberty of association and expression that came with Mali’s democratization starting in 1991, are having profound effects on the Malian economy and society.

      Because of the importance of the cereals subsector in the Malian economy, the lead element of economic reform...

    • The Reform of Rice Milling and Marketing in the Office du Niger: Catalysts for an Agricultural Success Story in Mali
      (pp. 167-188)
      Salifou Bakary Diarra, John M. Staatz and Niama Nango Dembélé

      One of the great successes of Malian economic policy during the 1980s and 1990s has been the transformation of the rice subsector. Domestic production shot up dramatically, growing at an annual rate of 9 percent between 1980 and 1997, largely due to yield increases in the irrigated area of theOffice du Niger. As a result, national rice production more than tripled between 1985 and 1998, from 214,000 m.t. (paddy) to 688,000 m.t.¹ At the same time, new macroeconomic and sectoral policies transformed the marketing system from a tight oligopoly that extracted rents from both consumers and producers to a...

    • Small-Scale Inland Valley Swamp Rice Production: A Viable Enterprise in the Grain-Cotton Farming System of Southern Mali
      (pp. 189-212)
      Georges Dimithé

      Until the early 1970s, Mali was self-sufficient in cereals. After the 1974 drought, food production failed to keep pace with the rapidly expanding demand for food, and between 1979 and 1991, per capita food production declined by an average of 0.7 percent per year.¹ As the gap between national food production and demand widened in the late 1980s, Mali became increasingly dependent on commercial imports and food aid. Rice imports alone accounted for approximately 26 percent of total rice consumption annually between 1984 and 1993. Agricultural productivity has improved since the early 1990s and Mali has significantly reduced cereal imports,...

    • Cotton in Mali: The “White Revolution” and Development
      (pp. 213-242)
      James Tefft

      It is no oversimplification to state that as cotton goes, so go the prospects for development in Mali. Cotton has always figured predominantly in the country’s economic and social life, and a good year for cotton production and marketing is also usually a good year for food production and overall economic progress. But the contribution of cotton to Malian development continues to be risky and uncertain.

      From the mid-1970s through the late 1980s, cotton production grew rapidly, despite large fluctuations in world prices and some unprofitable years. In the early 1990s, low world prices, an overvalued CFA¹ franc and low...

  9. Political Innovation

    • Overview–The Malian Path to Democracy and Development
      (pp. 245-250)
      R. James Bingen

      Mali’s modern political history deserves close inspection for its contribution to the knowledge and practice of democracy and development. Since the creation of the First Republic in 1960, Mali’s largely under-recognized political journey offers important evidence that can enhance our understanding and appreciation of the various ways in which democracies continue to be constructed little by little across Africa. Over the last thirty years we have witnessed the enduring nature of historic forms of popular control and the continuing demand for democratic accountability in which the Malian people have found the means to assure that their leaders answer for their...

    • From Military Dictatorship to Democracy: The Democratization Process in Mali
      (pp. 251-264)
      Andrew F. Clark

      This essay analyzes the successful, and largely peaceful, transition from military dictatorship to civilian democracy in Mali. Unlike most other nations, Mali held a national conference, wrote a constitution, and held elections after deposing a repressive military regime. Because of its openness and success, the democratization process in Mali—and in particular the use of a national conference—can serve as an indicator of what might happen in other areas of Africa experimenting with democracy. The rapidity of the transformation, however, does leave some questions unanswered.¹

      The recent, still unfolding democratization process in much of Africa contrasts dramatically with the...

    • Dimensions of Decentralization in Mali
      (pp. 265-288)
      David Rawson

      In 1991, Mali’s revolutionary elite met at the National Conference to set out the boundaries of the new national order. The conference report concluded in part that the previous administration was inefficient, incompetent, and oblivious to the needs of the nation, that state intervention in rural areas had only reinforced central power, and that existing notions of decentralization followed the logic of neocolonial administration. As a cure to these ills, the National Conference recommended:

      A redefinition of the mission and structures of territorial administration,

      Transfer of competencies to decentralized structures in order to promote real development,

      The redefinition of local...

    • Classrooms of Democracy? The Educational Prospects of Malian Civil Society
      (pp. 289-320)
      John Uniack Davis

      Primary among the dramatic changes that have swept a shrinking world in the past decade is the advent of democracy in many contexts previously deemed inhospitable due to a lack of certain prerequisites. For example, democratic transitions of varying degrees have been undertaken in over half of Africa’s countries. While the routinization of competitive electoral processes gives reason to be hopeful regarding prospects for stable democratic governance, the long-term consolidation of democratic rule is an even more challenging undertaking. In this vein, many in the international donor community have chosen to promote and support local associations as the building blocks...

    • Improving Women’s Health in Mali: Research, Policy Review, and Recommendations
      (pp. 321-348)
      Nancy Mezey

      This chapter discusses how a democratized Mali might address issues concerning women’s health care. The chapter begins with an overview of two approaches to understanding health care issues—a social-psychological model and a social-structural model, which is used in more recent research of women’s health care issues.¹ Following this overview, I present the results of my own field research in Mali concerning the gender differences in pharmaceutical use and purchases in rural Mali. I also discuss the limited information available on past and current health care initiatives in Mali. Finally, I discuss policies for improving women’s health in Mali and...

    • Prospects for Development and Democracy in West Africa: Agrarian Politics in Mali
      (pp. 349-366)
      R. James Bingen

      In the course of an exploratory research activity in southern Mali during 1992, I witnessed an especially heated confrontation between an older farmer and a representative from one of the country’s parastatal crop production agencies. The farmer was one of the local leaders for the new union of cotton farmers, the Malian Union of Cotton and Food Crop Producers (SYCOV).¹ Over the next three years, I had the opportunity to learn more and write about this union and its role in agricultural policy making and research.²

      Most of this work focused on the relationship between key organizational features and SYCOV’s...

  10. Epilogue

    • Malian Democracy: A Continuing Process for the Quest of Perfection
      (pp. 369-376)
      Cheick Oumar Diarrah

      The Third Malian Republic¹ is based on a commitment by the country’s political leaders to build a dynamic democracy grounded on the rule of law and respect for human rights. The choice of these leaders to promote a democratic and pluralist society stems from their belief in the values of democracy, and their conviction that only effective participation of the population in the management of the country can help the development process.

      Mali’s democratic movement was born out of a unique confluence of economic, political, and social crises. Efforts were made during the Second Republic to work with the World...

  11. About the Contributors
    (pp. 377-380)