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Title: Power and the neglect of local geographies in Uganda : a critique of the World Bank approach to development
Author: Bazimya, Peter Butera
ISNI:       0000 0001 3452 2593
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2004
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Combining a critical engagement of the World Bank development discourse with examples of how it is conducted and operated in Uganda, the central objective of this thesis is to stimulate new thanking and social action that pays due regard for local spaces and localities (localisms) of disparities, inequalities, and concentration rather than distribution created by power and imbalance. Taking development as a local geographic product of autonomy that neither involves creditors telling recipients how their development should proceed, nor requires their approval and endorsement, the thesis critically explores key themes in African experiences of development highlighting the contested and exclusionary nature of the World Bank development discourse and the manner in which it has become manifest in the myriad efforts to bring development to the majority poor in Uganda. Specifically, the conceptual and empirical contribution focussed on questions of the World Bank power in the neoliberal reform policies and Bujagali Hydropower Project in Uganda. First, in order to document the perceptions or opinions of those for whom development is (purportedly) undertaken, responses to document reviews and field interviews with community elders, residents, tour operators, fishermen, World Bank field staff, American Energy Suppliers (AES) Bujagali Project staff, and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are part of the thesis data base. Second, the Bujagali Hydropower Project as a case study demonstrates that social movements can become a site of empowerment through successful community mobilization (inclusion) and informed engagement with political structures. Third, findings in these areas suggest that (1) World Bank reforms are driven by World Bank power, economic and financial concerns, and donor conditionalities; (2) closed political processes and politically powerful groups constrain attention to sustainable development objectives; (3) donor agencies have initiated reforms and advocated attention to environmental concerns, but have been hampered by past reputation and a perception of favouring private interests: a, (4) public benefits need to be factored into reform design early and backed by political commitment. The message of the thesis is that the mainstream discussions of development in Africa remain saturated with Eurocentric assumptions. To the extent that the World Bank reform policies conceal part of a long history of economic exploitation, political extraversión and cultural suppression, gross inequalities of wealth and power that, in turn, serve to legitimate neo-hberal programmes, they lack in the realms of state capacity, empowerment and participation, and democracy. In conclusion, the concerns with localism and localization are issues which shift the development discussion forward to focus on the contested discourses of community, the exclusionary politics of locality and the transformatory potential of social movements that break from technocratic practices. The thesis calls for an engaged policy maker who seeks to find solutions to issues of inequality, inequity, disparity and social justice rather than simply record and describe them.
Supervisor: Waley, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available