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Title: Translating rhetoric into practice? : the case of French aid to Cameroon
Author: Bomba Nkolo, Odile
ISNI:       0000 0004 6425 5707
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2016
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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.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: P Philology. Linguistics ; PB Modern European Languages ; PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia ; Africa ; Oceania