Rural transformations in Sub-Saharan Africa - histories of future-making

David Anderson (University of Warwick)
Maxmillian Chuhila (University of Dar Es Salaam )
David Hume, Lecture Theatre B
Thursday 13 June, 8:45-10:30

Short abstract:

This panel examines the future visions of past development. Has rural development achieved the outcomes intended? How do local communities perceive the outcome of past schemes? What connections are seen between sequential schemes? What factors are responsible for the disruptions to development?

Long abstract:

All development interventions in rural Africa are motivated by notions of making a better future. But does development succeed in creating the new communities and new economies that its planners envision? Do rural communities embrace such ideas to anticipate the 'benefits' of development in their daily lives? And to what extent have rural development interventions fulfilled the expectations of the planners, the implementers, and the communities who receive its 'gift'? This panel will look at the history of development planning in rural Africa, sketching out the visions of past schemes and evaluating their relative success in achieving the transformations they intended. The focus will be both on individual projects or programmes (viewed as 'events'), and upon the sequence of development interventions in a specific location (viewed as 'processes'). What constrains such schemes in their implementation, and are there any wider patterns to be drawn from comparing experience in different parts of the continent and across time? Has more recent development learned how to make better futures from its past experience? Are development schemes connected by common factors, and to what extent are their failures to do with disruptions that lie beyond the visions of their planners? The papers will span the past century, to include colonial development initiatives from the 1920s, up to the current trend for public-private partnerships in 'corridor development' programmes.