Neocolonialism or Empowerment? France’s Approach to Bilateral Debt Reduction

22/02/2017, 13:00 - 14:00


The School of Modern Languages is hosting the first in a series of international development lectures in conjunction with the Conflict, Development and Disaster research theme. This lecture will be given by Professor Gordon Cumming (School of Modern Languages).

Unlike other Northern creditors, France did not go beyond the 1999 Cologne terms and write off bilateral debts owed by African and other developing countries. Instead, France introduced a 5 billion euro refinancing facility, the C2D, which was labelled ‘empowering’ by French officials and ‘neocolonial’ by African civil society. Drawing on almost 30 interviews and an innovative methodological framework, this papers explains how and why this instrument is less neocolonial and more empowering than its accusers claim. It also homes in on the C2Ds in Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire and uses these cases to challenge the presumed dichotomy between neocolonialism and empowerment.

Having begun his career in Africa Research Department of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Gordon Cumming is now Professor of Language-Based Area Studies at Cardiff University. A fellow of the Royal Historical Society and Institute of Commonwealth Studies, he has served as a Professeur Invité at the Centre d’Etudes d’Afrique Noire, Bordeaux, and at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Lyons. He has published extensively on French, British and European foreign and development policies as well as on civil society capacity-building. With support from research funding bodies, he has written books including Aid to Africa (2001), French NGOs in the Global Era (2009) and New Approaches to the Challenges of Africa (2011). He is currently on the Steering Group of Cardiff University’s Phoenix Project and engaged in an ESRC-funded capacity-building project with Welsh development NGOs.

Please note the lecture will start at 13:10.

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1.23, School of Modern Languages
66a Park Place
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Conflict, Development and Disaster Seminar Series