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Beyond Francophonie? The Senegambia Confederation in Retrospect

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Abstract

The Senegambia confederation (1982–9) merits inclusion in a collection of studies of francophone Africa for two reasons. First, it provides the only example of a political union between an independent French and English-speaking African country. Earlier unions were either symbolic gestures — the Union of African States (Ghana-Guinea-Mali) — or the political amalgamation of colonial territories as part of the independence process, as with Cameroon and Somalia. The Senegambia Confederation constituted an important test case of the ability of countries created from different colonial systems to come together in a lasting political association. Secondly, it formed a bridge between the francophone and anglophone groupings in West Africa, the experience of which may have a useful bearing on the long-term evolution of the francophone bloc.

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  • Foreign Policy
  • Monetary Union
  • Custom Union
  • Security Force
  • External Relation

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Notes

  1. For a survey of earlier relations between Senegal and The Gambia see, inter alia, A. Hughes, ‘Senegambia revisited, or changing Gambian perceptions of integration with Senegal’ in R.C. Bridges (ed.), Senegambia (University of Aberdeen, 1974), pp. 139–70; and J.C. Senghor, ‘Politics and the functional strategy to international integration: Gambia in Senegambian integration’ (Unpublished PhD, Yale University, 1979).

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  2. H.J. Van Mook et al, Report on the Alternatives for Association between The Gambia and Senegal (Bathurst: Government Printer, 1964).

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  3. For details see The Senegalo-Gambian Permanent Secretariat: Historical Background (Banjul: Archives/Documentation Centre, Senegalo-Gambian Permanent Secretariat, (? 1982).

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  4. For general accounts of Senegal’s foreign policy, see W.E.A. Skurnik, The Foreign Policy of Senegal (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1972); S. Gellar, Senegal: an African Nation between Islam and the West (London; Gower 1983), pp. 67–85; and R. Mortimer ‘From Federation to Francophonia: Senghor’s African Policy’ African Studies Review XV, 2 (Sept. 1972) 283–306.

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  5. Hughes, op. cit., 151; Africa Contemporary Record XVIII, 1985–86 (New York: Africana Publishing Company, 1987) B 151. SOTIBA (Textile Corporation) claimed it lost 10 billion francs CFA a year alone.

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  6. President Abdou Diouf, Confederation Day Address, 1 February 1988; Pierre Diouf (Secretary-General, Senegambia Executive) ‘Regional Cooperation at Work’, The Courier no. 107, Jan.–Feb. 1988, 43–4.

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  7. Africa Contemporary Record XVII, 1984–85, B 448 and B 450–1; Wal Fadjri no. 25, 12–26 avril 1985 ‘Dakar sacrifices its ambassador on the altar of the Treaty.’

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  8. K.M. Bayo ‘Mass orientation and regional integration: environmental variations in Gambian orientations towards Senegambia’ (unpublished PhD thesis, Northwestern University, 1977) Table V, 1, 162; and I.B. Omole, ‘De la coopération à la confédération: la Sénégambie: Contribution à l’analyse du thème d l’intégration politique régionale en Afrique’ (Thèse de doctorat de 3me cycle, Université de Bordeaux, 1986) 245–50. Bayo, interviewing in 1975–6, found that only 13.3 per cent of Gambians favoured political integration (union) with Senegal. Omole’s smaller sample, ten years later, revealed continued strong resistance to union with Senegal: 89 per cent of his sample wanted confederation to ‘continue slowly’. Both writers observed that opposition to political ties with Senegal remained strongest in the Banjul area.

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  12. In 1984 West Africa as a whole accounted for only 6 per cent of Senegal’s external trade — Africa South of the Sahara 1988 (London: Europa Publications, 1988), p. 837.

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  18. Cited in Bayo, op. cit., 62.

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  19. Interview with President Jawara, West Africa, 12–18 February 1990.

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© 1995 Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited

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Hughes, A., Lewis, J. (1995). Beyond Francophonie? The Senegambia Confederation in Retrospect. In: Kirk-Greene, A., Bach, D. (eds) State and Society in Francophone Africa since Independence. St Antony’s/Macmillan Series. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-349-23826-2_15

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