Policy Of Association | French Colonial Administrations

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The Policy Of Association

The policy of association was developed in place of assimilation and by 1958 the policy of assimilation had been completely abandoned.

Association was a political arrangement by which France granted some measure of autonomy to its former colonial territories. Through this policy France was able to secure the cooperation of the people and he made greater use of their political institutions. Under the policy, every citizen was accorded citizenship status, the people were given more say in the running of their own affairs and a new relationship based on the separate political identity of each territory was developed.

Reasons for the Introduction of the Policy of Association in French West Africa

  • The level of nationalist activities in West Africa increased after the Second World War and this forced France to abandon the policy of assimilation.
  • The rise of President De Gaule the power and the determination of his administration to replace assimilation with association.
  • The policy of assimilation was costly to administer because it was a direct administration which required large sum of money.
  • Those that benefited from the system later turned around to criticize it.

Features of the Policy of Association

  • Association granted some autonomy to the people, recognise the authority of traditional rulers as well as used some other natives in the administration of the local areas.
  • It decentralized the political structure, and allowed each local territory to develop at its own pace.
  • The Africans, no longer regarded as French citizens, but as inferior people, subjected to dehumanizing experience such as forced labour.
  • The policy prepared the people for the forming of political parties in the French West African colonies.
  • It created local national assemblies for the people of the various colonies to discuss their affairs.
  • It abolished compulsory military service and the indigenous policy.
  • The policy recognised the cultural diversity of the people.
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