Large Water Projects and Conflicted Territorial Identities in Sub-Saharan Africa: the Case of the Development of the Senegal River

This project aims to survey the case of the development of the Senegal River project and interrogate its impacts on the redefinition of territorial, cultural and historical identities.
Project status

Large hydro-dams and large-scale irrigation projects are contentious modernisation projects, heavily criticised for their impact in terms of community displacements and degradation of ecosystems. They disrupt the means of living of the many while seldom realising the benefits promised by their promoters; currently, under the pretext of energy sustainability and food security, there is a revival of these projects. This project aims to understand how development initiatives aimed at contributing to the economic growth of a country can destabilise local communities, create or reinforce income and gender inequalities, trigger a spiral of violence and reduce the well-being of people. The research team will seek to interrogate impact, not using the usual technical and economic criteria, but doing so in terms of dignity, self-esteem and self-organisation and how territorial, cultural and historical identities can be redefined by large-scale development projects.

Principal Investigator: Dr Xavier Lemaire, University College London 

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