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Migration in West Africa: a savanna village prespective

  • David A. Cleveland

Résumé

Devoir réagir sous la poussée démographique par migrations locales a toujours fait partie de l'histoire du Ghana du nord-est. Le colonialisme changea rigoureusement l e type de ces migrations, d'abord par force, puis par constrainte économique, en un mouvement de longues distances du nord-est du Ghana et des savannes du nord en général vers le Ghana du sud. Les migrations à leur tour eurent pour effet de déstabiliser Porganisation sociale, Pagriculture et le caractère démographique des communautés de la savanne. Bien que la politique coloniale n'ait pas toujours été uniforme, il semblerait y avoir eu une stratégie dominante avec un effet irréversible: le demembrement des communautés locales économiquement indépendantes et de la société locale afin d'encourager les migrations de main d'oeuvre, provenant en grande partie de cultures à peine auto-suffisantes, pour travailler dans l'agriculture commerciale, les mines et les travaux publics du sud. Ces secteurs étaient directement liés à l'économie européenne au profit de la Grande Bretagne. Les salaires peu élevés ainsi que les mauvaises conditions de travail encourageaient l a plupart des migrants a retourner dans leurs villages de savanne lorsqu'ils tombaient malades, se blessaient ou devenaient trop vieux pour travailler.

Lorsque le Ghana gagna son indépendance politique de la Grande Bretagne, cette nouvelle tendance des migrations était déjà fermement établie et maintenue par les changements presents dans le systéme social, système économique et celui des transports. Des observations zorses et de la région supérieure montrent qu'à n'importe quel moment donné les migrations emmenent environ 50 pourcent des homines en âge de travailler vers le sud du Ghana pour une durée d'un an ou plus. Une augmentation marquée de la proportion des dépendants en conséquence de cette migration signifie que chaque quatre adultes qui restent au pays doivent non seulement gagner leur pain mais aussi maintenir quatre dépendants au lieu des trois sans migration. Vu que les envois de fonds des migrant zorses ne comptent que pour une petite part de la valeur représentée par leur travail perdu, le résultat net de la migration sur le niveau de la consommation de nourriture de ceux qui restent au village sera determiné par l'équilibre entre l'augmentation de la productivité demandée de chacun des adultes travailleurs qui restent et le rendement diminué exigé du total des terres arables. Bien que je ne possède pas toutes les données vérifiables requises pour résoudre cette question, le témoignage des zorses non-migrants, la malnutrition chronique évidente, un décroissement à long terme de productivité des terres du à l'érosion et à l'insuffisance d'apports de matières organiques ainsi qu'à un serieux manque de main d'oeuvre durant les périodes critiques d'activités paysannes, suggèrent que le net effet des migrations est négatif pour les zorses. C'est-à-dire que ni l'augmentation en travail ou en rendement des terres ne va vraisemblablement compenser le taux plus élevé des dépendants.

Bien qu'on puisse peut-être dire que les migrants choisissent librement de partir, les chemins qui leur sont ouverts sont souvent détermines par les forces d'un système plus large en dehors de leur contrôle. Du côté positif, si un renversement des tendances établies par le colonialisme et renforcées par les développements économiques ‘modernes’ peut être éffectué, les connaissances pratiques, connaissances agricoles indigènes et les connaissances démographiques en Afrique peuvent fournir le point de départ pour un avenir viable.

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References

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