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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Re-engineering rural society: the visions and ambitions of the Rwandan elite
Author:Ansoms, AnISNI
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society
Geographic term:Rwanda
Subjects:rural development
political elite
rural planning
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/27667123
Abstract:This article analyses the Rwandan elite's visions and ambitions for a wide-ranging re-engineering of rural society. The post-1994 political elite has few links to rural society and the peasant way of life, and sees little room for small-scale peasant agriculture in Rwanda's economic future. The article shows how current Rwandan policymakers aim to realize three social engineering ambitions: first, to transform the agricultural sector into a professionalized motor for economic growth, centred on competitive and commercial farm units; second, to artificially upgrade rural life by inserting 'modern' techniques and strategies into local realities, while hiding true poverty and inequality; and, finally, to transform Rwanda into a target-driven society from the highest to the lowest level. The article points to the (potential) dangers, flaws, and shortcomings of this rural re-engineering mission, and illustrates how the State as the engineer 'hovers' above the local without consulting those affected. It concludes that contemporary policies are unlikely to be conducive to poverty reduction. The article is based on interviews conducted in 2007 with persons closely involved in poverty reduction, agricultural and land policies. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]