Partnership Aargau-Nigeria

Partnership Aargau-Nigeria
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  1 Steve Page, University of Fribourg, SwitzerlandPaper for Summer School in Contemporary History, arhus ugust 1! th  "ugust #$ th  #$$%& Transnational  Perspectives on Contemporary History – Americanization, Cold War and Foreign Aid. Partnership Aargau-Nigeria 'his paper deals with an aspect of the relation between Switzerland and (igeria, two countries having in common a federalist structure& )efore 1*+*, when the cantons regions- agreed to surrender a larger part of their sovereignty, Switzerland had not had any effective national government 1 & s (igeria was still under .nglish rule but also preparing its independence for 1%!$ and aware of the social, economic and cultural antagonisms within its  population, the only reasonable way of shaping the future government appeared to be the federalist principle with a (orthern region, a /estern and an .astern one& 'he case presented here ta0es place in the very first years of (igerian independence and concerns precisely the canton of argau in Switzerland and the .astern region of (igeria& )efore eplaining three ma2or aspects of the Partnership argau"(igeria P(-, we will shortly present the pro2ect and its initiators& few months before the independence, Prime 3inister of the .astern region 3ichael 40para, 2ourneyed in .ngland and Switzerland, mainly to spea0 about development needs and to eplain his epectations toward the host country& For the Swiss government made it clear that they could not officially receive regional authorities of a country that still did not legally eist, the visit finally succeeded through the steps of a trading firm& Prime 3inister 40para also focused his interest on industries and, among others on a factory located in the canton of argau, to which he ordered some gas turbines& s he was about to leave that place, two members of the 5outh parliament of argau approached him and promised their support for the creation of a professional training center in his country& 6t was already planed to ma0e a collection for that purpose and spend a half of it to facilitate the venue of some (igerian apprentices for a twelve to eighteen months practice in regional optic, iron or tetile industries& 6n 1%!7, eight people too0 this opportunity and came closely in contact with the  population, as they were hosted by inhabitants of little cities& Swiss local press reported very  positively about the whole eperience8 teachers, host families, as well as trainees would share 1For more details, see8 ndreas 9ley, :)undesstaat; , http8<<www&hls"dhs"dss&ch<tetes<d<=%*$1&php, >une #? th #$$%&  #this point of view& n article also stated that after they returned home, these eight people  became teachers in training centers& #  'he transnational dimension of our sub2ect can be assumed if we consider that none of the main actors were acting on behalf of a national government& 7  From then on, our first part focuses on the initiators, their motivations and the support they received& 4ur second part aims to evaluate what role the Swiss national administration played, then the last part eplains the preoccupations of some people toward the eclusive character of that aid& I. A popular action with broad local engagement and support  Popular implication and cultural dimension of this action have to be underlined& 6n early 1%!$, nearly a year after its foundation, the 5outh parliament of argau appealed to a greater Swiss contribution to development aid +  and too0 a stand in favor of a Swiss membership of the Council of .urope& ccording to a @young deputeA, one of the main intent would be the opportunity to help underdeveloped countries threatened by communism and offer them an alternative to the @Coca"Cola cultureA& B  Conseuently, a commission for 'echnical development aid was created in order to construct a pro2ect&s the presence of Prime 3inister 40para had offered an opportunity of action and helped to draw guidelines, the pro2ect was first announced to the public on a conference in September& mong the spea0ers, a representative of the (igerian students epressed his gratitude for the aid promised to his country& Deporting on the conference, a daily newspaper organized a successful drawing contest for children on the theme @(egroA& fter the regional government of argau gave its permission for the necessary collection, an entity gathering  personalities from political, economical, religious as well as educational circles was founded and proceeded by posting 1$$E$$$ brochures to the inhabitants of the canton and placing money boes in 1E+$$ stores& 'he sum collected would be 2udged satisfactory and eight .astern (igerians came to argau in 1%!7& t that time in Switzerland, apart from 6talian wor0ers, Hungarian refugees or university #  Badener Tagblatt  , )aden, ugust #$ th  1%!+&7ccording to 9eohane and (ye, transnational applies when we rela the assumption that states are the only units& See8 Dobert 4& 9eohane  >oseph S& (ye 8  Power and nterdependence & 'hird .dition, Gongman, (ew"5or0, #$$1, p& #1&+Commission for technical development aid, argovian 5outh parliament8  A!tion "igeria  brochureI& >anuary 1%!1& Cantonal rchives argau C- J/1%*#&$$$#&BDeported by8  Badener Tagblatt  , )aden, 3arch #1 st  1%!$&  7students of diverse srcins !  the presence of foreigners, and specifically of fricans was uite noneistent in the countryside and in little cities& So it seemed reasonable to prepare carefully the arrival of the few trainees by informing the population about the frican and (igerian mentality& For that reason, a paper which contained twelve general hints was drafted, then special ones intended to employers and wor0ers, and others specifically addressed to host families were published& 6t began stating that @(igerians are different from usA by their srcin, history, etc& 'he frican would rather rely on emotion than reason and his strong religiosity reuires comprehension and tolerance& From this would result a 2oyful nature, a welcome empathy with children but also a 0ind of daring with women, who are called for not being too  provocative& 6n addition to these statements of differences between frican and Swiss mentality, the document pointed out that the trainees had to be considered as eual as local  people and not as belonging to another race& Such a principle of euality in diversity was  2oined by a warning against generalization employers and wor0ers were epected to have an eemplary behavior, because (igerians would etend a bad eperience to the whole Swiss  people or to the @white raceA& 4n their turn, the trainees were made aware that @in every country there are cultured and ignorant, refined and discourteous people Switzerland is no eceptionA& 'hese few ambiguities about the principle of race are to be contetualized in the debate ta0ing place in the after war period as before being strictly re2ected as biological concept, @raceA was first replaced by the @far preferableA notion of @ethnic groupA, which was a simple substitute& ?  lthough in the 1%!$s the debate was engaged, a general confusion still remained&6t appears that some intentions of the organizers went beyond the professional teaching in a friendly atmosphere for eample, trainees should learn that there is a close relation between wor0, salary and social level& 3oreover, they should understand the structure of the Swiss civilization, its free economy and the principle of constitutional state& 'hese elements may be compared to the typical image that Switzerland li0ed to give of itself by the means of  propaganda& @/e have learned a lot and in the right wayA& 'his declaration of a (igerian trainee after !bout immigration in Switzerland, see8 3arcel Heiniger8 @.inwanderungA& 6n8  Historisc#es $e%i!on der &c#weiz.  http8<<www&hls"dhs"dss&ch<tetes<f<F?%%1&php, 3ay #$ th  #$$%&?Pierre Centlivres8 @Dace, Dacisme et nthropologieA& 6n8  nt'gration et (%cl)sion. (t)des et &o)rces, *ev)e des Arc#ives F'd'rales &)isses , nK#%, Haupt Lerlag, )ern #$$7, pp& 17"+#&  +his stay in canton argau became the headline of a whole page in a local newspaper which reported on the final results of the pro2ect& .ven though cultural adaptation, especially toward host families, was described as a little bit problematic in the beginning, it was uic0ly overcome& Professional teachers reported a strong interest of the (igerian trainees for detail, what was not to be criticized but reuired a lot of time availability& 'he pro2ect was globally considered positively, either in the professional or in the social sectors& 6t was also underlined that it was due to popular solidarity without big support of state, national commission or other  bureaucratic entity, and was based on private and efficient initiative& *  Until the period in which Partnership argau"(igeria too0 place, Swiss development aid on national level was very modest and eclusively characterized by financial contributions from the =epartment of .conomy to private pro2ects& From 1%!$ onward, an increasing interest for developmental matters and a multiplication of initiatives have been observed& %  t that time, the Federal administration had 2ust created the Service for technical cooperation in the Political department corresponding to a national ministry of Foreign affairs- 1$ & Moals and means of this new entity were already discussed by civil servants and diplomats 11  the sub2ect of development aid was also more debated in the Parliament& lthough private initiatives multiplied, they were mostly collections in favor of pro2ects or emergency cases abroad than those including practices in Switzerland with such a cultural dimension li0e P(& Unless this  pro2ect was due to local and private initiative, it must be specified that its fulfillment was not totally isolated from the attention of the Federal administration& II. Swiss national administration on the fringe /e have said that the visit of Prime 3inister 40para did not bear any official character, for  both reasons that first, (igeria had not been recognized yet, and second, that the visitor did not fulfill any national mandate&  further underlying factor for this attitude was the shivering Swiss public opinion toward foreign relations and diplomacy, relying on the popular image of *  Badener Tagblatt  , )aden, ugust #$ th  1%!+&%DenN Holenstein8 Was !+mmert )ns die ritte Welt. -)r esc#ic#te der internationalen &olidarit/t in der &c#weiz  & Chronos, JOrich 1%%*, p& 7!&1$'his would be later renamed @=epartment of foreign affairsA&11Cf&  Assistance tec#ni0)e a)% pays so)s1d'velopp's & Communication of the Swiss Political department to the Swiss representations abroad, >anuary * th  1%!$, =iplomatic =ocuments of Switzerland, www&dodis&ch, =o=iS"1BB!7-, >une #? th  #$$%& Gater, the discussion will also include trade and academic circles& bout that discussion, see8  Proc2s1verbal de Arbeitsgr)ppe 3+r #istorisc#e &tandortbestimm)ng4 5 r)nds/tzlic#e  Aspe!te einer sc#weizerisc#en (ntwic!l)ngs#il3e 6 , September #7 rd  1%!7, =o=iS"7$#7B-&  Bneutrality and general stinginess& 1#  ll the same the Service for technical cooperation did not fail to 0eep itself informed and reported its =epartment about impressions and epectations of 40para, who mainly epressed a need of financial support and 0now"how on one hand, the latter could be satisfied by sending Swiss eperts to (igeria, on the other hand, improving the  professional formation& 'his report came in a time while the Swiss national administration was still in a phase of reorganization and reflection in terms of development aid& Concerning  (igeria, one of the most regularly consulted people was of course the Swiss consul in Gagos,  but there was also another civil servant named .dwin Stopper& )oth of them spo0e at the  public conference announcing the P( pro2ect in 1%!$, that is why 6 propose now to consider their vision on development aid options for (igeria&.dwin Stopper was an economist who had been active for over twenty years in ban0ing, in employerEs unions and in foreign trade on the private as well as the public level& His si years mandate as Swiss =elegate for trade agreements led him to be chosen for eplorations of /est"frica in order to adumbrate the future of the territories which were about to become independent and to define the position to be adopted by Switzerland& )ac0 from his trip,  basing himself on the interviews he made with (igeiran officials, he reported that the new country would mainly need investments, foreign aid in education, agriculture and administration& 17  He described @the fricanA li0e someone who had 2ust left childhood than0s to the .uropean education and was now claiming for independence& /hile searching a way to solve his problems, communism could appear to him li0e an attractive system which showed  positive economic results in Dussia and China& 6n StopperEs view, what made frica significant in world politics was less its economic weight than the laboratory it represented for testing both .astern and /estern ideological influences& 6t would stay a dependent continent, because it would not improve its development alone and isolated& Switzerland should coordinate its public and private aid with that of .urope, pointing out that the priority sector was training and 0now"how transmission& .dwin StopperEs impressions about (igeria in particular showed an immoderate optimism while describing it as preparing itself for an harmonious transition to independence, following a conservative /est"friendly policy and 1#See8 Claude ltermatt8  $es d'b)ts de la diplomatie pro3essionnelle en &)isse 4 789:918;8:< . .d& universitaires, Fribourg 1%%$& 17'rip report of .dwin Stopper, February 1%!$& SF, .#$$7"$7"-1%!<++<1%+&
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