Part or chapter of a book
The Culture Bank in West Africa: Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Development
African Heritage Challenges. Communities and Sustainable Development
Singapore : Palgrave Macmillan
235 - 264 p.
West Africa, cultural heritage, sustainable development, micro-credit loans, illicit trafficking
Created by a Peace Corps member in 1997 in the Malian village of Fombori, the Culture Bank is composed of three complementary elements: it protects the cultural heritage from illicit trafficking through a museum, promotes sustainable local development through the provision of micro-credit loans, and benefits the broader community through an education center. Supported by several international organizations (World Bank, ICCROM), the Culture Bank initiative embodies the paradox of cultural heritage and development projects torn between the local and global scales, and between local communities and international organizations. Exported into Togo and Benin after 2007, these banks reveal the unexpected results of international programs (e.g., World Heritage listing) on local initiatives. They also highlight fundamental misunderstandings between the French actors engaged in cultural heritage protection and those involved in sustainable development in West Africa. Ultimately, their case raises questions about the disappearance of the ‘Southern State’ as an interlocutor for funding partners.