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The Features of the 1956 Loi Cadre Reforms in French West Africa

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Here comes an outline of the main features of the 1956 Loi Cadre (Outline Law) reforms in French West Africa.


As a result of certain political developments which took place between 1946 and 1956, the French introduced further reforms under the Loi-Cadre or Outline Law of 1956. Under the Loi-Cadre, the French passed a number of decrees to transfer more powers to their colonial territories.

The French also gave consideration to the issue of self-government for the colonies in the light of developments taking place within the territories and in the neighboring British territories.

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Features of the Loi Cadre reforms

1. Territorial Assemblies

Under the Loi-Cadre reforms, the Territorial Assemblies were given increased legislative powers to pass laws on a wide range of areas including taxation, education, agriculture, customary matters etc.

2. Territorial Executive/Executive Council

Each territory was given a territorial executive or Executive Council whose members were elected by the territorial assembly. Until 1958, the governor presided over the Territorial Executive. Some Africans were also appointed as ministers.

3. The Grand Council

The Grand Council now acted as a coordinating body, coordinating the services common to all the territories and deliberating on matters referred to it by the territorial assemblies.

4. Group of Territories

The name of the Federation of French West Africa was changed to Group of Territories.

5.The Post of Governor-General

The position of the Governor-General was abolished and his functions were taken over by the High Commissioner.

6. Electoral Reform

The Electoral College system of 1946 was abolished and universal adult suffrage introduced.

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