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Planning and damming: know-how, logistics, and organization of Italian corporates in Africa


Year published: 2021
Categories: Journal Article

Author / Authors:

  • Filippo De Dominicis
  • Cristina Pallini


Planning Perspectives, DOI: 10.1080/02665433.2021.1929422


This contribution offers a new perspective on the planning of post-colonial Africa focusing on the role of Italy. Weak and underdeveloped due to significant war losses, Italy could not rely on the investment potential of its Atlantic allies. Moreover, after WWII, its political influence across the continent had substantially reduced to zero. Yet, it emerged as an unexpected outsider whose eccentric – and somehow contradictory – position has been often largely underestimated. The peculiarity of the Italian condition, in fact, has been crucial to implement and put the Atlantic developmental vision in practice. To some extents, Italy has been the veritable builder of post-colonial Africa, first as a free-lance actor and then as a partner of the global agencies (IBRD, UNESCO) involved in the re-making of the continent. How could a nation substantially underdeveloped like Italy emerge as one of the leaders in implementing development planning actions abroad, although not being directly involved in decision-making process? This paper aims at answering these questions focusing on logistical, organizational and planning competences deployed by Italian corporates and technicians during the construction of four African major dams, between 1956 and 1966


  • Journal Article