chapter  6
Planning power in French Equatorial Africa and Madagascar
Pages 23

I now pass from the Federation of French West Africa (FWA) to the Federation of French Equatorial Africa (FEA), and Madagascar. The two federations, FWA and FEA, differed considerably not only in geographical terms but also, and more importantly for the purpose of the present discussion, in the level of attention each received from the metropolitan authorities. For its part, Madagascar was administered as a separate colonial entity. French Equatorial Africa (FEA) was virtually ignored in relative and absolute terms until the twilight of the colonial epoch. In fact, the region constituted a source of embarrassment to French colonial authorities because of its poor living conditions occasioned by a lack of basic infrastructure. French colonial offi cials stationed in Brazzaville, the administrative capital of FEA, across the Congo River from and within plain view of Léopoldville in neighbouring Belgian Congo, often recounted tales of the acrid pinch of relative deprivation they had to endure. The French colonial offi cials in Brazzaville had to live in makeshift housing lacking even basic services while their Belgian contemporaries across the river enjoyed living conditions approximating what they were used to in Europe.