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The African Democratic Rally (French: Rassemblement Démocratique Africain, commonly known as the RDA) was a political party in French West Africa, led by Félix Houphouët-Boigny. Founded in Bamako in 1946, the RDA quickly became one of the most important forces for independence in the region. Initially a Pan-Africanist movement, the RDA ceased to function as a Pan-African party as Houphouët-Boigny turned hostile towards the idea of African federalism. Splinter groups of the RDA remain active in the politics of Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire, Chad, Niger, Senegal, and Burkina Faso.



In the 1940s, the French faced increasing resistance to their rule in West Africa. Following negotiations in 1944 between Free France and colonial representatives, the French government issued the Brazzaville Declaration. While insisting on French sovereignty, the document also granted the colonies semi-autonomous assemblies and the rights of full French citizens.

Formation and dominance

In 1946, the new Fourth Republic constitution allowed African representatives to set in the Paris's National Assembly. A number of nationalist parties came together to form the RDA at a congress in Bamako on October 18–21, 1946. The call for the Bamako congress came from the GEC in Dakar.

Initially RDA was politically radical, with ties to the French Communist Party (PCF). Under Houphouët-Boigny's leadership RDA turned increasingly moderate and pro-France. The link to PCF was broken in 1951[1].

Sections of RDA included

RDA ceased to function as a pan-African party as Houphouët-Boigny turned hostile towards the idea of African federalism. Many of its former sections still use RDA in combination with their own names.

Prominent Members


  1. ^ Samuel Decalo. Historical Dictionary of Niger (3rd ed.). Scarecrow Press, Boston & Folkestone, (1997) ISBN 0810831368 pp. 242, 317
  2. ^ a b c d e Mazrui, Ali A., and Christophe Wondji. Africa since 1935. General history of Africa, 8. Oxford: James Currey, 1999. p. 210
  • Davidson, Basil. Africa in History. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.


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