Rahmane Idrissa

Rahmane Idrissa, who teaches at Leiden University, is the author of The Politics of Islam in the Sahel: Between Persuasion and Violence and a Historical Dictionary of Niger. He is writing a history of the Songhay empire.


Rahmane Idrissa, 24 February 2022

The coup​ in Burkina Faso on 24 January which forced the resignation of President Roch Kaboré led to some celebrations in Ouagadougou, but on the whole the response was measured. Burkina has a legalistic political culture. The popular insurrection that brought an end to the previous regime, in 2014, was driven by anger: President Blaise Compaoré had failed to prosecute anyone for...

Countries without Currency: The CFA Franc

Rahmane Idrissa, 2 December 2021

Colonialism began​ as a mercantilist enterprise, with companies establishing trading posts along the ocean coastlines in the warm waters of the tropics. They used whichever medium of exchange was most expedient for trade. Both local currencies and commodities – shells, for instance, and doubloons – were acceptable tokens. All were trade currencies, not sovereign currencies, valid...

From The Blog
9 April 2021

Last year in Dakar, running an errand near Sandaga market in the centre of town, I came across an armoured personnel carrier belonging to the police, parked on avenue Emile Badiane. Street vendors were lounging against the flanks of the vehicle; their trinkets were spread on the charcoal grey metal. The police sat around, helmets off, eating peanuts and trading pleasantries with passers-by. For someone like me from Niamey in Niger, this resembled a scene from a fairy-tale.

Diary: In Mali

Rahmane Idrissa, 2 July 2020

As it​ usually is in September, Dakar was sweltering and sticky. I’d come to examine back issues of the Bulletin de l’Institut fondamental français d’Afrique noire in the National Archives, looking for material on the Songhay empire. For some reason, BIFAN, the most important scientific journal of Francophone black Africa, isn’t available online. Songhay was...

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