The African Democratic Rally which was also known as the Rassemblement Democratique Africain (RDA) was the first Pan-African and French-speaking organization. It was created in 1946, in Bamako, Sudan (now known as Mali), when different African anti-colonialists and nationalist movements were rapidly growing during the World War II.
During 1945, the French Fourth Republic granted a special right to its African colonies that allowed them to send their representatives to the French National Assembly in Paris. These representatives always campaigned to abolish colonial rules and forced labor, and that is why they decided to join hands to get maximum assembly votes and get greater political influence through social work and debate. They also worked hard to create a Pan-African movement that will work across the various borders of the French African Colonies.
The representatives of the African colonies arranged a conference in Bamako during 18th to 21st of October 1946, under the strict leaderships of Felix Houphouet-Boigny, founder of the Democratic Party of the Ivory Coast (PDCI) and the representative of the Ivory Coast at the French National Assembly. They all named their organization as Rassemblement Democratique Africain (RDA).
The main objectives of RDA included the union of all Africans across the continent without considering any religion, social status, political inclination or ethnicity. The RDA also worked hard to fight against assimilation and colonial domination. The organization also sought different ways for the promotion of African culture and its unique civilization like an African organization based on African conditions and led by Africans to serve Africa. However, RDA didn’t reject any union with France, and various ideas were discussed to improve severe conditions of African that included the establishment of colleges and universities, increased trade between different colonies, free health care facilities and freedom for labor unions.
The RDA always remained a good old French-African organization, despite being the one that worked only for African unity. All the members of the organization were from French Equatorial Africa (AEF) and French West Africa (AOF) regions. But there were cases when help was taken from the leaders of French West Indies. RDA was always a single political organization but was committed as a great network of local parties that followed the Pan-African ideals. This organization was also strongly interlinked with the French Communist Party and at various times had the support of French government.
After many French-African colonies had gained independence during the era of 1960, there came a disagreement between the members of the organization that somehow weakened its roots, and after sixty years of its founding, the RDA is still surviving in Africa under the PDCI-RDA banner in the Ivory Coast and the Sudanese Union in Mali.