Proposal preview

Late Colonial and Post-colonial Development Aid in the Dynamics of ‘Re-globalization’

The history of development aid should be central to any analysis of decolonization and the re-emergence of economic liberalism (globalization) in the Western world. As they sought to take their place within a new post-colonial world order, new states sought external aid to fund their economic and social development and to make a reality of their new de jure independence. The collapse of empires, and creation of new states in urgent need of assistance, imposed new obligations on the international community, and gave rise to new international development programmes and agencies.

This panel aims to bridge the current gap in our knowledge and understanding of the connected histories of decolonization and globalization by bringing together current research on the history of development aid in the late colonial and post-colonial periods. Each panellist focuses on the continuities and discontinuities of aid/development relationships during the era of decolonization, and thereby examines both how the vertical ties between former colonial powers and their former colonies persisted into the post-colonial era, and how new associations and experiences overlaid them.

Through a series of archive-based studies of development aid that explore different ways in which established colonial relationships and hierarchies were recast in new contexts in the post-colonial era, panellists will present not only empirical analyses of development aid of each country (British and French policies, in particular), but also the latest findings on the internationalization of ‘colonial’ development knowledge and practice. In our session, we aim to show how decolonization constituted not only a crucial transitional moment in the re-emergence of globalization in the second half of the twentieth century but also how the dynamics of the decolonization process itself profoundly shaped the character and regional specificities of the first ‘waves’ of later twentieth-century (re-) globalization.

Organizer(s)

  • Ichiro Maekawa Soka University maekawa@soka.ac.jp Japan

Session members

  • Sarah Stockwell, King's College London
  • Joseph Hodge, West Virginia University
  • Gerold Krozewski, Osaka University
  • Véronique Dimier, Université Libre de Bruxelles

Discussant(s)

  • Gareth Austin University of Cambridge gma31@cam.ac.uk

Papers

Panel abstract

This panel aims to bridge the current gap in our knowledge and understanding of the connected histories of decolonization and globalization by bringing together current research on the history of development aid in the late colonial and post-colonial periods. Each panelist focuses on the continuities and discontinuities of aid/development relationships during the era of decolonization, and thereby examines both how the vertical ties between former colonial powers and their former colonies persisted into the post-colonial era, and how new associations and experiences overlaid them. Through a series of archive-based studies of development aid that explore different ways in which established colonial relationships and hierarchies were recast in new contexts in the post-colonial era, panelists will present not only empirical analyses of development aid of each country (British and French policies, in particular), but also the latest findings on the internationalization of ‘colonial’ development knowledge and practice.

1st half

Ichiro Maekawa_The threshing floor again_The Commonwealth Development Corporation in post-colonial Africa

Ichiro Maekawa, Soka University

The ‘post-colonial colony’? : British technical assistance to emergent Commonwealth states in Africa in an age of globalization

Sarah Stockwell, King’s College London

In the 1960s technical assistance became an increasingly important element of British overseas aid to Commonwealth Africa. This paper focuses on one of the principal instruments for the delivery of bilateral technical assistance: the Overseas Service Aid Scheme, inaugurated in 1961. By focusing on this largely-neglected aspect of British postcolonial aid, I aim to show how British technical assistance was shaped by the architecture and legacies of colonialism. The paper will provide new evidence of continuities in development practice between the colonial and postcolonial eras and of an on-going British role in ex-colonies, even as decolonisation, an important transitional step towards contemporary globalisation, enabled new states to source aid from a wider variety of sources and saw the emergence of new forms of international aid.

In the 1960s technical assistance became an increasingly important element of British overseas aid to Commonwealth Africa. This paper focuses on one of the principal instruments for the delivery of bilateral technical assistance: the Overseas Service Aid Scheme, inaugurated in 1961. By focusing on this largely-neglected aspect of British postcolonial aid, I aim to show how British technical assistance was shaped by the architecture and legacies of colonialism. The paper will provide new evidence of continuities in development practice between the colonial and postcolonial eras and of an on-going British role in ex-colonies, even as decolonisation, an important transitional step towards contemporary globalisation, enabled new states to source aid from a wider variety of sources and saw the emergence of new forms of international aid.

Technical assistance as imperialism? : The case of the European development fund

Véronique Dimier, Université Libre de Bruxelles

This paper deals with the European Development Fund, created in 1957 as part of the European Economic Community (EEC) arrangement (the Association) with the Overseas Countries and Territories (mainly French colonies in Sub-Saharan Africa), more precisely with the issue of technical assistance. The EDF meant to finance development projects in those territories. It was paid by the Member States of the EEC and was run by the European Commission, the supra-national body of the EEC. One of the tasks of the latter was to see to it that the firms of the Member states got an equal access to the EDF calls for tenders. As we will see in this paper, French firms got most of the contracts, even after those countries became independent. France, indeed, tried to protect its interests in the French preserve in Africa through very subtle, one may add, invisible means (the only way to bypass...

This paper deals with the European Development Fund, created in 1957 as part of the European Economic Community (EEC) arrangement (the Association) with the Overseas Countries and Territories (mainly French colonies in Sub-Saharan Africa), more precisely with the issue of technical assistance. The EDF meant to finance development projects in those territories. It was paid by the Member States of the EEC and was run by the European Commission, the supra-national body of the EEC. One of the tasks of the latter was to see to it that the firms of the Member states got an equal access to the EDF calls for tenders. As we will see in this paper, French firms got most of the contracts, even after those countries became independent. France, indeed, tried to protect its interests in the French preserve in Africa through very subtle, one may add, invisible means (the only way to bypass the very principles of competition it endorsed during the setting of the EEC). One of these means was technical assistance (i. e. helping African states to devise their projects), one of the best ways to guarantee that projects would fit one’s interest. Hence, within the EDF, guaranteeing the neutrality of technical assistance was to guarantee the principle of fair competition. This paper will mainly focus on this issue, which as we will see, came to oppose the French, German governments and the European Commission: it indeed embodies the whole issue of the Europeanisation of former French economic colonial space.

2nd half

Contexts of change in Britain’s approaches to overseas aid, 1947 to 1973

Gerold Krozewski, Osaka University

Aid policy can be examined in terms of its doctrine, implementation, and development impact, among others. However, approaches to aid also shifted according to the economic conditions and organization of donor states. This paper surveys the nexus between Britain’s aid policy and external economic relations between the late 1940s and the mid-1960s and explores the years 1968-73 in greater detail. In the late 1940s, aid was an integral part of the colonial development drive during Britain’s economic recovery. Economic liberalization, however, prompted the restructuring of colonial development finance in the mid-1950s, and the separation of aid from development policy. The Overseas Development Ministry of the mid-1960s attempted to establish a British aid doctrine for a post-imperial world. Yet the period after 1968 witnessed again a closer coordination between aid policy and British external economic policy. The oil crisis reinforced linkages between aid and the organization of Western economies more generally.

Aid policy can be examined in terms of its doctrine, implementation, and development impact, among others. However, approaches to aid also shifted according to the economic conditions and organization of donor states. This paper surveys the nexus between Britain’s aid policy and external economic relations between the late 1940s and the mid-1960s and explores the years 1968-73 in greater detail. In the late 1940s, aid was an integral part of the colonial development drive during Britain’s economic recovery. Economic liberalization, however, prompted the restructuring of colonial development finance in the mid-1950s, and the separation of aid from development policy. The Overseas Development Ministry of the mid-1960s attempted to establish a British aid doctrine for a post-imperial world. Yet the period after 1968 witnessed again a closer coordination between aid policy and British external economic policy. The oil crisis reinforced linkages between aid and the organization of Western economies more generally.

In the aftermath of empire: colonial experts, post-colonial careering and the decolonization of development, 1947-1997

Joseph Hodge, West Virginia University

The dissolution of the British Empire between 1947 and 1997 necessitated the repatriation or reassignment of at least 25,000 overseas civil servants. While some of these men and women were eligible for retirement most were mid-career civil servants, who found themselves looking for alternative livelihoods. This paper examines the last generation of colonial officials, who began their professional lives under the British Empire, but who subsequently transitioned to “post-colonial” careers. While these individuals gained employment in a number of sectors, from industry and commerce to diplomacy and security services, this study concentrates on those who became involved in international development. Their experiences reveal important continuities across the seemingly fundamental fracture of decolonization, and highlight the critical shift from late colonialism to development, which represented a process involving a redistribution not only of ideas and institutions, but also of people.

The dissolution of the British Empire between 1947 and 1997 necessitated the repatriation or reassignment of at least 25,000 overseas civil servants. While some of these men and women were eligible for retirement most were mid-career civil servants, who found themselves looking for alternative livelihoods. This paper examines the last generation of colonial officials, who began their professional lives under the British Empire, but who subsequently transitioned to “post-colonial” careers. While these individuals gained employment in a number of sectors, from industry and commerce to diplomacy and security services, this study concentrates on those who became involved in international development. Their experiences reveal important continuities across the seemingly fundamental fracture of decolonization, and highlight the critical shift from late colonialism to development, which represented a process involving a redistribution not only of ideas and institutions, but also of people.