This article explores how postwar British development in Africa was generated, transferred, and applied in the context of a series of wider networks. It examines the methods, pathways, and limits of this transnational approach to development. In the immediate postwar period, Britain had an entrenched institutional and historic knowledge of colonial governance, as well as many highly skilled practitioners with specialist knowledge of individual colonial territories. However, Britain had to enact its colonial policy within a wider context of European reconstruction and increasing American international power, as well as a growing impetus from the colonies themselves for self-government and independence. This article explores how Britain enacted colonial development policies within this series of overlapping networks, and argues that this context often—but not always—created an effective framework for development, even though British interests were often at odds with those of the other metropolitan powers. The Organisation for European Economic Cooperation and the Anglo-American “special relationship” are highlighted as specific forums within which British colonial development policy could be enacted, performed, and challenged. The article also considers some of the ongoing legacies of this networked approach to colonial development at the end of the Second World War, especially the ways in which the voices of donor countries have been prioritized over those of aid recipients.


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pp. 839-864
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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