Governance and Nationbuilding

Governance and Nationbuilding

The Failure of International Intervention

Kate Jenkins and William Plowden

Governance and Nationbuilding describes how aid donors have attempted to improve the performance of government in developing countries and countries in crisis. Kate Jenkins and William Plowden review the widespread lack of success, tracing the history of international government intervention, the roles of donors and recipient countries, the ways in which expert advice and support have been provided, and the donors’ own evaluation of their work.

Chapter 2: Empire and Influence

Kate Jenkins and William Plowden

Subjects: development studies, development studies, politics and public policy, international politics, international relations, public policy, regulation and governance


In the second half of the twentieth century the work of the international community on governance has grown from small beginnings into today’s global business. This book focuses mainly on that period. But there are important cases of earlier interventions, some extending over many years, from which important lessons might have been learned. The contexts have varied: the US in South and Central America, the UK and France in their former colonies, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, and other bilateral donors and international institutions worldwide. It is still not too late to assess these examples and to distil lessons which are relevant for today and tomorrow. EMPIRES Empire and Government In the first half of the twentieth century the imperial powers started to develop in their colonies some of the skills and systems needed for effective government under continuing imperial rule. Before the war Britain had instituted a process of ‘colonial development’, which meant in practice modest social and economic development within a colonial framework. The 1929 Colonial Development Act was followed by the 1940 Colonial Development and Welfare Act. Preparation for independence outside the Empire was not the policy of the British government until the 1950s. Britain, like other colonial powers, paid relatively little attention to the need for countries to develop a capacity to create and manage independent government and administrative systems, as well as the necessary social and economic institutions, until just before independence. In the rush to independence after the 1939–45 war there was little time...

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