Document Type


Publication Date



International Studies



Publication Title

Review of International Studies


This paper tested competing arguments that foreign aid can substantially aggravate the patterns of underdevelopment in previous British colonies. I followed the Center for Global Development in taking into account Amartya Sen’s understanding of development: “development consists of more than improvements in the well-being of citizens, even broadly defined: it also conveys something about the capacity of economic, political and social systems to provide the circumstances for that well-being on a sustainable, long-term basis” (Barder 2012). Generally in cases of underdevelopment the economic, political, or social system (or a combination of these three) in place is not sustainable and usually short-lived.

This study discusses six countries that were under the British Empire: Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. These countries were not discrete states before the British Empire moved in and created a more centralized government: the lands were populated by tribes in differing ethnicities that lived only in their regions. The countries in this study were chosen for a range of: geographical placement; potentially highly corruptible natural resources; political governance; and amount of foreign aid received. The data shown proves the arguments that foreign aid can aggravate the patterns of underdevelopment in previous British colonies, however, more substantially, other factors have slowed the development process. The arguments over foreign aid are still being contested, this paper is meant to show why.