King's College London
Exhibitions & Conferences
Hidden voices of Empire

Interest in development

Photograph showing Nigerian farmers watching a machine decorticate groundnutsFarmers watch a machine decorticate groundnutsWhy is there so much talk of development these days? This is a question which is being asked by many, and it is important that people should understand what development will mean to them personally.

The level of interest in development was continually high in the colonies, peaking in the mid-1950s.

This is clear from the continual onslaught of development-related questions, like those above, answered by the Colonial Office in If you ask me…

Aside from topics covered elsewhere in this exhibition, one common theme in these questions was the possibility of continued funds after decolonisation:

Nigeria, the Gold Coast, the Federation of Malaya and Singapore are all asking for self-government in the very near future. When they become self-governing will they still receive Colonial Development and Welfare Aid?

This is a clear indication of the ‘wind of change’ that was blowing around this time, sitting alongside a great many questions surrounding themes of decolonisation and self-governance in the colonies.

It also draws into question the points of view driving these contributions. Interest may well be interpreted as a positive response, but it does not necessarily mean that.

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