The Failure of Africa's ‘New Deal’?

Leigh A. Gardner

in Taxing Colonial Africa

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199661527
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744877 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

The Failure of Africa's ‘New Deal’?

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The economic hardships suffered around the world during the inter-war period had led to an expansion of the public sector as governments struggled to mitigate the impact of economic crises on their constituents. This was equally true for colonial administrations in Africa, which adopted a broader definition of development which included spending on welfare as well as infrastructure. This chapter revisits the widely studied shift in British colonial development policy in the late 1930s, but from the perspectives of colonial administrations, using quantitative data on colonial spending to assess whether the greater rhetorical importance given to social services like healthcare and education resulted in increased expenditure. It reveals that while colonial governments supplemented meagre imperial subsidies with substantial local funds, worries about future financial stability often resulted in actual spending favouring economic services likely to make more immediate contributions to revenue.

Keywords: Great Depression; new deal; colonial development; welfare; living standards; education; public spending

Chapter.  12491 words. 

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