Why Did Labour Create the Department for International Development?

This is the first in a series of papers drawing on original interviews, data, and secondary sources to examine how the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) was born, functioned both internationally and domestically, and was in 2020 merged with the diplomatic service to form the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). By examining this history, we aim to illuminate the UK’s contribution to international development over the last quarter century, and to draw out lessons for other bilateral donors, and the global aid and development architecture more generally.

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