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Ireland, Africa and the end of empireSmall state identity in the Cold War 1955 - 75$
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Kevin O'Sullivan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780719086021

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719086021.001.0001

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Concern for Africa

Concern for Africa

The Biafran humanitarian crisis

(p.107) 5 Concern for Africa
Ireland, Africa and the end of empire

Kevin O’Sullivan

Manchester University Press

This chapter examines the rise of two new, and related, forms of international relations that simultaneously bolstered and bypassed traditional channels of diplomacy: aid and humanitarianism. It describes the powerful impact the Biafran humanitarian crisis had on inter-state relations, shifting aid and emergency relief to centre stage in the ‘fire brigade’ states’ relationship with the developing world. Diplomatic support for the decolonisation process was translated into economic and humanitarian support for ailing independent states. But, as this chapter shows, this shift was significant primarily because it was accompanied by the emergence of a new global discourse on aid and humanitarianism, and a new group of transnational actors whose work bypassed traditional political structures to emphasise the power of ‘people-to-people’ action: NGOs.

Keywords:   Biafra, Concern, Foreign aid, Humanitarianism, Ireland, Missionaries, Nigerian civil war, Non-governmental organisations

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