Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

Political Science

First Advisor

Richard Stahler-Sholk

Second Advisor

Jeffrey Bernstein

Third Advisor

David Klein


The Sub-Saharan region of Africa is one of the most resource-rich continents in the world, but it lacks economic growth. One of the factors contributing to its low economic development is its historical legacy of colonization, authoritarian regimes, and interstate and intrastate conflicts (Ocheni & Nwankwo, 2012; Bayeh, 2015). As a consequence, this sub-region, along with South Asia, has one of the world's lowest levels of per-capita income. The existing research on Sub-Saharan Africa indicates that little to no development occurs, due to how donor agencies implement aid programs. This paper examines whether U.S. development assistance has fostered sustainable growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a specific focus on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In addition, this research will explore the potential and limitations of U.S. foreign policy to enable sustained development within Sub-Saharan Africa.