Whitehall promoted the big push for Africa but is now cutting
back its diplomatic staff and budgets there
As British ministers congratulate themselves on hoisting Africa fleetingly to the top of the international agenda at the Group of Eight summit on 6-8 July, the British foreign service is cutting back its diplomatic operations in Africa. The government's capacity to monitor and guide African policy - on such delicate matters as the arms trade - will be constrained by sharp cuts in the two Africa directorates in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Their budget is frozen at the level of 2004 and the staff is being reduced. Since January 2004, six Africa desk jobs have been lost, a 25 per cent cut. Three top experts are going, two of them to retirement; one, Ann Grant, ex-head of Africa Command, was the FCO's most experienced Africa diplomat and now works for a bank.
Against expectation, the national conference is becoming a
force for change
Basking in the glory of securing a two-thirds cut in Nigeria's US$34 billion foreign debt and the more ambiguous achievement of being British Prime Minister Tony Blair's new best f...
The governing Rainbow Coalition looks united for a change.
Will it last?
After months of chaos and corruption charges, events are finally moving President Mwai Kibaki's way (AC Vol 46 Nos 10 and 13). The economy is growing faster, with tourism and trade...