The Labour government's ideas of an ethical foreign policy
and activist diplomacy have met their toughest test in Africa's
British ministers talk boldly of 'militant humanitarianism' and 'defending civilians against terror'. They refer to Kosovo, but some African officials have asked their Western counterparts if such considerations extend to the wars enveloping almost a third of Africa's 53 states. Most Western capitals reply with a definitive if slightly apologetic 'no'. But African diplomats hope that Britain may push their continent's case in the United Nations Security Council when the international focus moves on from the Balkans. The kill rate in Africa's wars - 1.5 million in Sudan, 1 million in Rwanda, over 500,000 in Angola, 150,000 in Liberia, 80,000 in Algeria, 15,000 in Sierra Leone, and 40,000 in a few weeks in Ethiopia and Eritrea - easily eclipses the Balkans' death toll of some 400,000 dead since 1990. There is no causal relation between war casualties and diplomatic concentration.
After an eventful two years for politics and personalities, Africa is getting more space
Along with Washington and Paris, London is a key city for Africa specialists in diplomacy, academia and business but they break cover less often than their American and French coun...
Apartheid's bitter legacy still complicates electoral calculations in the Western Cape
Of South Africa's nine provinces, Western Cape faces the fiercest battle for control in the run-up to the 2 June provincial and national elections. Western Cape is the only provin...