Editorial from ROAPE Volume 33 Number 107
State, Class and Civil Society in Africa
In the first week of 2006 the British press reported on two events relating to Africa: one emblazoned on front pages, but of little real significance, and the other tucked away on an inside page, of potentially greater significance. The former was the recruitment of Bob Geldof to the newly branded UK Conservative Party to advise on poverty and Africa. He was appointed for his presumed ‘expertise’ on Africa even though he is strongly non-partisan in a party political sense, implying that the causes and cures for Africa's underdevelopment are agreed upon between the major UK political parties. However, the appointment of a high profile media campaigner disguises the underlying theme of neoliberal consensus across the political spectrum in the UK and indicates that any change of government will bring about little change in policy towards the developing world. Thus, the point is not that there are many better qualified experts in Africa and beyond, but the Conservatives (like New Labour) are happy using concern for Africa as evidence of their ethical credentials. ‘Caring for Africa’ is proof positive of your humanity and respect of human rights, while all the time treating vast swathes of the globe with derision.