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List of Africa’s Top 12 Ambassadors – It’s Not Just Diplomats in Suits

LEE MWITI | Mail & Guardian Africa   in  ·
January 7, 2015

LET’s face it; few foreign ministries in Africa have an overall grand plan, existing mainly as appendages of the presidency.

Appointments of ambassadors are often no more than political patronage; policies, if any are, rarely implemented. Decisions—many with far-reaching implications—are made on the fly, and defensive fire-fighting stances rather than relationship-building the norm.

Modern-day diplomacy traces its origins to the city-states of Europe, although one could feasibly go back to ancient China and India for earlier forms. In its stricter sense diplomacy is about “managing” multi-faceted relations between states, essentially the juggling of interests and attempting to give your country a strategic advantage.

Diplomats also have the role of managing a country’s image internationally. But given the void in ability, other actors have stepped in to play these roles, ranging from multinationals and brands to sportsmen and cultural products. They often are better ambassadors abroad and arguably bring more national glory than the work of many state agents.

The have become synonymous with their host country: their mere mention conjures positive mental images or brings  high visibility to the country.


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