It’s an interesting notion that African governments need “reputation management,” whether as a replacement for old ways of doing diplomacy or not. Trying to manage the reputations of governments with a shocking and disgraceful record of corruption and economic mismanagement is like trying to swim in the ocean wrapped in a quilt.

Rather than worrying about managing their reputations, what African governments should be focussing on is good governance, starting with effective leadership.

The common man on the street in Africa is not crying about the reputation of his nation’s government; rather, he is crying for the basic necessities of life – food in his stomach; clean, running water; electricity supply; and security, to name a few.

African governments would do better expending effort to ensure the widespread availability of such social necessities than wasting resources on “reputation management.” Success with such social and economic improvements will be the catalyst for a good reputation for any government.

© Sigi Osagie 2011

Categories: Africa, Leadership

Comment made on BBC Focus on Africa blog, 19-Nov-2011, in response to the post “Beneath the surface” by Nick Ericsson, 14-Sept-2011