Development Thought for the Day

Newspapers back in  the UK almost never use the word ‘expert’ in a headline. In articles, it is mostly only ever used as a description of a specific person, e.g. ‘Dr Nobbs, an expert in …’

Contrast that to here, where ‘Experts’ (often capitalised) feature large in the media landscape:

  • ‘Experts call for new investment in roads’
  • ‘More anti-retroviral drugs needed say experts’

Often these ‘Experts’ are anonymous, or identified only by their institution, e.g. ‘World Bank experts’. There may be a slight bias towards anonymising expatriate experts over national experts, but they do it to both.

Part of the explanation, I think, is linguistic: in contrast to Western cultures, one is much more likely to be called here simply by what one is (white person / mother / father / old man / child / doctor / mechanic) than by your name. However, in a country where the political leadership is somewhat dysfunctional, I also wonder whether it is evidence that the technocratic dream lives on … ?


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