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Obama talks to AllAfrica.com about visit to Ghana, etc

Posted by abocco on Fri, 07/03/2009 - 20:39 GhanaThink Managing Executive

I haven't followed Barack Obama much since he became the US president but ever since news broke of his impending visit to Ghana July 10-11, I've become a little more attentive. I hear he will be giving a speech at the Independence Square for which Ghanaians from all walks of lie could go see him speak. Obama is noted for great speeches and I believe we have another one coming up, after his stirring speech at the American University of Cairo earlier this year.

Recently, he sat down with journalists from AllAfrica.com to talk about his visit to Ghana. Ghana is seen as one of the shining stars on the continent and it's easy to see why it would be chosen. It is also a leader in the Pan-African movement, with events like Panafest. President Kuffour also built great ties with Bush's America and the ties will continue with Obama-Mills. Barack Obama is believed to be visiting the Central Region during his short stay in Ghana, probably touring the slave castles there and learning about some more Black history.

There's been a lot of controversy over Obama's visit to Ghana, being his first to a Sub-Saharan country. Kenya feels it should have been them, since Barack's father was Kenyan and Nigeria feels it should have gotten the nod over Ghana. Wole Soyinka mentioned that Nigeria must put its house in order before it gets paid a visit by Obama and his statement sparked a lot in Naija with some criticizing him of 'treason'. Obama mentions his reason for visiting Ghana in the first part of this interview

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xu0AECMc5iE

When asked about why he chose to go to Ghana, he said Ghana had undergone a couple of successful elections and President Mills has shown himself committed to a rule of law. He mentions that there is a direct correlation between governance and prosperity and he wants to highlight that - an effective model as an example for the rest of Africa. Barack Obama has been a big proponent of technological tools. Africans can SMS questions to Obama to be answered on his visit using these codes: Ghana (1731), Nigeria (32969), Kenya (5683) and South Africa (31958). He also talked about the importance of cheap and efficient agricultural technologies for Africa. Some low-tech technologies are also needed to improve food production.

People are mentioning Ghana's oil find as one of the major reasons for Obama's visit. Production has been slated for this year and though the quantities won't be near what is produced in Nigeria or Libya, it will be large enough to have a significant bearing on the nation's financial assets. Some also claim Ghana is going to agree to host an African Command (a US military base) something Nigeria and South Africa don't want to do, and the reason why these countries were bypassed for Ghana. They sound like conspiracy theories.

The second part of the Obama interview
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lt2MucAPeHw

He harped on stability a lot in his interview; following models that work for a period of time as well as preaching stability. Concerning his legacy for Africa, he would like to see the United States as an effective partner for African countries and built political, civil and economic institutions that allowed for improved living conditions and greater security. I loved when he mentioned that Africans could stay in their countries and succeed. If you're following trends these days, it is becoming increasingly easy to succeed in Ghana and Africa.

It's exciting to see Obama choose to visit Ghana, but how will we measure the success of his visit? Cape Coast is seeing a facelift for his arrival, but will it see the kind of development it deserves afterwards? Would this visit increase investment in Ghanaian enterprises back home? There are many questions to answer and it sounds like a topic for a breakout session at BarCamp Diaspora.

In the spirit of Obama's visit to Ghana, if you will be around DC July 25th, you should try and attend BarCamp Diaspora. It will be a day's event of dialogue, discussions and demos about a rising Ghana, organized at Johns Hopkins' School of Advanced International Studies. If you have any interest in Ghana or Africa for that matter, and want to share ideas, network, learn about opportunities in Ghana or some of the businesses and projects out there, this is an event for you.

Culled from MIghTy African's blog


Comments

good speech, but who's listening?

By now I hope you have all read/listened to the speech by president obama in ghana. One complaint I must make: why didn't the authorities publish onto the government web site a full transcript and a video recording of the event?

I thought his words on democracy were most telling: where else in africa, if not the world, could an incumbent government lose by 40000 votes and walk away? NPP must be credited for doing this.

The most sad statistic to read; nearly 75 % government budget is sourced from aid. It is a national embarrassment. This is the most important measure that must be reduced as a priority.


THOSE THAT ARE WISE WILL LISTEN

When you observe Barack Obama carefully, he has a no-nonsense approach to things and he says it like it is. For once he didn't treat us like others who look at us as a lost cause but he told it like it is for better or for worse and asked us to get to the grindstone. He was also very effusive in his praise and was rather fair in dishing it out. That is what Africa needs...a handshake and a pat on the back when we excel and a kick up the back side too if we deserve it.

Those that are wise will use the sound words and beneft from it and those who disregard it will get a sense that they are on their own in future. I sensed a veiled ultimatum behind the admonishing. There is a new world order going on and the bus is ready to move. If you get your ticket you join the bus but if you want to evade the fare you get chucked out and left in the middle of nowhere.

THE CRINGE FACTOR! WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THAT GOD MADE THREE WORLDS AND THAT I COME FROM THE THIRD WORLD. THE ISSUE OF RACE IS GEOGRAPHICAL AND NOT A STATUS SYMBOL AND NEITHER IS MY SKIN BLACK NOR YOURS WHITE.


veiled for sure

13-07-09: no question, what we heard from obama was classic "iron fist under a velvet glove" or as one of his predecessors said "talk softly, and carry a big stick". Long-term, ghana will benefit from the democracy dividend in the form of increased private investment. Neighbours will look on jealously and mourn the missed opportunity. Outsiders will look at ghana first, then elsewhere and so it is up to government to allow an environment for private sector growth to occur.