11 Jul 2009

In his first visit to Africa since taking office, Barack Obama said today that the continent of his ancestors must overcome tyranny and corruption if it is to flourish.

Speaking in Ghana's parliament, Obama said the key to Africa's future prosperity was democratic and accountable government.

"Development depends upon good governance. That is the ingredient which has been missing in far too many places, for far too long. That is the change that can unlock Africa's potential," he said.

In an tough speech aimed at politicians across the continent, he gave an unsentimental account of squandered opportunities since the end of colonial rule. "No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves, or police can be bought off by drug traffickers," he said.

"No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20% off the top ... No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery. That is not democracy, that is tyranny, and now is the time for it to end.

"Africa doesn't need strongmen, it needs strong institutions."

Obama conceded that colonialism had left a legacy of conflicts and arbitrary borders. "But the west is not to blame for the destruction of the Zimbabwean economy over the last decade, or wars in which children are enlisted as combatants.

"Africa is not the crude caricature of a continent at war," he said. "But for far too many Africans conflict is a part of life, as constant as the sun. There are wars over land and wars over resources. And it is still far too easy for those without conscience to manipulate whole communities into fighting among faiths and tribes."

Earlier, after meeting Ghana's president, John Atta Mills, Obama praised the country's record of democracy and economic growth as a rare success in a continent beset by corruption and poor governance.

"We think that Ghana can be an extraordinary model for success throughout the continent."

This morning, Obama was given a hero's welcome in the country's capital, Accra. Thousands of people wearing Obama T-shirts thronged the streets, cheering and waving as his motorcade swept past.

Walls and utility poles were plastered with posters of Obama and Mills, as well as the word "change" – the mantra of Obama's presidential election campaign. Other posters showed the president and his wife, Michelle, with the greeting "Ghana loves you".

Obama and his family arrived late last night from the G8 summit in Italy, where the world's richest nations agreed on a $20bn (£12.4bn) food security plan to help poor nations feed themselves during the global recession.

Speaking in Italy before he left, Obama said: "There is no reason why Africa cannot be self-sufficient when it comes to food."

The Obamas will visit Gold Coast Castle, a former British slave trading post. Michelle Obama is a great-great granddaughter of slaves.

The visit comes as the US plans a much more assertive policy in Africa, using both diplomacy and the threat of force to end the protracted conflicts in Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria, which are seen as two of the main obstacles to the continent's progress.

"This is both a special and an important visit for him personally as president, but also for our country to articulate a vision for Africa," said Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman.

Despite the enthusiastic reception from ordinary Ghanians, no major public events have been planned during Obama's 21-hour visit, for fear it could cause a celebratory stampede, as almost happened during a 1998 stop by Bill Clinton.

SOURCE: The Guardian


Post a Comment


Blog Archive

© Evarist Chahali 2006-2022

Search Engine Optimization SEO

Powered by Blogger.


Chaneli Ya YouTube