Saturday, July 11, 2009

Brother Barack Admonishes - and Encourages - Africa

United States President Barack Obama waves to the crowd in Ghana on Saturday: Obama delivered an uncompromising message to Africa in a speech at Ghana's parliament

2 part interview video

Brother Barack Admonishes - and Encourages - Africa - John Allen - Speaking to Africans with the intimacy of a brother, and citing the heritage he shared with them, President Barack Obama of the United States delivered an uncompromising message to the continent on Saturday.

Speaking from Ghana's democratically-elected Parliament, months after the ruling party was dislodged – and accepted defeat – by the narrowest of margins, Obama said much of the hope promised by Africa's liberation has yet to be fulfilled.

"Yes," he acknowledged, "a colonial map that made little sense bred conflict, and the West has often approached Africa as a patron, rather than a partner."

Then came the jab: "But the West is not responsible for the destruction of the Zimbabwean economy over the last decade, or wars in which children are enlisted as combatants."

But the United States had responsibilities too. As AllAfrica's Charles Cobb, Jr. pointed out in analyzing the speech for CNN, Obama didn't offer much in practical terms. For example, despite pledging to make it easier for Africans to grow the food it needs and export it, there was no plan offered for the U.S. to abandon the protection of its farmers, which prevents Africans from reaping the benefits of the free trade the West preaches.

But the president did suggest that "wealthy nations must open our doors to goods and services from Africa in a meaningful way."

AllAfrica interview with President Obama and coverage of Ghana trip
AllAfrica Readers Tell Obama They Want Democracy

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