Obama and Africa – When times are tough, do we turn our backs on the world’s poor?

“When world leaders break a promise, it is a sin, but when governments break a promise to the poorest people on the planet, it is nothing short of a crime,”

That’s Salil Shetty, director of the UN’s Millennium Campaign urging leaders not to turn their backs on the world’s poorest during the G8 summit, warning that the economic crisis will force developing countries, such as Laos, Senegal, Uganda, Cape Verde and Sudan, to slash spending for the poor.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of eight targets set to halve poverty in the developing world by 2015. But looking at African nations that goal is far from being on the right track.

Gordon Brownis putting pressure on leaders to be accountable to their contributions to meet the The Millennium Goals.But in this current crisis should governments start by solving economic problems of their own countries rather than handle poverty around the world? Do we turn our backs to the world’s poor when times are tough?

President Obamawill start a two day visit to Ghana tomorrow and questions about what he should or would do for Africa are first to come up. What would you want Obama to do for Africa? And what about promises made about halving poverty in 2005? We’ll be talking about all of this tomorrow on TV and radio.

55 Responses to “Obama and Africa – When times are tough, do we turn our backs on the world’s poor?”

  1. 1 Leonet Reid- Jamaica
    July 7, 2009 at 14:32

    President obama’s trip to Ghana can be seen as inspirational or as another siting of a celebrity. When Mister Obama took office, he broke through social norms and asserted himself and other Blacks in the Diaspora as an existing group of people. Now, in Africa, he will reassure Africans and its leaders, that he is committed to trans-continental developments. BUT, are Mr. Obamas’ hands tied, or is he yet another presidential visitor with nothing in his gift bag to pledgue? We constantly see that at the end of summits, money is pledged to battle hunger and increase developement, but, surely, the target figure is never reached and the missions are aborted or become stagnant. What Mr. Obama needs to do is to systematically create programs where more physical aid is sent to Africa int he forms of teachers, engineers, scientists, health care practioners and any other volunteers. only then can Africans learn how to sustain itself, by learning how to cultivate the soil, to take of the mind and body, and to feed it with Knowledge through education. Only then can we realise a change in Africa through Mr. Obama and its leaders. But, one has to ask, is it Mr. Obama’s initiative to do so? Why not the African Leaders?

  2. July 7, 2009 at 15:35

    I am from Darfur we are still suffering from the present of Janjaweed of Omarbashir In Darfur Please Obama DO SOME.
    In past i mean before Obama come to power, we are as Darfurian we were thought that Obama will solve our problem very soon, but he did very little up to now.

  3. July 7, 2009 at 16:45

    Ros asks what Obama and America should do for Africa. Actually, the question should be what African leaders and African should do for their continent. Obama’s visit to Ghana is going to be less than one day long but Africa’s development still needs years if not decades for a normal lift-off.

    Billions of dollars in aid for Africa have been squandered without bringing the desirable positive changes due to corruption and mismanagement on the part of the African leaders nationally and locally. It seems a change in mentality can’t occur over night as Africa needs a new generation equipped with the skill to govern itself without needing to be watched over by the international community like a child being watched over by a parent.

    African leaders must ask themselves why the USA managed to produce a black president of African origin who is both popular and powerful while many African leaders hold to power just for their own glory instead of the glory of their countries.

    Should Obama address the African leaders and teach them how to translate words into action instead of simply having their organisation the African Union in which they meet just to shake hands and make speeches they forget about once they get back home?

  4. July 7, 2009 at 17:11

    I am afraid I cannot be a part of the show as I am not in any of the listed cities.
    However, my thoughts concerning Mr. Obama’s homecoming are as follows:
    Truly some positive changes are taking place in Ghana that should be commended. I think by his visit, Obama is actually saying “Ghana and President Mills, I stand with you”
    Also, many ‘giant’ countries in Africa have seen the leadership of the continent as their birth right and so have done close to nothing to justify the continued confidence, trust and ‘following’. Perhaps it is time to identify new leaders in Africa?
    Ghana’s last two elections have been acclaimed as credible and exemplary, only credible electoral systems could have produced both Presidents Attah Mills of Ghana and Obama of the US, you see, in Africa, they say “birds of the same feather flock together.”
    There is nothing much (necessarily) to gain from Obama’s visit to any country. However, I think his visit will help answer the question should Obama be asked “when you think about Africa, what comes to your mind?”
    I hope by the next time Obama comes calling, he will have a wide array of countries to choose from and some of those wondering why he is not visiting their countries at the moment would have worked hard in making their countries the logical stop-point.

  5. 5 Dinka Aliap Chawul,Kampala-Uganda
    July 8, 2009 at 13:10

    Yes.I do

  6. 6 VictorK
    July 9, 2009 at 14:52

    No Western politician has a mandate to bring prosperity to the world’s poor; neither did they have any right to make promises of any kind to non-citizens.

    The ‘War On Poverty’ is an impertinence. It’s for each country to mange its economy – if it can.

    Any Western obligation to the world’s poor is individual and moral, to be met through voluntary contributions, not through enforced state charity.

    Salil Shetty’s combination of self-rigteouness, hyperbole and hysteria is unappealing.

    There’s a culture of poverty that ensures the economic failure of certain countries.

    The real issues are: why won’t ‘we’ admit that some people are incapable of governing themselves or developing economically? Would such people be better off being adminstered as UN-mandated territories or neo-colonies?

    • 7 RightPaddock
      July 10, 2009 at 14:19

      @VictorK asks “Would such people be better off being adminstered as UN-mandated territories or neo-colonies?”

      You mean like Kosovo, Bosnia & Palestine (1922-48). They don’t exactly seem like harbingers of success to me.

      And Australia’s quasi neo-colonial frolic in the Solomons ain’t all beer and skittles either, started off with great promise, but the processes are bogged down and maybe going backwards.

  7. 8 patti in cape coral
    July 9, 2009 at 15:20

    Hi VictorK – I would have to reluctantly agree with some of what you say. On an earlier blog you asked this pertinent question: I’d be interested to hear from Americans on two points. 1 – in this time of economic crisis, are you happy for your government to be handing out billions of your tax dollars in aid to Africa, Pakistan, Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, etc? 2- Is your President constitutionally manadated to hand over American taxes to foreigners?

    Reply: – In response to your question, I don’t mind money going to ease human suffering in Africa, except for the fact that it doesn’t seem to ease the suffering. It makes me wonder where the money IS going.

    • 9 RightPaddock
      July 10, 2009 at 15:05

      @ patti in cape coral – You didn’t answer ViktorK’s second question – “Is your President constitutionally manadated to hand over American taxes to foreigners?”

      I’ll try to give him an answer

      The US President has no mandate to hand over American taxpayer dollars to anyone, be they foreign or otherwise. Taxpayers money can only be spent against budgets as set down in Appropriation Bills

      The President has a mandate to approve or reject Bills that have been passed by both houses in the Congress including Appropriation (Budget) Bills. Bills are negotiated within each chamber, between the two chambers and between the Congress and the Administration.

  8. July 9, 2009 at 15:31

    In times of crisis, charity begins at home. Aid for poor countries is likely to be slashed as it comes among other things from aid organisations which depend on donations from the public which is currently financially hit. In short it’s a chain of events that will have a dire effect on poor countries whose immigrant populations have little to survive on in host countries, let alone send money home.

    However, this isn’t an excuse for rich governments to turn their backs on poor countries. They should at least keep sending them essential aids, mainly food and medicines, not to be faced with a humanitarian catastrophe.

    At the same time, the current world crisis should be a wakeup call for poor countries to do their best to survive in dignity. For example, why can’t the wealthy from poor countries invest the money they have in foreign banks in projects that can create employment. Perhaps, I am asking these wealthy to accept becoming millionaires instead of billionaires for the sake of their country, which is unrealistic!

  9. 11 Jessica in NYC
    July 9, 2009 at 15:52

    Yes. It’s like the airline safety example they give on flight. In the event of an emergency, place the oxygen mask over your face first; then, help your child or person next to you. The world is far more complex, but the issue is as simple as this airline emergency plan: You can’t help the the person next to you if you are dead.

  10. 12 Tom K in Mpls
    July 9, 2009 at 16:35

    Let’s see, ‘charity begins at home’ , ‘you can’t help others if you can’t help yourself’ , ‘God helps those that help themselves’ , ‘prosperity flows’. So yes, they are currently being ignored. After a recent long discussion with an African I learned that my general beliefs on why Africa is so poor were generally correct. But more importantly I learned why.

    Over virtually all of Africa, in their daily lives they are a very generous and social people. Assuming you are a part of their group (friend/family/tribe/country). If not, you rate no positive consideration. If you are are part of them, you are given anything you want or need regardless of why you want it. Also, with the exception of about the last 100 years, the land has easily provided all they wanted. They never had to consider planning, storage or conservation. These are words they can debate, but have no real part of their natural thought processes.

    Because of this they take what is available. Water, political power, food, whatever. They distribute it to their own people, even the wasteful ones, without any restraint. And when they have nothing, they expect others to give to them freely because that is what they would do. In essence most can’t see the self destructive cycle in their culture. They have intellectually learned what planning is but it needs to be a part of their psyche.

  11. 13 Kelly, from Chicago, IL, USA
    July 9, 2009 at 16:47

    Obama is the US president–we have enough problems here. What about the blacks who are suffering in poverty in urban areas? While I hope for an effective global cooperation, the US can’t support everyone while we can’t even balance our state and federal budgets. As for Obama, he isn’t a god. He can’t solve everyone’s problems. People have to work together to solve things–he is just a person who is working to get people to work together.

  12. 14 Gary Paudler
    July 9, 2009 at 17:36

    Yes but, on the other hand, when times are good we turn our backs on the world’s poor. Banging this tired old drum is as tiresome for me as it is for you to read it yet again: It’s accepted that about 800,000,000 people lack safe drinking water which leads to about 5,000 deaths every day from easily-prevented diarrheal diseases; call it a billion people. How many trillions of dollars have been flushed down the rat holes of the Iraq occupation and financial industry bail-out? For much less than one trillion dollars (1 billion people X $1,000/each) – much less – every person on the planet could have the essential necessity of safe water. All we rich Gringos were rolling in it for a decade; summer homes, gleaming rims on the Benz, new laptops every year for playing games and spanking it on the internet and still we haven’t put a dent in the Millennium Goals. AIG and Citigroup aren’t “too big to fail”; they did fail despite all the “talent” they attracted with obscene salaries. It is the shame of the US, the UK and much of Europe that those incompetents weren’t allowed to die and those trillions weren’t used to alleviate real, abject suffering. And it’s time to reject the canard that foreign aid only supports despotic regimes: African Big Men and Asian Juntas are supported by Western governments and their corporate masters who want to continue extracting resources for minimum cost at the brutal, direct expense of the most desperately poor people in the world. I refuse to believe that there’s no way to get past Mugabe or the generals in Burma. There’s the topic for the next 365 WHYSs.

    Summerland, California

  13. 15 T
    July 9, 2009 at 18:05

    Unfortunately, due to the global depression there’s not enough capital in the world to help everyone. Geldof, Bono and others can yell all they want about this. But who’s going to come up with the funds?

  14. 16 Dennis Junior
    July 9, 2009 at 18:27

    Yes, the world often turns the “back” against the “poor” when times are rough; Since, money is not available….

    ~Dennis Junior~

  15. 17 jea morado
    July 9, 2009 at 18:44

    It is a wonderful thing that Obama is a role model for people of color. His mixed background is an inspiration to a society of people who only had a model of oppression to relate to.

    As a role model, his family is the shining example of where the world needs to go: A two child family. China imposed a one child family 20 years ago which brought them into economic solvency and progress. We need to enlighten the African continent into reducing the number of mouths to feed, in order to make economic progress in the future.To do this women need to be empowered to make intelligent decisions about resources, and guaranteed a modicum of safety, health care and food for existing children.

    Poverty is mostly a choice based on ignorance and lack of resources. I feel strongly that charity, in this instance, demands intelligent application of foreign resource in requiring a reduction of population until a handle on local resource is obtained. Local government and custom, in a catch 22, will never agree with population control as an answer. Too bad, a perpetual problem for us all.

  16. 18 Bert
    July 9, 2009 at 19:10

    There are only 300 million people in rthe US. Even if every one of them were to give all of their possessions and all of their annual income to the world’s poor, it would not put a dent on poverty.

    Of course, charitable organizations will try hard to put people from their donor nations on guilt trips. It is their line of work, after all. Just like McDonald’s trying to make you believe you can’t do without a big mac.

    Whether times are good or bad, the very best that an Obama visit can do to any country would be inspiration. People are inspired by celebrities, or so it seems. That may be good enough to get people to act on their own behalf.

  17. 19 Roberto
    July 9, 2009 at 19:31

    RE “” when governments break a promise to the poorest people on the planet, it is nothing short of a crime,”””

    ————— Western Governments have been criminal in selling out their own citizens for profit, so how do Africans think they deserve better?

    Darned shame about broken promises, but the governmentv have given the keys to the vault to corporate crooks and they’ve made off with all the assets.

    The Golden Goose has been choked to death squeezing the last ounce of gold out. Sorry………..

  18. 20 Deryck/Trinidad
    July 9, 2009 at 22:45

    Of course the rich turn their backs on the poor.

    But how long will the poor remain poor? There are very few examples IF ANY of countries who received aid and used the money for development and have now become self sufficient.


  19. 21 Ann
    July 10, 2009 at 09:49

    “In 2006 the world’s richest two percent of adults owned more than half the global wealth, while half the world’s population own only one percent. In 2007 the World Wealth Report estimated the total wealth of rich individuals at $37.2 trillion!”

    Now it may be the case that some of these rich individuals have had their bank balances hit by the current recession, (and my heart bleeds for them) but I still think they would be in a position to help their fellow man.

    • 22 vijay pillai
      July 14, 2009 at 19:12

      My hearts bleeds only for the thousands of innocent victims of war and not the rich individuals who’s reduced bank balances were the result of the foolhardly ways, and contributing to thousands of poor who’s work vanished and on dole now.Dont expect me to shed tears for 50 billions on paper reduced to 20 billions,yet it is not affecting their wealth much but poor worse off wirh one meal a day or without food for days in developing world.

  20. 23 Deryck/Trinidad
    July 10, 2009 at 10:49


    I agree that the rich should help the poor in some way but can you come up with one viable solution to eradicate poverty in at least one family.

    • 24 Ann
      July 10, 2009 at 12:20

      Hi Deryck,

      I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I think that poverty in Africa needs to be tackled at a structural level rather than an individual one. Some of the things that would help would be to remove the unfair trade barriers in these countries; stop selling arms to corrupt African states; cancel the debt that strangles poor countries; bring in international regulations that prevent huge corporations exploiting the natural resources and the people. The list goes on…

  21. 25 Deryck/Trinidad
    July 10, 2009 at 11:04

    The problem with poverty is that it affects the psyche of those under its power provoking a sense of helplessness and dependency. In many it destroys faith in the ability to achieve and fear of failure. It destroys the self esteem and brings enslavement to the dependent. The dependency syndrome is developed and is passed from generation to generation.

    Poverty can only be truly be eradicated when the mind and philosophy of the leaders of these poor countries are changed not by the West but by constructive self evaluation of the philosophies that guide their mode of operation. Leaders must then be willing to evaluate the culture they live in and then find solutions for changing that culture especially if it is mendicant.

    Leaders must inspire their peole to greatness not by coercion but by an example of humility, transparency, accountability and innovation. GOOD GOVERNANCE WILL PREVENT THE BRAIN DRAIN IN THESE POORER COUNTRIES.

    To become developed governments must focus on developing Innovation Systems powered by education. Africa cannot continue to beg. Africans are a proud people.

  22. 26 Deryck/Trinidad
    July 10, 2009 at 11:08

    @ Abdelilah Boukili in Morocco

    As an African what would be one solution you would recommend to solving Africa’s dependency problem?

    • July 10, 2009 at 16:07

      Actually Morocco is geographically an African country. But culturally, it is an Arab country.

      What I recommend is that Africans should learn to help themselves. They have more natural wealth than the current rich countries, but they just make a mess of it because of wars, corruption and mismanagement. If they can create effective regional economic integration, this can help them stand on their feet. Zimbawe was one of the richest countries in Africa. Now it’s one of the poorest, not because of its natural resources but because of Mugabe’s unpopular policies at home and abroad. This just an example why Africa is in constant troubles in most of its parts.

  23. 28 Ramesh, India
    July 10, 2009 at 11:16

    Victor K
    you have a point but practically it is impossible and hence no use pointing out africans can not rule themselves. And When we talk about China, we say is economic development is not enough without freedom. Many western nations are supporting pro democracy movements in Iran and alike countries when majority of those people were saying that democracy does not suit them. How can we say contrary to what we are saying about Iran and China?
    Leonet Reid- Jamaica made a good point. What the west needs to stop is giving huge sums of money, instead, should systematically create programs where more physical aid is sent to Africa int he forms of teachers, engineers, scientists, health care practioners and any other volunteers. For the upliftment of the poor, rich need not throw their money. The west should follow the same principle. And the leaders of the west should be more accountable to their tax payers with respect to their charity work and the results it has achieved.

  24. 29 RightPaddock
    July 10, 2009 at 11:35

    Aid is no substitute for Trade

    The best thing the rich countries could do is to conclude the Doha round of trade negotiations. This could do more to reduce world poverty than half a dozen Millenium development Goal initiatives.

    And surprise, surprise I see they’ve pledged to do it by the end of next year.

    But they made the same pledge at Hokkaido(2008), Heiligendamm(2007), St Petersburg(2006), Gleneagles(2005), Sea Island(2004) and Evian(2003).

    What happened — NOTHING happened, apart from yet more meetings in Cancun, Paris, Potsdam, Hong Kong and in Geneva on at least 3 occasions.

  25. July 10, 2009 at 11:46

    In my opinion the world rich has never faced the poorest of the world at any time. They only indulge in gallry plays and never fulfill their promises when it came to that. In cases where they do you’d find out that they do so for economic interests. Africa should learn not to expect too much from the west (not even Obama). Obama will not want to be caught in African nepotism. Obama is American president, Obama should be American president.

    Jude Ifeme

  26. 31 Ann
    July 10, 2009 at 11:58

    Some say that Africa needs to help itself and that the rich countries have no mandate to bring prosperity to the worlds’s poor.

    I would not argue that there are internal problems and corruption in African countries, but the rich industrialised countries do their share of exploiting the poor and the natural resources in these countries too! The world economy is not a level playing field, it is set up to benefit the rich. Below is a link that outlines the problem.


    I believe we have an moral and ethical obligation to work towards reducing this inequality.

    • 32 Ramesh, India
      July 10, 2009 at 12:58

      I agree with you. But what the west should realize is that throwing some money into Africa wont be enough. Actually, the rich can do a lot even without money.

    • 33 RightPaddock
      July 10, 2009 at 13:27

      @Ann – these things can be overcome, the Multilateral Agreement on Investment was killed off by a concerted campaign. The EU retracted much of what it was trying to do in 2006/7at the WTO talks in Geneva last year, the talks collapsed when the Indians and Brazilians walked away from their prior commitments.

      The wealthy economies such as the US, EU, Canada and Japan must end their trade restrictions on agricultural products, especially the obscene subsidies paid to large agribusiness outfits like Carrefour, ADM, Bunge, Ciqita, Bongrain, Invivo, etc. I mention Japan because it has massive tariffs and quota’s on things like rice and beef – eg the tariff on rice is 490%!! The Japanese eat a lot of rice.

      I excluded Australia and New Zealand because they dropped most agricultural subsidies, quotas and tariffs some years ago, they have booming agricultural sectors even in the current economic crisis. Australia does use bio-security restrictions to restrict some imports from some countries (eg apples from USA).

  27. 34 RightPaddock
    July 10, 2009 at 12:21

    Salil Shetty said “When world leaders break a promise, it is a sin, but when governments break a promise to the poorest people on the planet, it is nothing short of a crime,”

    Salil needs to learn that the leaders of countries both rich and poor are as bent as safety pins (or nine bob notes), I doubt they can even lie in bed straight, they probably have to get up to turn over.

    Having a cavalier attitude towards the keeping of promises and being flexible in interpreting what constitutes the truth are prerequisites to becoming a politician. Otherwise they wouldn’t know how to fiddle their expenses, lie about being shot at on Bosnian airfields, say they’re going walking in the woods when they’re actually going to Buenos Aires for a bit of the other, increase taxes when they’d promised there’d be no tax increases.

    • 35 Ann
      July 10, 2009 at 13:46

      You sound pretty clued up on this issue RightPaddock. Better than me for sure. Don’t mean to be lazy but can you give us a brief outline of why the Doha round of trade negotiations will make a difference please. Thanks 🙂

  28. 36 patti in cape coral
    July 10, 2009 at 13:01

    I think that there are no measures that will help Africa while there is corruption in governance. I think that is the crux of the problem.

  29. 37 Venessa
    July 10, 2009 at 13:57

    Isn’t it a bit arrogant for those that are poor to feel entitled to aid? Giving charity is not an obligation, but a voluntary act.

  30. 38 RightPaddock
    July 10, 2009 at 14:03

    @patti in cape coral – and its aid that has often fostered the corruption, I have had a bit to do with aid programs in the SW Pacific – Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu. Based on that experience I have to agree with Professor Helen Hughes’ position that “Aid has Failed the Pacific” (www.cis.org.au/issue_analysis/IA33/ia33.pdf). I suspect a similar situation prevails in Africa, and probably on a much grander scale.

    I should add that Prof Hughes is not someone with whom I would ordinarily expect to find myself in furious agreement, but on this issue I do. In the interest of balance here are two critiques of Hughes paper, both are from the Australian Council for International Development, the first was a submission to a Senate committee


  31. 39 patti in cape coral
    July 10, 2009 at 15:10

    @ RightPaddock – Thanks for the links, I have to admit sometimes a lot of this is over my head, need to educate myself a bit more. I wonder though, if ending trade restrictions is enough if the corrupt governments are still in place.

  32. 40 Ann
    July 10, 2009 at 15:22

    @RightPaddock – I tried the 2 links at the bottom of your post but it says they are not available?
    Blast! But thanks anyway 🙂

  33. 41 patti in cape coral
    July 10, 2009 at 15:23

    How do you get rid of a corrupt government? Is there anything anyone can do about that, except for the Africans themselves?

  34. 42 Ann
    July 10, 2009 at 15:28

    ps – the top link works and it looks like an excellent article, I’ll read this later. Cheers RightPaddock.

    And at the risk of being naive here, the recently annouced promises by the G8 to give 20 billion to sustainable agricultural development sounds like a good idea. Lets hope the money gets to the right people and not into the hands of corrupt politicians.

    • 43 patti in cape coral
      July 10, 2009 at 15:49

      Ann – The same thing happened to me, but I just typed Hughes in the search box and was able to get to the articles that way. I also hope that 20 billion goes where it supposed to go and where it will do the most good, but the more I learn about the world, the more doubtful I get.

      • 44 Ann
        July 10, 2009 at 16:46

        Cheers Patti I’ll try that 🙂

        You asked earlier how do you get rid of a corrupt government – I’d love to know the answer to that too, as would my husband who is from Zimbabwe and would love to get shot of Mugabe. So if anyone’s got any ideas….

  35. 45 Jennifer from Albany, New York
    July 10, 2009 at 16:34

    Hello All – Happy Friday!

    I only have one thing to say about Obama’s trip to Africa and the expectations of that continent of MY president. YAY!!! For 8 years our leader was an embarrassment to this country, I’m not even sure if Bush knew where Africa was, and now I am proud and just as hopeful of my president as I possibly can be. I have no problem with the entire continent of Africa having high hopes and expectations of this man. I have them as well, and for the first time in a long time, I think the President of the United State can and will rise to and exceed our expectations.

  36. 46 Gentile
    July 10, 2009 at 17:02

    How will Chinese feel if an American chinese becomes the president of USA . With a net of trepidation, I’ll bet. The inscrutable chinese can fool another chinese.

  37. 47 patti in cape coral
    July 10, 2009 at 18:19

    Obama should apologize for his predessesors (sp)? I don’t think so. I think you put yourself in a bad position when you accept aid, because in reality, there is no free lunch. The more self-sufficient you are, the less likely you are to be exploited. The corrupt leaders of the countries in Africa should be required to apologize to their people. Africa has so many riches and resources, I think if it were properly managed, they would be the world superpower.

  38. 48 Roseann In Houston
    July 10, 2009 at 18:27

    It appears that Africans are going out of their way to ensure that Obama is NOT re-elected. Maybe African leaders are able to single-handedly decide how to spend their tax-payers money, but in the US there are a lot of checks and balances before the president can actually spend the tax dollars that Americans have paid to the US government. The unemployment rate in the US is around 10%, people are homeless and hungry, and most of us have no health care. Now, compared to Africa, we are pretty well off… but WE are the ones that vote for our president. If Obama puts a higher priority on Africa’s problems than on the problems of the US, if he chooses to spend US tax dollars on the problems of Africa over the problems of the US, then he will lose all political clout in the US and we will vote him out of office in 3 years.

  39. 49 Jennifer from Albany, New York
    July 10, 2009 at 18:48

    You are correct, and I am sorry about my former Bush Bashing comments. I was using my cynicism about George Bush to make a snide comment abut his intelligence. You are correct, he was active in Aid to Africa and for that I should not be so critical, HOWEVER, you had a caller reference him as well and his comment was that using Bush is a bad benchmark; it can only get better from there. I like that reference. I believe that the world has higher expectations of this President, and I look forward to the positive outcomes that follow Obama where ever he seems to go. Every time he speaks to us as a people, or I read his comments from around the world, he is positive and open minded. It is a refreshing change, and I look forward to that change in our African / American policies.

  40. 50 Jim (USA)
    July 10, 2009 at 18:48

    This lady from south africa is saying that Ghanaians were taken from their homes for slavery in america. Exactly who went into their homes to take them? Slavery as a business is a mostly african phenomenon that europeans learned from africans. Europeans kill people, not enslave them. There were NO american indian slaves in the south because there were no american indians selling slaves. There is no excuse for america’s participation inthe slave trade, but it was a team effort. Everyone who thinks america should apologize for past slavery should spend more of their energy trying to eliminate the current slave trade that still exists in sudan.

  41. July 10, 2009 at 19:07

    I feel the wording of this topic is misleading since it lumps African Countries together and ignores our diversity in terms of problems and needs. I personally feel that solutions for “Africa” can only come from within. Only then can we sustain our own development and progress.
    PS: I better run away home before Air-Force one lands, traffic in Accra is already crazy!

  42. 52 Tan Boon Tee
    July 11, 2009 at 04:13

    Sin or crime, what does it matter?

    Promises are made to be broken, do they matter?

    Leaders want more aid, primarily for fattening their own pockets, would that matter?

    In this maddening world of greed, people go for instant power and wealth, could that matter?

    Please think, THINK HARD.

  43. 53 STEVO NY
    July 12, 2009 at 01:33

    The BBC’S journalistic orgasms about Obama’s visit to Ghana through the prizm of media orgy makes me ouestion the intergrity of the corporation. Obama is a fallible mortal capable of failure human been and not God so enough of the deity status confered to him. I watched his speech to the parliament of Ghana and my beef is what’s new or different about what he said?
    BBC please you are too big and highly respected to participate in this Idol worship. YOur general coverage
    of Obama is an embarassment to journalism.

  44. 54 T
    July 13, 2009 at 01:29

    Actually, the States adds to the problem with their predatory attitude towards Third World countries. Economic “hitmen” are trying to seize control of other countries resources. And then when these countries have enormous debts, vulture capitalists step in to profit off that.

    If the G-8 an G-20 forgive all African debt, will the global economy fall apart?

  45. 55 Don from Detroit
    July 15, 2009 at 04:00

    I can’t speak from first-hand knowlege about the poverty which grips many regions in Africa but I can speak with some authoritative knowlege about the poverty and breakdown of social structure which plagues Detroit and can confidently assert that when a people foolishly choose political leaders who believe that everyone and everything is corrupt so they might as well take advantage and get their handful of ill-gotten booty while the getting is good that end result is not to difficult to predict. The better-off nations would do well to withhold assistance until the people whose hand-picked leaders abuse them so mirerably rise up and demand better governance – they might even heaven forbid decide that a white Afrikaaner just might know better how to administer the affairs of state than a proud but incompetent popular favorite.

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