On air: Is Africa expecting too much from Obama?

obamaMuch excitement in Ghana as Barack Obama gets ready to leave Italy. And he’ll be greeted John Atta Mills and by the expectations of a continent. But from better governance, to more aid, to inspiring new leaders, to improving the attitudes of kids at school – is too much being loaded onto one man’s shoulders? Or do Africans have every right to expect these things from the first black President of America?

144 Responses to “On air: Is Africa expecting too much from Obama?”

  1. 1 Deryck/Trinidad
    July 10, 2009 at 11:55

    Yes they expect to much.

    They see Obama as a superhero who will magically solve their problems, that is the perception you get listening to some e-mails and broadcasts from Africa. They must recognise they are the heroes and we are no longer in the era of kings and kingdoms.

  2. 2 Deryck/Trinidad
    July 10, 2009 at 12:12

    On the issue of Africa expecting to much I noticed the BBC story reported on the fact that some Nigerians were upset because Obama didn’t visit them. Now that is ludicrous! Imagine with so many problems the focus is on the visit of Obama as if his visit will somehow transform local governance,poverty and corruption.

    • 3 patti in cape coral
      July 10, 2009 at 13:07

      I heard that BBC report too. I also heard when a Nigerian author with the most beautiful voice I have ever heard said he would stone Obama if he came to Nigeria (figuratively, not literally). He said that until Nigeria merits a visit by Obama by resolving its corruption issues, it did not deserve a visit from him. I think he is in the minority, though.

  3. 4 James Loudermilk
    July 10, 2009 at 12:13

    I don’t know about that but, I would say that he needs to ask them to stop making such a fuss over him. That way if something happens and he can’t pull off everthing they are expecting there will not be such a back lash. He need to remind them that he is just a man not a massiah.
    He would do well to ask them to stop naming everything after him and making songs singing his praises.
    You would think a humble man wold be embarrassed and concerned by all the adulation.

  4. 5 robert
    July 10, 2009 at 12:26

    I have never heard any Angolan comment that Obama is going to solve the probelms of Angola. The nationals that I work with all acknowledge the country has its problems, but there are problems that need to be solved by Angolans. Those of us who are expats are here to support them, not lead them.

    • 6 Jessica in NYC
      July 10, 2009 at 16:04

      It’s not about solving any African’s life. The expectation seems that President Obama will promote policies that allow for government to be transparent and distribute wealth among it’s people. In counties like Angola, this is no legitimate reason why the poverty line should be so disproportionate. I read a BBC article last week highlighting Angola as the most expensive place for expats to live. Foreigners can expect to pay as much as $15,000 a month in rent.

      African governments with an abundance of natural resources need to stabilize. How is it acceptable to charge expats nearly $200,000 in rent a year, while a large number of it’s people are malnourished and hungry?

  5. 7 Deryck/Trinidad
    July 10, 2009 at 12:31

    I’m looking at the twitter feed and I am apalled.

    Africans are expecting from Obama:
    1.More aid,
    2.better governance,
    4.inspiring younger Africans
    5.ending corruption,

    Number 4 is the only realistic expectation because that power is in the hands of the people.

    What are Africans going to do with their inspiration that is the question?

    July 10, 2009 at 12:31

    hello everyone,african are not execpting anything extraordinary from OBAMA other than what other US president has been doing ,but the joy in africa today is about ,is background how he make it to top of the world largest economy it show that something good can always come out of africa and we should always look within to bring out that good potentials found in africans…and he as doing great as an african.

    • 9 James Loudermilk
      July 10, 2009 at 13:12

      Who ever said something good couldn’t come from Africa? Why would that fact need to be proven?
      I think making a big deal out of his african heritage only serves to exclude other races and create a devide. Just let him be a man judged on his own merits.

      • 10 Jessica in NYC
        July 10, 2009 at 16:09


        However, for minorities, seeing someone who “looks” like you/them break through a glass ceiling is a proud moment and very exciting. Idealism can run high.

  7. 11 rob z.
    July 10, 2009 at 12:52

    The continent of Africa needs to stop looking to the USA,EEU,CHINA,or anybody else for help all the time.
    Africa needs to get itself in order before it can ever move forward.The constant fighting and corruption needs to end.
    Only when Africa is stable,will it grow into it’s potential.
    Obama can not give Africa a new magic solution,Obama is not Africa’s president.

  8. July 10, 2009 at 12:57

    The visit of president Obama and his family to Ghana must not be a controversy in Africa, we all must join the Ghanians to say AKWABA to Mr Obama and family to sub saharan Africa. Today it is Ghana’s time, who knows tomorrow, it might be Liberia, Nigeria, Togo, and even Guinea.Instead of envying Ghana, we must all put words together to expect a fruitful outcome of his visit. As for me, I expect Mr. Obama to implement ther following policies in Africa: Good Governance, Enhance accountability on Gross Domestic Products by state actors, and equal distribution of wealth among others.

    Mohammed Kondawa

    Monrovia Liberia

  9. July 10, 2009 at 13:05

    Six months in office, Obama has been successful inside America in the car industry, on Wall Street and healthcare. Iran, North Korea, Russia and to some extent abuse of human rights in China will have to wait, just like Africa.

    July 10, 2009 at 13:27

    as african we always one,blacks ve retreive through difficult situation to estibalish is itself….poverty,war,slavery,bad governance,so whats else can bring joy than to see one of our own doing good

    • 15 Tom K in Mpls
      July 10, 2009 at 14:12

      How can Obama be seen as an African when he was born and raised in a very different culture? Skin color and distant generations do not apply to those that can control their own lives.

    • 16 James Ian
      July 10, 2009 at 15:14

      “One of your own”??!! A very separating statement don’t you think. We ara all humans aren’t we? Why separate yourself like that? The african race isn’t the only race that has suffered hardship through out history so I wish people would stop making issue of it.

  11. July 10, 2009 at 13:36

    Hi Ros and WHYSers,

    I am yet to understand all the fuss about President Obama’s ‘first visit to Africa’ {Egypt is not in Africa, or is it?} For one, too much is being made about a two-day visit to one country in a 50+ countries continent. History has taught us that no single western power or leader has ever lorded it over Africa in matters democracy and positive change has only come when it was absolutely inevitable and with Africans’ own resoluteness.
    The solution to African problems are not pegged on more aid from the West {Which I believe is all within Obama’s means to do along with inspiring young people} but rather on internal African paradigms over which Obama has no control. Among them is proper prioritization of policies, accountability and transparency in governance.
    Africa should stop ignorantly looking up to Obama as one of their own just because of his colour, the onus to change Africa is on us Africans.

    • 18 James Ian
      July 10, 2009 at 15:19

      Good point and may I just add that we could send all the aid in the world but if it keeps being horded by the corrup African governments it’s not doing any good to the people who need it.

  12. 19 Malc Dow
    July 10, 2009 at 13:50

    Ironic that the Africans come over as oh so racist!
    Black is Good.
    White is Trash.

    As James Loudermilk stated; so what Obama is black, chocolate latte or green with blue spots. What’s the big deal? Mugabe is Black and he’s as dodgy as they come! It really is time Africa stop wanting anything other than an internal Big Effort to put a stop to the staggering corruption, mismanagement and downright criminal activities of their own, yup, Black Leaders.

  13. 20 KC
    July 10, 2009 at 14:01

    Obama was elected by the American people therefore his loyalties are with those who elected him rather than the continent of his ancestors. Africa should start standing up and building a better future for her people. This dependency culture from the west and other developed countries should be extinguished.

  14. 21 Munyoro
    July 10, 2009 at 14:07

    Why should we expect anything from him except conditions. I’m a Kenyan and I know Obama might have his roots here but its the Americans who voted him in, not us. Its all about them, not us

  15. 22 Tom K in Mpls
    July 10, 2009 at 14:08

    On every practical level Africa rates little more than a photo op at the moment. There are plenty of problems everywhere. When you consider that change is clearly in the distant future and they pose no threat outside of Africa’s borders, it makes no sense to expend large resources or efforts now. But the plant a seed analogy is a good one. I don’t think Africa should be abandoned but just given realistic attention.

  16. 23 Andrew in Australia
    July 10, 2009 at 14:20

    Of course they do. It is naive to expect that Obama will have any impact on Africa over and above what other US presidents have done in the past. Two facts that no one should ignore, especially Africans. Just because Obama is black, half African, he is an American first and foremost. He was born and raised. Second point, and more importantly, HE IS A POLITICIAN and I cannot emphasise that enough. Politics is the overriding factor, whether you are black or white, whatever. As a politician don’t count on any favours for your own ethnic group, let alone in another continent where no one will ever vote for him. Think about your own local politician, you are not even likely to have your own representative act on your behalf most of the time. They act for themselves first, interest groups second and their own voters third and final. Thats the only time they take notice or act for their constituants – when their vote is wanted. So would Obama turn out a saviour for Africa, not likely. Consider that after all his bluster on the environment he is not likely to want to make the drastic changes on carbon emissions that are needed because there are no votes where it matters for that and consider how important this is to the entire world so scale that down to Africa and its only a blip on the screen in the grand scheme of things for the present US president. And isn’t that what we have seen this past year, just a lot of speeches and good intentions but nothing binding or in fact concrete as yet. That’s politics and that’ US politics. Africans should look elsewhere or better yet, get on with the task ahead of them for themselves and not be either waiting for someone to rescue them or be beholding to outside interests for that matter. Do what you need to do yourself for your own sake.

  17. 24 Denise in Chicago
    July 10, 2009 at 14:39

    Yes, too much is expected by Africa of Obama and America. He cannot solve the corruption in many of the governments, which is at the heart of most of the problems. And with the current economic climate in most of the world, we simply cannot afford to keep giving money to these African countries (who have a wealth of their own natural resources).

  18. 25 Dinka Aliap Chawul,Kampala-Uganda
    July 10, 2009 at 14:49

    As an African,i think charity begin at home and therefore Pres Obama should first focus on American conditions because many people here dont believe that so called aids to Africa come through tax payers money who are now facing gigantic socio-economic pressures at home as we speaks since great depression of 19th century,and so we ( Africans ) must be sedative for whatever president Obama does,he is not that auto-solutions for all our local-made problems as other people had been rejoicing all long.How many decades have Africa been supported by international community especially US donations inorder for the continent to feed itself but its still changing from bad to worst .Africa must know that America is not Africa nor does Africa……………………!!. Continent must provides good governance upon her people than opening a begging baskets and arms for external solutions.

    • 26 Dinka Aliap Chawul-Kampala,Uganda
      July 10, 2009 at 15:33

      Offcourse,Africa does.Since news came last November that Obama has win US presidency,it was receive with much excitements,rejoices and a joyful cry all over the continent thinking that all their sufferings was sent to hell on that night in Africa like as all of their dictators & corrupts officials who had been keeping them slaves or hostage from international community were arrested or slaughtered the same night.

  19. July 10, 2009 at 14:53

    Hi WHYSers!

    In a way, it is to be expected that President Obama would have this impact on Africa. The very thought that one of their son’s son is now in the most powerful seat in the world brings with it all kinds of off the chart expectations. That however, does not change the fact that he is only able to assist only insofar as he is able, or allowed, given the constraints of the global political economy as well as the realities of governance in America. Africans must realise that they alone own the rights/ blueprint to their own success. To be happy that there is a descendant of theirs who sits in the most powerful seat in the world is good, but those feelings only last for so long. Nothing excuses hard work, dedication and a personal drive to succeed. President Obama’s achievements may inspire some, but the work of the continent’s success is squarely that of the African people, whether in Ghana, Kenya, or Nigeria or anywhere else on the continent for that matter. After all, the needs, etc. are not all the same, are they?

  20. July 10, 2009 at 14:56

    And like someone said, what is all this about a black American president? We got 50+ of those {actually blacker} of those in Africa and still…..

  21. July 10, 2009 at 14:57

    By the way, I like the question above of whether or not Egypt is in Africa. Very interesting way of highlighting the politics of skin colour, specifically as it applies to blackness and how that has been covered in the ‘international media’.

  22. 30 steve
    July 10, 2009 at 14:58

    Back in November, after Obama won, EVERYONE had too much expectations for him. Face it, he’s a human, a politician. He promises lots of things he cannot deliver. Unemployment in the US is worse, the economy is worse, and they’re now talking about a SECOND stimulus that would place the nation in even worse debt, mortgaging the lives of our children off. He’s a imperfect person just like everyone else. American didn’t somehow magically chance with his election. I see the same amounts of homeless people in DC. There are tent cities all over the nation, people are losing their jobs, Detroit has the highest unemployment rate in the nation, and the national unemployment average is 9.5%. So if Obama really isn’t helping America, how is he going to help Africa?

  23. 31 Steve in Boston
    July 10, 2009 at 15:03

    Obama is not a king–he’s the president of the US, and can do nothing without the approval of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.

    Right now some democrats are calling for another trillion or so dollars to be printed and pumped into the US economy. By the time Africa gets any greenbacks, all they’ll be good for is firing up barbecues.

    July 10, 2009 at 15:18

    In my perception, President Obama’s visit to Ghana and not to Africa. It seems to be of interest between Ghana and United States. He is not here to meet the leadership of Africa at a forum in Acra.

    He is not the first to do so though we believe America has capability to help steer Africa out of its problems. President Obama woun’t avoid to pay notice to the initiatives of his predicessors.

    Though his paternal roots are rooted in Africa, he is an American citizen who is the current incumbent of the White House. Any country would be honored to host him but it would good first of all to go through his speeches in order to see whether there are any policy issues involved or promises. He is a young generation president who might have a totally different approach to help Africa get out of many problems that plague this continent. We don’t know yet what to make of it.

  25. July 10, 2009 at 15:18

    President Obama has blazed a trail in his own life and has shown what courage, good common-sense, pragmatism and empathy could do to lift people’s lives and alleviate suffering and hardship. His roots are African and he has reached the pinnacle of political power through sheer hard work and diligence. As a shining example for the people and politicians of Africa, his visit should galvanize African minds in developing the work ethic and prospering that way. Africans should not expect free financial handouts from America. Instead they will have a receptive American President willing to listen to their problems and who would be fully prepared to give them sound advice. African leaders need to realise their own potential, govern sensibly free from the vicious grip of corruption and nepotism.

  26. 36 Mubaraka. ssesanga, kampala uganda
    July 10, 2009 at 15:31

    Yes fellow Afros are expecting a lot, personally i don’t expect anything, but i do enjoy the Obamania and his oratory skills.Speeches don’t do anything to Africa. About bad governance and dictatorship, he will just say, they are “un acceptable ” and life will go as usual.But i welcome him here, and wish him well, though i know Afaghanistan will define his presidency.Mubarak ssesanga kampala uganda.

  27. 37 Jessica in NYC
    July 10, 2009 at 15:32

    I understand President Obama is appealing to Africans, but everyone must manage their expectations. President Obama must first do the job his constituents elected him to do for the American people. Fixing our problems at home are paramount and a priority to all other issues. He can and should help promote an agenda to the African leaders that helps their people become self sustainable.

  28. 38 mountain adam in portland oregon usa
    July 10, 2009 at 15:40

    I hope my friends in Africa will keep things in perspective when it comes to the U.S. President. If people in Africa think Mr. Obama is their special child then people in the state of Kansas, USA should also have the same expectations. The other half of his heritage that is so often forgotten is the white half. The half that raised him. Lets face it folks he’s just a man, as Andrew in OZ pointed out a politician no less. I voted for him, but don’t expect too much of him myself so I ask my friends in Africa to do the same.

  29. 39 Gary Paudler
    July 10, 2009 at 16:01

    I’m afraid Africans (an inadequate descriptor for diverse peoples of many countries on a huge continent) will be disappointed with Obama much as we, his passionate supporters in the US have been. All his noisy initiatives have been diluted pandering to corporate interests: Finance reform, healthcare, the environment. I’d love to be surprised and find that Obama’s interest in Africa is about more than resource extraction. The corruption that is so often cited as the reason that aid has been ineffective exists largely because corruption is the grease that shifts Africa’s resource wealth into Western hands. Obama is probably more sincere than other recent presidents in his concern for social justice, but the doctrine that free trade will improve the lives of poor people has been roundly disproved everywhere. America, represented by our president, will make the right noises but Obama’s trip is about positioning America in Africa with China and Russia, all eager to secure resources for our industry. In Africa, a smiling, articulate black man is a good front for American business. If you were an African and three men came with their hands out who would you favor: Hu Jintao, Demetri Medvedev or Barack Obama?

    Summerland, California

  30. 40 Shannon
    July 10, 2009 at 16:04

    I am a middle-aged, working-class American woman. I am white. I have been raising money for poverty-relief in Africa since I started trick-or-treating for Unicef in 1969 at the age of five. Since then I have donated HUGE amounts of time and money to countless efforts to help African people. It seems most of my hard work and hard-earned cash ended up in the Swiss bank accounts of African despots, instead improving the lives of millions of honest, suffering people.

    President Obama is just that–the head of my country. He works for the American people first. That is his job. That is why I worked for his campaign and voted for him. His connection to Kenya gives him some insight into the extent of the corruption that exists on the continent. As a visiting U.S. senator, Obama lectured Kenyens about corruption and told them in no uncertain terms that U.S. taxpayers and private donators cannot continue to ladle cash into systems loaded with thieves.

    It is important for all Africans to keep in mind that President Obama’s African father abandoned him and his mother. His connection to the African continent is one rife with pain and frustration–which is shared by most well-intentioned Americans like me.

    I applaud the many African posters on this site who understand that African men and women are the ONLY people who can solve the problems that plague their beautiful and extraordinary continent. The rest of the world is MORE than willing to help, but Africans must take the lead and prove that our money, sincerely given, will not be stolen from those who need it most.

  31. July 10, 2009 at 16:09

    Too much? Too much of what?
    Africans generally expect favours from everyone, which is how we kept begging as a continent while the Asian Tigers rose from aid-dependent to aid giving nations.
    You see, there are other things up in Obama’s sleeve which Africa is totally not expecting, and will reject it if it is given; and that is criticism. A lot of countries in Africa have a way of doing their things – the wrong way and so they expect Obama to come and fraternize, promise open coast for every African who don’t want to farm, they would want him to put his ‘magic’ on their ailing economies and a host of other things, but they are hoping he won’t say a thing about how elections are being rigged, how corruption is being ‘nationalised’, how human rights are being abused and how life is hard for Africans. No sir, in this aspect they are not expecting much at all.
    If you ask me, I’d say Obama should give them both: aid, some trade concessions, scholarships and trainings and a generous helping of constructive criticism, it may help paint things in newer perspectives.

  32. 42 Anthony
    July 10, 2009 at 16:11

    Yes. We (Americans) are willing to give, but once it isn’t convienient and we have to sacrifice anything, that’s when it stops. That’s how we work, and guess what, now it isn’t convienient and we will have to sacrifice.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  33. 43 eric curtis howard, ghana
    July 10, 2009 at 16:33

    truly american policies towards africa will never change, perhaps to some extent but without some terrifying conditions. we in ghana know too well obama cannot change out economic fortunes in a day, but we are just too excited to have the first african american president of the u.s to visit our homeland. why not south africa or kenya but ghana? all other african countries who say otherwise about obama’s visit to my homeland is plain jealous. check us out! ghana all the way…

  34. 44 Tom D Ford
    July 10, 2009 at 16:39

    “Or do Africans have every right to expect these things from the first black President of America?”

    I am reminded of President John F Kennedy saying to U.S. Americans “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”, and I think that President Obama ought to ask that question of the people in Africa, in some words similar to “Ask not what Obama can do for you and your country, but ask what you can do to make your country more just for yourself and your fellow Africans”.

    That is, try and inspire them to do better for themselves, to ask more of themselves.

  35. 46 Amal , Dubai
    July 10, 2009 at 16:57

    I am a Moroccan national currently resident in Dubai. I would have liked Mr Obama to visit Morocco which is a beacon for many advanced measures in terms of grass-roots democracy and women’s rights.

    (this is a corrected version)

    • 47 RightPaddock
      July 11, 2009 at 13:51

      Arnal, Dubai wrote “Morocco which is a beacon for many advanced measures in terms of grass-roots democracy”

      Yeah, especially in occupied Western Sahara, where Morocco too continues to build its settlements.

  36. 48 fabrizio
    July 10, 2009 at 17:02

    Africa does see Obama as a superhero cause he is a role model, but not as a magician or god that will magically solve their problems.
    I hope he helps convince our African leaders to invest in their youths, inorder for them not to abandon their land. cause they are the future of tomorrow.
    Africa has a lot of hidden wealth, that needs to be unveiled! They just need the right Africans to help and do just that.

  37. 49 Edward
    July 10, 2009 at 17:05

    Im from kenya.Africans r expecting 2 much,obama wil only outlay an african policy beneficial 2 the usa,nobody cares abt us.abt the recent g8, 2050 is so far a tym nd Africa has so far suffered,hold ur horses,we nid more tym 2 deplete the ozone layer as u hav,wait until we reach the sem level of ur ‘civilization’ nd then we can start the negotiations.+2540722124940

  38. 50 Elias
    July 10, 2009 at 17:11

    Untill and unless countries in Africa get their politics right so that any aid sent to them are not absorbed by their corrupt leaders for their own benefit, it would be like pouring money and goods into a black hole.

  39. 51 Frances
    July 10, 2009 at 17:11

    it’s easy to get sentimental, but Obama is elected by and represents the US. He should be expected to and must do no more than what any other US president would/should.

  40. 52 gregory@CapeTown South Africa
    July 10, 2009 at 17:12

    Africans are not disillusioned. It will not be the first time that any president, whether American or whatever come with volumes of promises and good wishes. Whereas we appreciate assistance we are not putting our hand forward begging for something. In South Africa specific we had a very tough past and if we manage to get over years of separation, I don’t see how now with an open world, we suddenly become beggars.

    It is the first world types that goes around and make promises and backtrack when it comes to delivery. When African people then remind those of their promises then it comes through as if we have nothing else to do but to wait for hand outs. The US President has good intentions and those can only be realised through constructive partnerships based on trust and honesty and the assistance of his House of Representatives etc.

    As Africans we recognised that our success depends on a peaceful environment that is based on acceptable forms of governance of our people. Something that we have serious challenges at the moment

  41. 53 Shannon
    July 10, 2009 at 17:13


    I live in rural Ohio. At present my county’s unemployment rate is 15%. Those who are lucky enough to be working are under-employed. Six homes for sale on my street. Hard-pressed here. Not convienient to lose one’s income and home.

    A few days ago a woman in my county died in her car in a Wal-mart parking lot. She had been living in the car for a couple of weeks with her husband and children. Her husband made the 9-11 call.

  42. July 10, 2009 at 17:25

    President Obama has already “given” Africa (and the world) his best gift: a man committing his best effort to lead his nation with intelligence, inspiration, integrity and political savvy. The choice of Ghana as the host to Mr. Obama’s first visit as President to black Africa is appropriate on all counts, though it might disappoint those in other countries with their own local agendas. 1) Ghana is one of the black African nations most closely connected with black American history (rather than connecting with Obama’s African history). 2) And Ghana is a political model for other African nations.
    Obama’s efforts to reconnect the world with a rejuvenated America requires that he set foot in a black African nation… and Ghana is a superb choice as representative of what all African governments can aspire toward. The fact that he visits only one is clear evidence to every African that a black man as leader of the most influential nation in the world does not mean that Africa has special status for a black President. In fact, this more than anything else, demonstrates that race is only skin deep. Reality will sift the “pie in the sky” hopes pinned on Obama to “real life perspective” as he proceeds into his second six months as President and beyond.

  43. 55 Ikemesit Effiong, Abuja
    July 10, 2009 at 17:26

    One, Lets face it, Obama is an American, not African. the rule in Law and Latin is res ipsa loquitur- the facts speak for themselves.

    Two, The name of the country is Ghana and the continent involved is Africa, again res ipsa-the entire idea that one single individual in another nation can in a way wipe away (or help wipe away) the problems of another country speaks volumes of the performance of our leadership and our present cultural perceptions about the entire idea of positive social change.

    Three, Africa should rise up and step up. I would like to argue that for pragmatic reasons, the world should help Africa ( and Latin America) develop not only economically but also in the entrenchment of viable social institutions but in the end, hust like human history has shown, the onus of bringing Africa from the backwaters of global existence into the forefronts of championing a better humanity for all will (and is resting) on us…Africans. Don’t suggest to me that 750+ million people cannot pull this great continent from the shackleholds of corruption, war and poverty. We Really Can Do This Stuff!

    Finally, the commentator on BBC World News that suggested quoting his Sierra Leone friend that Africans have a cultural identity of being on the receiving end is relying on stale precedent. Everything rises and falls on leadership. The hereos of the West often times were great and pragmatic leaders who saw into the future and reached out to it to make the lot of their people a little better than they met it. A new geneation of Africans within Africa is slowly rising and we’ll pull this great and mighty continent out of its present predicament…and im not idealistic!

  44. 56 Dennis Junior
    July 10, 2009 at 17:41

    Yes, Africa is expecting too much from Pres. Obama…But, that is every president problem…

    ~Dennis Junior~

  45. 57 Julia in Portland Oregon
    July 10, 2009 at 18:07

    Most politicians make unrealistic promises that they have no intention of keeping.

    Barack Obama seems different in that he seems to have every intention of keeping his promises.

    It is unfortunate that when an official gets into office, they are faced with all the brick walls that keep productivity at bay.

    Most politicians stop looking for ways around the brick walls. I truly believe that President Obama will do his level best to find a way around, over or through the brick walls.

    I do not believe that having faith in his efforts is unrealistic…..I just think we have to give him some time. He can’t fix all the world’s ills and he absolutely can’t do it immediately.

  46. 58 mountain adam in portland oregon usa
    July 10, 2009 at 18:08

    One thing I think Africans should expect from Obama’s administration is more emphasis on African nations being important world players not puppets.
    Afica is a diverse continent with unbounded potential. It’s about time the wealthy nations started treating African nations as equals and partners.

  47. 59 Tom D Ford
    July 10, 2009 at 18:11

    Although Obama has no legal power in Africa like he has in the US, he has the power to inspire and ask people to be better people themselves, and that is real leadership power, that makes him potentially a great world leader.

  48. 60 Leslie
    July 10, 2009 at 18:13

    Listening online.. Sorry – but Africa has many resources. If corruption was ended in greedy leaders and population control were implemented in Africa, they could take care of themselves. The world has been supporting them for decades. Hand-outs and even attempts at hand-ups don’t seem to help. Freedom was wanted from control from France and Great Brittan, they got it and can’t seem to stand on their own and take care of their own. Get rid of the corrupt leaders and stand on your own and don’t blame leaders of other countries for your problems any more.

  49. 61 chidi (from Minneapolis, US)
    July 10, 2009 at 18:14

    As a Sierra Leonean American I believe that Obama should use this trip to scold our African leaders because allot of Governments in Africa are still caught up in tribal conflicts and pure corruption! I think he should be hard on the African leaders.

  50. 62 steve
    July 10, 2009 at 18:15

    Hate to break it to your guest, but the US never had an empire, and especially didn’t have colonies in Africa. You ask for an apology from America, yet not from the european nations that actually took over the land?

  51. 63 Anthony
    July 10, 2009 at 18:15

    @ Woman speaking

    I think Africans have exploited Africans more than Americans have.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  52. 64 Julia in Portland Oregon
    July 10, 2009 at 18:16

    I think that the US does need to apologize – although, it was not Obama’s fault, we as a country have abused our relationship with all Africans

  53. 65 Denise in Chicago
    July 10, 2009 at 18:17

    Your guest who suggested Obama apologize – is she serious?? America should be thanked for all we have done. Please, African countries need to step up and take care of themselves for a change. They must stop relying on other countries to take care of them.

  54. 66 Gary Paudler
    July 10, 2009 at 18:18

    An apology is an extraordinary and brilliant request for a first step as it would totally re-frame the relationship acknowledging the exploitation that has characterized the “aid” that Africa has received.

    It is and has always been about resources.

  55. 67 steve
    July 10, 2009 at 18:19

    Classic. Obama is President, Bush is gone, yet the US bashing continues. American, like an addict, kills to feed its addiction, but let’s ignore China, India and the rest of the world. I’m curious, who would have to be President for the US bashing to stop, or is US bashing something insecure, miserable people need, to feel better about themselves?

  56. 68 Tamika
    July 10, 2009 at 18:20

    I do not think that Obama should apologise. I think Africans in general are asking to much from Obama and are expecting more form him simply beacuse he has african heritage. He does not owe the continet anything. African leaders should stop corruption, Obama can do nothing to change the African leadership.

  57. 69 Keith
    July 10, 2009 at 18:21

    Oh my gosh Obama’s visiting Africa, he must be taking all of Ghana’s oil back to America on Air Force One!

  58. 70 patti in cape coral
    July 10, 2009 at 18:22

    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

  59. 71 Naomi
    July 10, 2009 at 18:22

    I’m an Eritrean that lives in America. Africa should not expect too much from Barack Obama. I think that what is happening in Africa is a huge crisis. This crisis primarily exist because there is a lot of aid given to African Nation, so we have a lot of nations and people depending on aid and resources from the western world that we’ve failed to cultivate our own nations and develop our people. I believe that there is a lot of potential, and instead of accepting aid, why not bring people to educate us on how to use what we have. Why not own what we have instead of our wealth being scattered amongst many western nations and companies. If Barack Obama really wants to help Africa he needs to adopt a policy towards Africa that is not purely giving aid while resources are exploited, but instead really adopt a policy that will help Africa become self sufficient and engage with America and other western nation under equal terms, as opposed to one that obliges Africa to be completely dependent on “charity” of Western Nations. Africa and African people are capable and we must take initiative, me must take ownership, and we must we must hold our leaders accountable, our leaders, not BARACK OBAMA! YES WE CAN!

  60. 72 chidi (from Minneapolis, US)
    July 10, 2009 at 18:23

    I’m aware of many Africans living in the US and UK who have made a virtuous attempt to go back home and try to develop their country of origin only to be rejected by the local Africans. Obama has nothing to do with what goes on in Africa. All he needs to do is promote good governance nothing else!

  61. 73 Anthony
    July 10, 2009 at 18:23

    Why dont Africans ask China for some aid, they have tons of money, while we are extremely in debt.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  62. 74 Tom D Ford
    July 10, 2009 at 18:24

    Africans need to look real hard at what businesses have done and are doing to their countries, corrupting leaders and essentially stealing their resources, and take steps to stomp out the idea of “Free Markets” like a poisonous snake and regulate their markets and resources to their own benefit.

    The history of Civilizations and Empires in Africa show us that the African peoples are fully capable of governing themselves to their own benefit.

  63. 75 Naomi
    July 10, 2009 at 18:26

    And May add..perpetuating the policy of purely just giving aid to Africa makes me think “White Man’s Burden”. Anyone else feel the same?

  64. 76 steve
    July 10, 2009 at 18:27

    Why would Obama suddenly be the inspiration for africans to want competent leadership? There have been competent leaders in the west for a very long time, who could have been examples. Do africans actually need to see other black leaders who govern well to be inspired, or could they have looked at someone like Thatcher, Churchill, Kennedy, Reagan, etc for inspiration for good leadership?

  65. 77 Robert in Oregon, USA
    July 10, 2009 at 18:27

    I think it is funny that we (America) need to say that we are sorry to Africa. I will admit that the US did some things but what about the European nations that were around, and in Africa, long before the US even existed?

    Should we apologize for being one of the biggest aid givers? Should we apologize for sending the most troops, via the UN, in an attempt to stabilize various locations?

    I think Africa (the people and the leaders) needs to stop sitting there with their hand out expecting more. If they cannot start doing things on their own at this point then no additional hand outs will make any difference.

  66. July 10, 2009 at 18:29

    We give $3 billion annually to Israel, an affluent country, and another $3 billion to Egypt and Jordan to collude with Israel, all to steal from, murder and oppress the Palestinians. Complaining about corruption and waste in Africa is inconsequential by comparison. All aid to Israel and its corrupt Arab allies should be redirected to Africa and other Third World nations.

  67. 79 Jitan C
    July 10, 2009 at 18:30

    In a 24 hours visit even super man couldnt do anything except lip service…

    Corruption is rampant in the 3rd world… and the leading coz of the slow growth of the country… Obama is a greta speaker but he is not a policeman…
    tomorrow the africans will go back to their corrupt ways…

    this one visit is nothing more than a tourist trip..

  68. 80 Gary Paudler
    July 10, 2009 at 18:31

    Get over petty nationalism? Are you kidding? What about all the juvenile, nationalistic posturing by the US, England, Russia, China? “Oh yeah? Well if you’
    re withdrawing 2 embassy staff then we’ll withdraw 2 of ours.” As usual, the developed world demands maturity and wisdom of the third world that we are incapable of exercising.


  69. 81 Chintan
    July 10, 2009 at 18:31

    AID is not the only thing that can help Africa, Obama, USA and western countries need to develop commerce in Africa. They can bring production from China for their goods to Africa. Right now all the production of western countries is concentrated in China; it’s like putting all your eggs in one basket.

    Commerce and free market can improve economy, give jobs help make people independent and their condition will improve. You can’t just keep on feeding the hungry everyday, if you give them an opportunity to work for their food which Africa is ready to do will help them and rest of the world immensely. And this would be the true AID.

  70. 82 Todd in Atlanta
    July 10, 2009 at 18:36

    Apology to Africa??
    Are you kidding me???

    I am a Nigerian and Caribbean individual living in the United States, and I’ve lived in Nigeria for some time.

    Obama owes Africa NO apology whatsoever, and no apology is going to help any African nation. We don’t need some stupid feelgood moment, we need massive changes!!
    Africa’s vile, disgusting, barbaric leaders ( Ibrahim Babangida, Mogabe, Sani Abacha, Nkunda etc, etc) need to be held accountable and not be allowed to just chill-out in their mansions somewhere in Europe or America after they’ve added to the mess.

    Furthermore, foreign companies should be mandated to invest in the local society and economy by helping to advance education, healthcare, science, technology and (especially) the protection of the environment. I have no problem with foreign companies working in Africa, but their investments in the ways I just enumerated will also help these companies advance, since they will have a larger pool of local talent to draw from, for ever increasing innovations.

    I LOVE Africa, and we are at a slight, momentary roadblock in history. Once things are turned around, the world will surely reap massive benefits.

  71. 83 Maurice
    July 10, 2009 at 18:38

    As an Afro-American Afracia is full of a bunch of cry babies with a victim mentality.President Obama was elected President of The United States, not Africa or the world. He took an oath to act in the best interests of the United States, not Africa. The world owes Africa nothing.

    If Ghana wants to sell oil to the United States, fine. If not, fine. The United States has invested hundreds of billions of dollars in Africa. What has Africa or the United States got to show for it. Until and unless Africa learns to rule in a way that benefits the vast majority of Africians, especially its poor, sick, and uneducated Africa will remain a black hole of whinners with victim mentalities. Grow up !!

  72. 84 James (Berin, Germany)
    July 10, 2009 at 18:38

    Hi All,

    I have been listening to the show with interest.

    Even if Obama was to offer some type of apology to Africa for the wrongs of America’s exploitation and economic imperialism of Africa, it would still continue!

    Bring peace to Africa. That is shockingly naive!

    The world is a grand chessboard and the USA has its own strategy to win. Obama is the most Wall Street president of all time, meaning it is all about dollars.

    Hope every one has a nice weekend!

  73. 85 Peter
    July 10, 2009 at 18:39

    Treating americans like demigods is a colonial legacy . On top of pop culture and tarzan has made african drawback . American should not force pop culture and movies etc and not portray asians and africans as inferior to west.

  74. 86 Maurice in Portland Oregon
    July 10, 2009 at 18:39

    Grow up Africa !!

  75. 87 Todd in Atlanta
    July 10, 2009 at 18:42

    …and the most important point from my statement, is that we Africans really need to fully get off our collective asses, stop accepting the status quo, and move things forward. I am sick of talking to fellow Africans, and having them say to me, ‘…ooooh, that’s just the way it is, it’s been like this for ages…’ .

    There’s nothing I hate more than ‘black apathy’.

    The innovation and brilliance of Africans needs to brought to the forefront and encouraged.

  76. 88 Susan
    July 10, 2009 at 18:43

    Africa, oh my sweet Africa!
    It’s time to get up and keep aside the belief that somehow, someday things will change. Well i think now is the time! Stand on your feet and make a thrusting forward movement so that the world can see your strength and above all, your capability. If Obama did it, then why can’t Mother Africa do it?

    Naples, Italy.

    • 89 Alexis
      July 11, 2009 at 14:31

      Susan! I like your comment. Interesting. u r a smart girl. U r right when u say, i quote “If Obama did it, then why can’t Mother Africa do it?”

  77. 90 N.J.
    July 10, 2009 at 18:44

    A lot of the third world and particularly Africa’s problems revolve around the fact that as of the turn of the 21st Century, the United States, Europe, and Japan, the top 16 percent of the worlds wealthy, use up 80 percent of the world’s resources. Of course a new imperialism, an economic imperialism has created various world groups like the G-8, the G-20, the IMF and the World Bank impose all sorts of conditions on the third world, that are not imposed on the wealthier economies that control these groups.

    There is a lot of U.S. bashing, but a lot of this is diversionary. The U.S. uses up 25 percent of the worlds resources. Europe and Japan use up the rest of that 80 percent.

    During the East Asian Crisis a decade ago, the U.S. and the IMF imposed strict conditions, demanding that the effected nations cut their deficits, even if that meant cutting spending in areas that contributed to an explosion of HIV in Thailand, or let to eliminating the government of Indonesia from providing food subsidies to the starving. Indonesia was also lectured about NOT bailing out its failing banks. These nations were forced to raise their interests rates by as much as fifty percent.

    Then in a wave of protectionism, both the United States and Europe offer massive subsidies to their own farmers as well as keeping their own markets closed to the only product that the non developed world has to offer. Its agricultural produce, except that which is produced as animal feed for European livestock.

    Therefore Africa, which could easily feed its own people, is restricted to one percent of the world markets. Doubling this to 2 percent would allow Africa to not only feed its own people, but create an additional 80 billion dollars of income to replace the much smaller sums that are being sent back in the form of foreign aid.

  78. 91 steve
    July 10, 2009 at 18:45

    Ghana: Used to be called Gold Coast. Was a British colony. the US NEVER, EVER had any colonies like Europe did. Zaire used to be the Belgian King’s personal playground, where many people were killed to make him richer. Yet only the US is supposed to apologize.

    • 92 RightPaddock
      July 11, 2009 at 15:07

      US Colonies – Philippines, Guam, US Samoa, Pilau.

      re Zaire – Belgium’s colonisation of Zaire was aided and abetted by President’s Lincoln and Arthur. Belgium must bear full responsibility for the atrocities that happened the Congo during colonial times. However were it not for support they received from the US they may not have been able to overcome the objections of the other European countries to their claim over that territory.

      The US compounded their complicity in that countries tragic history by installing and supporting Mobutu, And then to make matters worse it allowed him to remain in power until 1997!.

  79. 93 steven in Tampa FL USA
    July 10, 2009 at 18:46

    Its what all the young people in africa can learn that regardless of who you are you can achieve and be a positive change to society. He cannot change our current situation in africa as long as we start lifting ourselves.

  80. 94 steven from Malawi in Tampa FL USA
    July 10, 2009 at 18:47

    Its what all the young people in africa can learn that regardless of who you are you can achieve and be a positive change to society. He cannot change our current situation in africa as long as we start lifting ourselves.

  81. July 10, 2009 at 18:47

    Slaves were sold to American slave holders and owners! Get your history straight. Not that it makes it a good thing.

  82. 96 Keith
    July 10, 2009 at 18:47

    Although I am quick to acknowledge that Africa has been exploited by other countries (but also by its own leaders) quite frequently, it is very annoying to have all of the blame put on America. To be fair, Africa has been taken advantage of by almost, if not every world power at some point in history.

    It is unpleasant to have the large aid programs and movements carried out in America to help Africa suggested to be a scam for America to obtain resources. What all have we obtained from Africa in recent history?

    I ask this because private US philanthropists and populus have contributed 22 billion a year to Africa in recent history, and the american government has contributed 16.3 billion. Are all these US citizens in on this great scheme to rob Africa of its resources?

  83. 97 Michelle
    July 10, 2009 at 18:47

    Obama – as with all politicians – needs to tread a thin line. I believe that as a nation we have a lot to apologize for, but every time he makes anything approaching an apology he gets slammed by the right wing media in the U.S.


  84. July 10, 2009 at 18:49

    Obama is a black American, not African. His ancestory, on his father’s side which he hardly had any reraltionship, stems from the continent of Africa.

  85. 99 Scott [M]
    July 10, 2009 at 18:49

    Just to set the record straight. This is an unfortunate fact, but a fact nonetheless, blacks sold blacks into slavery in Africa. I don’t know why these discussions are always black against white.

    Africans need to take responsibility for their actions. Not to mention Rwanda—remember what happened there? Black on black—possibly a million dead Africans at the hands of other Africans. Anyway you look at it, the genocide was more egregious than any part of America’s history with Africa—it doesn’t excuse America’s actions, but it puts things in perspective.

  86. July 10, 2009 at 18:50

    I think it’s wonderful that people see America as exploiting the resources of Africa, when, in fact, it is the Leaders in Africa who are exploiting their own people in order to be in business with America. The problem is not with the purchaser, in this case. If the sellers would stop undercutting eachother, and exploiting their own people, then the rest of the world would have no choice but to pay a reasonable price for services rendered.

  87. 101 Theo in Portland Oregon
    July 10, 2009 at 18:50

    I hate to spoil this for the optimists, but there needs to be a reality check. The U.S. economy is tanking, we’re fighting two wars and Obama is pushing a health-care reform. With a Israel-Iran fight looming, North Korea threatening to test missiles off Hawaii’s coast, Africa is not even on the top 10 items on Obama’s agenda. He will probably do some nice gestures but we have a massive deficit, it’s not going to be much more than what we already give. He may improve on Bush’s Africa aid, but that’s not saying a lot. He can’t fix it all, he’s not Jesus Christ but he’s definitely not George W. Bush.

    • 102 RightPaddock
      July 11, 2009 at 15:23

      @ Theo in Portland Oregon – wrote “… but he’s definitely not George W. Bush”

      What does that mean? Bush gave at least 50% more in aid to Africa than Clinton. and the latter was in power in the really good times, no wars, dot com led economic boom etc, and Bush also helped get the pharmas to make retro virals available in Africa.

  88. 103 Tom D Ford
    July 10, 2009 at 18:51

    There is a real difference between the Bush/Cheney “Unitary Executive” (read as dictatorship) that ruled through fear and intimidation with their “War of Terror” against the world, and Obama/Biden with their policy of inspiration and respect for the people of the world.

    I don’t agree with everything Obama asks for but I did not like at all the lying and fear-mongering Bush group.

    Obama builds people up to make them look good, in contrast to Bush who demonized people with fear to make them look bad.

    Africans can look at Obama as a role model of what they can do and be for their own countries.

    Inspirational for better aspirations!

  89. 104 Mark
    July 10, 2009 at 18:51

    I really liked the idea someone had of Obama giving a general apology for the exploitation of Africa by the US over the years. As an American who has lived in DR Congo for most of his life, I’ve seen the effects of that exploitation through the support of dictators and predatory loans.

    As to how I perceive Obama’s visit to Ghana, it’s fantastic that he is showing interest in Africa so early into his term of office, and I hope that this will spur the US to establish relations with African countries that are more beneficial to common Africans. However, the realist in me doubts that will happen. The American general public really does not seem to have much interest in the well-being of Africa. American companies, such as drug companies and oil companies, are able to operate with impunity because people in the US don’t have any idea what they are doing and don’t try to find out because they benefit from those activities.

  90. 105 James (Berin, Germany)
    July 10, 2009 at 18:52

    Structural adjustment programs enforced upon African nations since the late 1970’s by the United Nations through the IMF and World Bank purposefully destroyed African agriculture in the pursuit of neo-liberalism.

    How many were impoverished? How many people perished?

    Who gained?

  91. 106 Rose
    July 10, 2009 at 18:53

    I am a US citizen, and as far as I’m concerned an apology to Africa is deserved, and not just from the US. However, from a political standpoint, I hope that Africans – who on average may well be more politically aware than people in the US – can understand that from the standpoint of getting re-elected, it is not a good idea. Each time Obama says anything that can be interpreted as an apology to another country or people, there is an immediate outcry from people in the US who are watching him closely for anything that they feel can be used as ammunition against him!

  92. 107 Phyllis , Naples Florida
    July 10, 2009 at 18:53

    President Obama does have personal influence just by expressing his views. He has credibility in the developing world and inspires the young and old to hope and act. Look at what is going on in Iran.
    The young lady needs to update her knowledge and information.
    Her arguments are so outdated and ill informed.

  93. 108 Don
    July 10, 2009 at 18:53

    The woman who says Obama must apologize to Africa sounds to be pretty young. I’m 24 years old and I voted for Obama. I didn’t support any of the policies in our history that she’s talking about. I don’t own nor condone owning any slaves, I haven’t personally exploited Africa’s resources.

    What I can personally do is support new policies which benefit Africa, but if the next generation of leaders there preemptively think I owe them something and are demanding that I apologize for things I didn’t do why would I feel warm about their plight?

  94. July 10, 2009 at 18:55

    I’m a Canadian living in Portland, OR and I just returned from Kenya. There, I was continually struck by how much love Kenyans seemed to have for Obama. They truly consider the American president a Kenyan at heart.

    Everywhere we went, we’d see minivans painted with pictures of Obama and even semi-trucks named “Barack Obama” on the road from Nairobi to Mombassa. The international love for our new president should not be taken lightly, whether you agree with his policies or not. Feeling this kind of US-love from Africans would have been unimaginable a year ago.

    I do worry that Kenyans, particularly the very poorest of Kenyans, expect too much of Obama — just as I worry that Americans expect too much of one man. But the feeling of hope and the inspiration Obama brings with his shiny, new Presidency should be used as a catalyst to bring about greater self-sufficiency throughout Africa. Not taking advantage of this exciting moment in history would be a tragedy.

    I personally think that the best way to make sure that any new G8 funding truly reaches the people it is earmarked for is to keep African governments out of the equation as much as possible. Talk to the reputable NGO’s/charities already working in hard-hit African regions and ask them what the people need, both NOW and down the road.

  95. 110 Gary Paudler
    July 10, 2009 at 18:55

    RE: Teaching Africans to grow their own food. US agricultural policy has bankrupted small farmers throughout the Americas. I am very cynical about US motives and methods and Obama has shown an easy willingness to bow to commercial interests in domestic policy-making, why would we expect him to act otherwise with respect to our relationships in Africa?

  96. 111 Sam
    July 10, 2009 at 18:56

    I am an african living in one of the poorest city in ohio which is East cleveland.
    Obama can’t provider joe for the people east cleveland before africa It is all about Ghana oil

  97. 112 Thomas Jr Bimba
    July 10, 2009 at 18:57

    This is what we expect from Obama or any world leader as Africans.
    Please stop the institutional imbalances that exist in Trade, culture and even technological exchange.
    There is a massive brain drain in Africa today. Obama and other world leaders can do something about this.
    Why is the price for my labor-same labor be worth more in the US than it is in somewhere in Africa?
    Obama can change what the IMF, WB does in Africa.
    African leaders are corrupt!!!!!!!!!!!! but they do not keep the stolen wealth in AFrica, help us send it back to Africa
    Hold MNC that exploit Africans, dump waste in their countries accountable
    Haliburton was just convicted of bribing Nigerian officails in the US but the fine they paid around Half a Billion dollars goes to the US government not back to the Nigerian people that were cheated.
    This is what he can change without losing his American base and gain more support around the world.
    Lastly Obama was elected by American, he will stand reelection before them, so he will listen more to them, than any AFrican.

    By the way were do you get some of your panel members. Some of them have expressed such an ignorance about US and global politics.

    Indianapolis, Indiana USA

  98. 113 Maurice in Portland Oregon
    July 10, 2009 at 18:57

    The woman who seems to hate America and believe America can do no right and is responsible for everything that is wrong in Africa needs to grow up. If America attempts to directly influence a change in the leadership of Africian countries America is accused of violating the rights of the people of those countries. If America accepts the leadership, not necessarily approving of it, and deals with an African dictator America is accused of supporting a dictator. If America buys the rsources of an African country America is accused of exploiting Africa. Why is it America exploits while China, Britian, France, India, etc do not face the same charges. And yet, America and American have given more financial support to Africa than any other country in the world. Billions of dollars of my tax dollars are being sent to Africia just to fight AIDS; and yet Africians resist safe sex at an alarming percentage. When are Africians going to take responsibility for Africians ? I am an Africian American and gives thanks that I was spared being an Africian despite the brutal hardships my family endured over the centuries to get me to where I am now. The African woman who definitely hates America would do well to remain in Africa and refuse any help or assistance with any connection to America until she grows up.

  99. 114 Jake from Indianapolis
    July 10, 2009 at 18:58

    I feel that historians from the left have shown how capitalism in general and the US, Britain, France, etc. is largely responsible for the varioius crises, both economic and humanitarian, that currently exist in Africa. I would say that an apology from the United States is warranted, though not likely to happen. Just as an apology from Britain would be helpful.

    • 115 RightPaddock
      July 11, 2009 at 15:36

      @Jake from Indianapolis – Just as an apology from Britain would be helpful.

      But not France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal eh? Each one of these had an African colonial record that was no better than Britain’s, and in some cases arguably worse.

  100. 116 Bret Bergst in Portland Maine
    July 10, 2009 at 18:58

    It is symbolically important that Obama is visiting the African continent in his first year. It should be celebrated. However, given the economic and political climate in the US it is difficult to see many changes in the relationship between the US and Africa at this time. Hopefully I am wrong..but corruption, human rights abuses and instability make many places in Africa seem like unattractive investements.

  101. 117 Andy in Indianapolis
    July 10, 2009 at 19:12

    I’m tired of the US bashing. Some of it of course is justified, much is not.
    Wake up call – nation states exist primarily for their own ends. All nations have a self serving foreign policy.
    That said, our country has engaged proactively in the African continent at critical points in history, and at times for reasons entirely unrelated to natural resources or cold war politics.
    Case in point – 1992 former US pres. George HW Bush sent US troops into harms way in Somalia to quell civil strife and genocide. Former president Clinton continued this effort – not for resources or geopolitical benefit, but because it was the right thing to do.
    Where were the other world powers?

    Through George W. Bush’s tenure, the US sent more financial assistance to fight AIDS than all other nations on Earth combined.

    I’m sure President O’Bama will continue this trend, but such engagement is not new for the US.

    This is to say nothing of the impact and reach of America’s universities and not for profits on the African continent. I think its time the continent direct its own affairs better and get a grip on good governance.

  102. 118 gregory@CapeTown South Africa
    July 10, 2009 at 19:18

    With all this “africa is expecting to much” views I hate to break it for you all you. Africans are realistic. Unlike lot of talk, we as people know that it is hard work by ourselves who will set us straight.

    Look at the western world’s policies in detail and you soon realise that it is inward bound to themselves. Exploiting the richess of Africa with corrupt leaders thus fueling this scourge of corruption on our continent is a hobby for the western world and China.
    The merry merry feeling about Barack Obama this and Barack Obama that should be understood in the context of Africans always welcomes their own, no matter how remote such connection could be. It’s like reconciling with a long lost brother but the feeling will eventually fade away.

  103. 119 Jajah
    July 10, 2009 at 19:20

    I dont think Africans are expecting too much from Obama.We are only excited that one of our own has achieved what the sceptics thought could not be possible decades ago, and the fact that Obama has shown the world that the Africans can also become great.For me that is significant.

  104. 120 Tom D Ford
    July 10, 2009 at 19:28

    As to apologies, many of the Corporations that benefited from slavery are still in existence and I see no reason that they should not be made to pay reparations to the descendants of the people they abused and exploited as slaves.

    Corporations cannot die but the people they killed sure could die and those Corporations ought to be given the opportunity to apologize through paying reparations.

  105. 122 Barnabas Asamoah Boateng
    July 10, 2009 at 19:42

    Accra is just heated up

  106. 123 Tom K in Mpls
    July 10, 2009 at 19:46

    Here is an important issue. As with all people there are members and outsiders. The difference in Africa is that outsiders are not to be trusted or helped. This explains much of their political issues. Now if you are a member, they are generous to a fault, literally. With their agricultural and hunter recent past, everything they needed was available in abundance. If a member needed or asked, anything was given regardless of personal supply.

    Now this explains what they expect of Obama. They feel he is one of them. They have a very real need and the US is ‘rich’. Now for another aspect related to the points stated. Their culture is short sighted due to the abundance of their history up to the recent past. They never needed to stockpile, plan or convert resources. This is what is required to become an industrialized society.

    I know Africans can intellectually debate these concepts as well as anyone. But it is not part of their psyche. A word this show has me regretting ever bringing up. When as a people they can trade with their neighbors, local, national and intercontinental, to their mutual gain. When the cash they earn is seen as a tool to build their future instead of pocket stuffing, then they will succeed.

  107. 124 Keith
    July 10, 2009 at 20:17

    @ Tom D Ford-

    I can see a reason why corporations shouldn’t pay reparations. The current beneficiaries of previous crimes of slavery were not responsible for those crimes, they have just benefited in some way.

    The people that currently own such companies, or are employed by such companies did so by going to business school, working very hard, and ultimately assuming their position at a successful company. If the companies were forced to pay this money then these individuals stand the risk of losing their job, even though they had nothing to do with the original crimes.

    The people that have taken advantage of these people died one hundred years ago. They have already had their fun at the expense of the victims, and cannot be held accountable for their actions, at least not by human hands. It is a tragedy that cannot be amended, no matter how much money is taken from their descendants.

    To try to quantify the discrepancy between the current resources of those hurt by slavery and those helped by slavery is impossible, and therefore to force them to pay reparations would be robbing innocent people. Sorry.

  108. 125 rob z.
    July 10, 2009 at 20:38

    HI,I mentioned earlier that only Africans on the ground can change things for themselves.
    A part of the reality is ,before you can have serious talks about more aid and investment;there needs to be stability.
    Oil companies have a bad reputation in some areas becuase the local governments let them do what they want and most of the money leaves the country.With a cut going to local governors or militants.
    The USA has little control over what a host country allows business men to do.
    Obama can be an agent of change,he try to promote good principles.
    But Obama can not control other leaders or remove warlords and greedy dictators.
    I voted for Obama,he has my full support.
    Removing heads of state is not the job of the USA,EEU or U.N.

    I was questioned about principles,on air.
    Yes,principles are important,laws are important.
    But greed is what is killing people,greed is what motivates people.
    This is apart of human nature,greed is bad.

  109. 126 Keith
    July 10, 2009 at 20:39

    In regard to my previous post, I have one more point about reparations:

    Should all current Americans, including the ones descended from immigrants, etc, pay reparations to Native Americans, as the land taken from them is now occupied by these people? American colonists (from England, Spain, etc) killed them and took their land (the value of resources America has obtained from Africa pales in comparison to what they have taken from Native Americans).

    Most of what you own, (yes you), has been taken from someone else at some point in history. Land has changed hands too many times to count in history, and the resources (oil, timber, precious stones) on the land have been traded for profit, by those who may or may not have deserved it, and then traded again. People have been slaughtered in wartime and their belongings distributed to winning side.

    You are born into circumstances beyond your control, and it is unfair to act entitled to resources owned by others, who similarly, were born into circumstances beyond their own control.

  110. July 10, 2009 at 21:09

    Ghanaians are increasingly coming to the realisation that we’re the only ones to make our country a better place. I don’t think we’re expecting handouts from America before we can have food on our tables. All we need from the West is equal access to their markets and the removal of structural impendiments for fair international trade. I believe the African of today can better his lot without food aid.

    All the euphoria about the visit of Obama is just to welcome a son of Africa back to his roots but not to beg him for alms.

  111. July 10, 2009 at 21:20

    Barack Obama is an American president and must solve American problems. We don’t expect him to solve our problems for us. In any case he can’t solve our problems for us. We created our own problems and are gradually coming out of our problems. We don’t want to be the scar on the conscience of the world as Tony Blair described us in 2005.

  112. 129 Abram
    July 10, 2009 at 21:56

    Just a couple of years ago, Ireland used to be among the poorest countries on the European Continent — but due to the special attention that the Irish got from many US Presidents of Irish origin, now Ireland has become among the wealthiest. If he would, Obama could also demonstrate similar preferential engagements in Africa.

  113. July 10, 2009 at 22:09

    I am very optimists to welcome president Obama to the mother land of Africa. I hope the his tour to some of the Africa countries as the US president Obama could makes a huge signal for the future of young generations in Africa as whole because here he was the first black African American president in the history of the United States. However, his new leadership style will show much more on the realization of the democratic reforms system in some of the countries which are being ruled by the dictators’ leaders. Finally, his arrival in Ghana must be compared with the time when the missionaries were arriving to Africa during in1888. Thanks

    John Madut -USA

  114. 131 Bert
    July 10, 2009 at 23:35

    Two recurring themes expressed in this blog, by the many western apologist contributors, are (a) apologizing for slavery, and (b) apologizing for “expoliting” Africa’s natural resources.

    Neither of these makes a lick of sense.

    Americans did not invade or colonize Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, or Togo, to establish a slave trade, nor did they kidnap Africans for this trade. The slave trade was a well-established enterprise already. The typically myopic American businessmen certainly did make use of this existing enterprise, for their own short-term gains. But that does not warrant an apology TO Africa. It may well warrant an apology to America.

    As to exploiting natural resources, I don’t think I have heard that complaint from, say, Saudi Arabia or Kuwait. Or am I just out of touch? We import olive oil from Italy and Spain, yet I have not heard them complaining about exploitation. We import all sorts of things into the US, and other western countries do as well, both raw materials and finished products, without it being characterized as exploitation.

    Seems to me that “exploitation” is largely the product of the victim mentality. A country that feels exploited is a country that feels it is being trampled on. Perhaps western apologists should look to the Arab oil states to see how resources can be traded without instantly playing the exploitation card.

  115. 132 Deryck/Trinidad
    July 11, 2009 at 01:55

    @patti in cape coral

    The guy with the great voice is Wole Soyinka and I thought it was only I that admired his voice. Extremely intelligent guy. http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/africa/2009/05/090529_wole_soyinka.shtml

  116. 133 John B.
    July 11, 2009 at 04:43

    I fear too many Africans look to Obama as the elixir for all of their problems and what I think – and hope – is they will get a no nonsense wake-up call from the President about taking responsibility for more of their own problems and stop depending on Europe and America to fund their seemingly endless struggle towards self-reliance. Africa has the resources, energy and will-power to solve their own problems; the constant handouts do little more than handicap their efforts.

  117. 134 chris owen
    July 11, 2009 at 05:31

    as there is no messageboard for the world service, I will make my comlaints here!

    I know the world service is run by americans, and I know the honduras coup was really organised by the americans, but please don’t refer to the current illegal military putsch as an ‘interim’ government or the perpetraters as ‘successors’.

  118. July 11, 2009 at 11:13

    I see Ghana is first stop. Nothing to do with oil being discovered.

  119. July 11, 2009 at 13:33

    Indeed, Africa is expecting far too much from Obama. Alot of people in Africa mistake Obama’s history with Africa for some kind of kingsmanship, which simply doesn’t exist. The man is an America, period. Obama can definitely not do beyond what American policies will permit any American president to do. Even though it is important that Obama has ties with Africa, we should allow the man to do his job.

  120. 137 Umar Abanifi
    July 11, 2009 at 15:56

    We are always quick to associate ourselves with successful and high achievers. And quick to claim as ours those in prominent positions.

    It is human nature – i agree
    My only question to those clamoring about Obama background is – If Obama is a begger on the street of Chicago or London, would they claim him as one of their?

    There are so many destutes of African decent on those streets wanting to be claimed. It would great if those nations could aggressively claim ownership.
    As far as i am concerned he is American President (not African messiah because of his Keyan route).
    As leader of one of the most powerful nation on the planet is to use that position to address global issues such as the environment, poverty but his first priorrity and cure is to the psople who elected him.

    Umar Abanifi


  121. 138 RightPaddock
    July 11, 2009 at 16:08

    There seems to be a mood among US posters that the Africans are holding out their begging bowls expecting them to be filled with Obama’s treasure.

    Yet the vast majority of posts from African posters are not saying that at all, many would just like him to read the riot act to their leaders.

    So where’s this disconnect happening, could it be that the media is mis-representation peoples opinions. “We want more aid” makes a better headline because its made up of single syllable words. Whereas “we want help in creating a transparent bureaucracy, a corruption free police force, and an independent judiciary” has words with four syllables – “just dumb it down dammit” I can the hear editor/producer yell.

    Another fact is that when people are vox popped on the street they usually give the answer they think the interviewer wants, if they give the “wrong” answer then they won’t get their 15 seconds of fame.

    And the media can do a lot with a couple of fast edits, I was vox popped (not the BBC) a couple of weeks ago, what was broadcast was not what I said.

  122. 139 saad, occupied baluchistan
    July 11, 2009 at 17:00

    Africans has a lot of potential. They have the leadership crises as we have seen in past. It is now Obama’s responsibilty to do something for them so that they might come at par with the developed world, and certainly they can.

  123. 140 Mohammed Ali
    July 12, 2009 at 13:02

    No, africans are not expecting nothing much from Obama and America. Naturally Africa is a rich continent and it needs to bring those riches to reality is the political will. That political will cannot be given by no other person but we the Africans ourselves. All we need is the conviction that we can compel our leaders to do what is right.

    The excitement of we the Africans is from the point of view that Obama will some how make African leadters to govern according to the wishes of the people.

  124. July 12, 2009 at 18:18

    I am not sure people are expecting too much from the Obama visit. The reactions you see are just the natural ways African express themselves when they love and support someone.It is true though that there is some amount of expectation that the President’ visit will influence things in the continent since America is regarded as the greatest nation on earth. However, my view of Obama’s speech is that he struck the right cords on democracy, corruption and unity for the cntinent’s development and progress. I pre-empted his speech on my HYS subscription. And believe you me if African leaders and their people realize that Africa is their responsibility, the continent will improve significantly.

  125. July 12, 2009 at 18:40

    Very good programme from BBC.
    Thanks to BBC.
    Now,American President gave a wonderful speech on democracy,evils of corruptions in African countries.
    He has promised to give more aids to African countries for upbringing of child care,womens emancipation and for agricultural purposes.
    First,If African governments joins together for their separate indentical promotions in all fields are most welcome.
    Good education,elimination of corruption,violence free,less migration to some western countries,recognising and identifying of African high class of intelligent,experienced persons partcipation to their countries aim for good growth to all vital fields.
    If they have sincere aims and polcies for aids mobilisations will turn Africa from Red to Green.

  126. 143 Deryck/Trinidad
    July 13, 2009 at 11:25

    My problem is how do the peolple demand accountability and transparency from intransigent leaders and governments without resorting to rallies, protests and eventually violence. My observations of leaders and governments are that they don’t welcome criticism and they justify the need for their actions despite censure.

    For Africa to change into a prosperous land the people themselves must be willing to change because African societies themselves are corrupt hence the reason that corrupt leaders arise. Therefore if corruption is socailly and culturally ingrained in the society nearly every new leader will almost certainly be corrupt.

    African must first tackle corruption from a philosophical standpoint. Each country must be able to make a national debate about corruption and examine the psyche and mentality of the people towards it.

    In my own country there is corruption and before I blamed only the leaders. Then I recognised that the population that the leaders were taken from and the systems and institutions were also corrupt, hence even I will be prone to corruption if Idecide to get into politics.

  127. 144 Tom D Ford
    July 13, 2009 at 17:39

    @ Keith
    July 10, 2009 at 20:17

    “@ Tom D Ford-

    I can see a reason why corporations shouldn’t pay reparations. The current beneficiaries of previous crimes of slavery were not responsible for those crimes, they have just benefited in some way. … ”

    You completely miss the point.

    Corporations are legally defined as a “person” and as a “person” who was alive at the time of slavery and benefited from slavery and owed “40 acres and a mule” to the slaves who were alive back then, those still living “Corporate Persons” still owe that unpaid debt to those slaves or their descendants.

    Now, here is an additional irony, since a Corporation is legally a “person”, if you own a Corporation you legally own a “person” and thus you are a slaveholder, an owner of a “slave”. That would seem to contradict the US constitutional Amendment against Slavery, which if I recall correctly is the Fourteenth..

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