President Obama and Africa: The meaning of historic visit to Ghana
7/10/2009 10:30:50 PM -
History will fervently record this historic visit of President Obama to Ghana. For the first time an African American will journey to Africa in the capacity as the president of United States of America. Continental Africans are excited at receiving this August visitor who happens to be one of their own. But the president of America is not visiting Africa because he has relatives in Africa. The continent of Africa has a strategic significance to America and according to President Obama during his interview with AllAfrica.com:"There are strategic, national security, economic, environmental reasons why we think this region is important. And part of the reason we wanted to - although we're only going to one country this time, I actually thought that it made sense for us to connect a trip to Ghana to a previous trip with the G8. We'll be meeting a number of African countries in Italy during the G8 meeting - before that, a meeting in Russia - to show that Africa is directly connected to our entire foreign policy approach; that it's not some isolated thing where once every term you go visit Africa for a while to check that box, but rather it's an ongoing part of a broader discussion about how we move many of these international challenges forward."
Africa has to understand that she must be willing to stand up, be counted and to reject the basket case mentality she subscribed to. Then America can be able to contribute to the well being of Africa when our leaders are serious about governance and respect of rule of law.
No matter how you look at it; this is a big deal and forthcoming visit will be a momentous occasion. Who knows that at this juncture in geo-political affairs that Americans will have the courage and audacity of hope to elect a black man to the highest and most visible position in the world. Africans can finally put into their heads and minds that American democracy works and democracy can work for any people or nation who are serious and are willing to play to rule of the game. Americans have surprise the rest of the world who never anticipated President Obama to happen because they think that the force and players in democratic America are not serious about including their minorities in the democratic process. Now the coming of President Obama to land of his fathers have shown to Africans that democracy can work for all including Africans. President Obama is the best sales man for democracy and free enterprise.
The great thing about having an African American president is that he can look into the eyes of his African counterparts and tell them precisely without mimicking words that they have let their people down. African leaders cannot accuse him of colonial and paternalistic mentality. They will have no legs to walk with when a black person like them will tell them to buckle up and adjust their loosen waist belts. The time have come to â€˜break it down' to African big men that business is no longer as usual. To let them know that the emerging 21st century must be an age of transformation and renaissance. Africa must live up to the promise of unity and progress envisaged by their forerunners: Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr. Kwane Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyetta and rest of African freedom loving fathers.
It is important to make this point: Not all African leaders are unproductive and incapable of governance. Many leaders are rising to the demand of 21st century including the former President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, former Presidents Jerry Rawlings and John Kufuor of Ghana, President Kikwete of Tanzania and many others.
Africa have some really bad leaders especially President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe who is using the latest alliance with pragmaticPrime Minister Tsvangirai to hang into power. From our perspective at Afripol, this alliance is a sham and it will go down in political divorce. Robert Mugabe is making all the effort to survive and is willing to play one of his gimmick including fabricating this pseudo-alliance.
Let's give credit to American media that have turned around from their old ways and have not treated the coming visit to Ghana as a safari tour. But have given the trip a well deserved and fair delineation unlike the usual primordial analysis. Africa as a continent has a lot to offer to the world, all she need is sincere partner and Obama's America is a friend that is willing to offer a helping hand. America cannot spoonfeed Africa with foreign aid because what Africa needs is a trading partner that is willing to give her concessions in matters of trade and finance. Moreover, experience and history have proven that aid is not an engine of development.
Ghana is one the most reliable and stable country in Africa and deserves this great honour bestow to her by visiting President Obama for choosing her at the first official destination to Africa. This is not to say that Ghana is a perfect nation neither has she been exempted from all the structural imbalances of a developing nations. Notwithstanding, Ghana has chosen to do the right thing and to be accountable to her people. For this development America has rewarded her by showcasing them to the world. This will encourage African leaders to rise to the occasion and respect the rule of law in their respective nations. President Obama explained the meaning of Ghana and the visit, saying " by traveling to Ghana, we hope to highlight the effective governance that they have in place." This is exactly what Ghana means to Africa and the world.
Mr.Emeka Chiakwelu is the Principal policy strategist at Afripol Organization.
Africa Political and EconomicStrategicCenter (Afripol) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.
Articles by Emeka Chiakwelu