Saturday, July 11, 2009

Pres. Obama lays out general Africa themes, but we still need the details.

I participated in the BBC radio "Focus on Africa" program today concerning the visit to Ghana by President Obama. Most of the participants focused on the president's call to Africans to take control of their own future and the need for good governance. I noted that he also emphasized a willingness by the United States to support development that offers real benefits to more people, especially the improvement of agriculture and food security. Although he did not use the term in his speech in Ghana, he has called elsewhere for a green revolution in Africa. He also stated that the United States would continue the effort of President Bush to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria, and TB in Africa. He added to this list the eradication of polio and neglected tropical disease. Finally, he stated that the United States would step up its efforts to prevent and mitigate conflict in Africa, noting in particular the on-going problems in Darfur, Somalia, and the Congo. When asked what was left out of the speech, I suggested that I missed more emphasis on private American investment in Africa, as this could provide the most positive impact on improving African economies.

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