When it was announced that President Obama would give a major policy speech towards Sub-Saharan Africa in Ghana, there was considerable interest about what that would entail.
Obama’s historic speech which was given to the Parliament of Ghana covered several areas:
1). Africa’s current role on the world stage,
2). The vital role of good governance,
3). The challenges that both conflict and corruption play in African affairs.
Currently, Africa is seen by several countries as a place to explore new energy sources. It is also a place for new economic development as well. Therefore, the continent does have a role as an emerging market. But the President also stated that economic development depends on good governance. There are several countries in Africa facing economic turmoil due to unrest and other factors.
In the speech, President Obama stated that the world must support strong democratic governments in Africa. Just what are considered to be the keys to success for a democratic government? Those that he highlighted include a strong parliament, honest police forces, independent media and judiciary, a vibrant private sector and a civil society.
Health care is going to be a challenge for Africa. HIV and Malaria are serious issues that need to be taken care of. Since the George W. Bush administration, the US has provided billions of dollars not only to fight HIV/Aids but to provide life-saving medicines to those already infected. While In Ghana, Obama addressed an issue that normally doesn’t get reported that much: the recruitment of African doctors and nurses to work overseas. This creates a gap in basic Care.
One of the areas of contention both in Africa and in the United States is the role of AFRICOM (African Command). The President stated that wherever there are global challenges, a global solution must be implemented. He then stated that AFRICOM would not be used to get a foothold on the African continent but will confront challenges to the security of Africa, America and the rest of the world.
Just who was this speech intended for? There was ample praise for how the government of Ghana has respected the rule of law. As for security issues, both Darfur and Somalia were mentioned but the Democratic Republic of the Congo was not. Zimbabwe was mentioned twice as well but the Gambia and the Guineas were omitted. Obama mentioned the homeland of his father, Kenya, in less than glowing terms.
All in all, Obama’s speech was good and on the surface appears to expand on the policies of George Bush.
The Author comments on US policy towards Africa and publishes Confused Eagle on the internet. It can be found at morganrights.tripod.com