Opinion

What Obama Owes Africa

Here are some excerpts from an article by Njoroge Wachai as posted on Post Global . It reverts back to the question of how much should Africans rely on outside help to develop the continent? Who really owes Africa: Obama or our leaders? Here are some main points, but do read the whole article here.

Now Mr. President, please don’t get me wrong; we’re not seeking handouts from your administration. We’re smart enough to know America doesn’t dole out freebies. What we want is an Africa that sticks to some of the ideals that you too much championed during the campaigns: democracy; respect for human rights; accountability and transparency from our leaders; trade policies that can create wealth in Africa and put more people to work. We’re tired of visiting Washington with a begging bowl in hand.

As the rest of the world turns the page on political and economic fronts, your African brothers and sisters remain stuck in the table of contents out of fault not their own, but that of their greedy leaders. They’re dying in millions from wars started by power-hungry despots. There’s virtually nothing to write about the economic well-being of ordinary Africans because their leaders would rather stuff their own pockets instead of distributing their countries’ wealth to all. I’m sure these are the people you were referring to in your inaugural speech when you warned, “To those leaders around the globe who ……blame their society’s ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.”

For all of his failings, Africans will judge your predecessor, George W. Bush, on what he built, what he contributed to the continent. He looks like a messiah to Africa for the massive aid he channeled there to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other neglected diseases. Imagine what you could contribute in Africa if you helped tamp down the corruption and waste that daily plague our people there.

President Obama, crack down on corruption and abuse of human rights in Africa. Use your political capital to bring peace to Darfur, Sudan. Help emancipate the people of Zimbabwe from the despotic rule of Robert Mugabe. This – not aid – is the best gift you can give the African continent. Once there’s a conducive environment to engage in trade and to express ourselves, without fear of imprisonment of any other form of harassment, the rest will take care of itself.

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6 thoughts on “What Obama Owes Africa

  1. You are truly pan African.Africa needs you and your likes.You will always find the strength to keep on writing.And please always hit the nail on the head.I believe in this generation of Africans,their strength in their youth,there zeal for growth and their understanding of the politics of the world.What they need is an environment to showcase their talents.

  2. I like the premise of this piece. But once again, I’m not all down for putting our faith in a man that is for all intent and purpose not an African. Somewhere here, maybe Cyril or somebody said it, Obama is the AMERICAN PRESIDENT. As much as we would like him to be, he is not the president of Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Egypt, or any of the 52 African countries. Basically, he cannot do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. If Africans don’t take the initiative, Obama or any other Western leader for that matter, no matter how noble their intention, cannot do anything to mend Africa’s ill.

  3. Obama doesn’t owe Africa anything. Africans owe Africa. We need to start take responsibility for our own actions. We need to start rebuilding, reorganizing, rewriting our own democracy. No one owe us anything but ourselves. We need to stop standing in line for rations and start doing our own planting. Most importantly, we need to learn. I am so tired of all this begging.

  4. I agree Ibe, we really need to stop putting so much faith in a man that is NOT our president. I get really mad at us for not having faith that we can do for us. We can and it first starts with moving back home like our parents generation did and building Kenya ourselves. Lets start thinking about a two three four year plan. Take back these great minds and go back home with grand ideas to build our land. Lets be the change we expect Obama to be to Africa so that if he helps Africans its a compliment to what we are doing to help ourselves first.

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