President Obama’s speech Ghana was televised across the African continent and in it Mr. Obama delivered the message that Africans have needed to hear for many decades, that after all of the history between the people of the continent and the outside world – western exploitation, remuneration, and billions in foreign aid – it’s up to Africans themselves to bring stability and hope to their own countries.
He delivered a strong and at times even stern message in words that, had they come from any of his predecessors, might not have been received the same way. Instead, it was cast by the White House as hard truths from a loving cousin who could say what no one else could.
We must start from the simple premise that Africa’s future is up to Africans
It is easy to point fingers and to pin the blame for these problems on others. But the West is not responsible for the destruction of the Zimbabwean economy over the last decade, or wars in which children are enlisted as combatants
No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves, or police can be bought off by drug traffickers,” he said. “No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top, or the head of the port authority is corrupt. No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery. That is not democracy, that is tyranny, and now is the time for it to end.
Africa doesn’t need strongmen. It needs strong institutions.
Mr. Obama’s record at home has been mixed, to say the least. But on the issue of African progress he’s right on the mark – it is up to the African people to put aside obsolete tribal prejudices and band together to demand just, representative government and an orderly society in which prosperity has, if not a guarantee of success, at least the chance of being achieved.
Hopefully Baker’s interpretation is correct and Africans will catch fire using Mr. Obama’s words as the spark needed to bring a wildfire of hope and change to what has been for decades a violent, self-destructive continent.