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Africans Welcome Support for Democracy in Obama's Inaugural Speech

President Barack Obama has pledged U.S. support to poor nations in their efforts to fight poverty and hunger. The President expressed U.S. commitment Tuesday during his inaugural speech. Africans around the continent welcome what appeared to be President Obama's message to corrupt and power-hungry leaders around the world.

Mr. Obama said Americans could no longer afford to be indifferent to the suffering of poor people outside the United States.

"To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it," he said

Mr. Obama also sounded what appears to be a message to corrupt and power-hungry leaders around the world.

"To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist," Mr. Obama said.

There have been some reactions from Africans around the continent to President Obama's inaugural speech.

Kizza Besigye, leader of Uganda's opposition Forum for Democratic Change says the speech reinforces the hopes and aspirations that Africans have in President Obama. But Besigye says Africa is waiting to see whether Mr. Obama will back up his words.

"I think that was a sort of very strong warning to the dictatorships that frankly still are in the majority within the continent of Africa. Of course what remains now to be seen is how much he will be able to walk the talk. The taste of the pudding as they say is in the eating. And so we are very expectantly waiting," Besigye said.

Noah Wekesa, Kenya's Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, congratulated Americans for a smooth transition of power and says Obama's election proves that anyone with talent can succeed in the United States. Wekesa hopes the election of Obama, whose father comes from Kenya, would lead to better relations between Kenya and the United States.

"Many times I've been asked where is Kenya? Is it Nigeria? You know questions like that. I think for the average American, they will be able to know where Kenya is, and we expect that we can get a slight increase in tourism from America," Wekesa said

Shehu Garba, special advisor on media relations to former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar, says there is another reason why Africans should be proud of the election of Barack Obama.

"Not more than two years ago, a Harvard University professor said a black man had a lower IQ than his white counterpart. Now this is God's doing that today the world's most powerful nation, is being led by a black person today. It's a major collapse of a huge psychological barrier, and every black man must be proud of the event of today in the United States of America," Garba said.

But Garba was quick to caution Africans not to expect too much from the Obama administration because of the enormous U.S. domestic economic challenges he said the new administration would have to contend with.