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Ghana Awaits Obama

Watch or listen to President Obama's speech live from Ghana beginning at 1230 UTC, Saturday, 11 July.


U.S. President Barack Obama arrives in Ghana Friday on his first visit to Sub-Saharan Africa as president.

More than 10,000 plain-clothed and uniformed police are on duty across the Ghanian capital, Accra, to maintain security during the president's visit.

Mr. Obama meets with President John Atta Mills Friday after an official welcome at the airport.  They are joined for breakfast Saturday by former Ghanian leaders John Kufuor and Jerry Rawlings.

Ghana has had five successive democratic elections since 1992. President Obama says he is making Ghana his first stop in Sub-Saharan Africa because he wants to highlight the achievements of stable countries that are governed well, where leadership is accountable to the people and institutions are stronger than any one person.

"Ghana is a bastion of good governance, and he realizes that there are certain shocks to our system, you know. And that we have some way to go before we can imbed it completely within it in our culture," said Betty Mould-Iddrissu, Ghana's justice minister.

She says Ghana hopes President Obama's visit will help strengthen justice and good governance.

"We are not looking for hand-outs. We are looking for assistance to help our people. And when our country is able to go forward appropriately, I think that it will be a benefit to America as well to have a strong ally and a prosperous country in Africa," she said.

There had been high expectations for President Obama addressing thousands of Ghanians at the nation's Independence Square. But the start of the rainy season has moved that speech indoors to a conference center. Mr. Obama and his family will then visit Cape Coast Castle, from where slaves were shipped across the Atlantic to the Americas for nearly 300 years. 

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