News / Africa

Obama Africa Policy Gaining Momentum

Obama Africa Policy Gaining Momentumi
X
January 29, 2014 3:36 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama will host a summit of African leaders in Washington this August, a sign that his administration is paying more attention to the continent than in the past. As VOA's Kent Klein reports, many Africans and Africa experts say he has not done enough.
Kent Klein
President Barack Obama will host a summit of African leaders in Washington this August, a sign that his administration is paying more attention to the continent than in the past.  Many Africans and Africa experts say he has not done enough.

Africans had high hopes for America's new president in 2009. Many expected the son of a Kenyan academic to have a strong policy on Africa. He didn't, disappointing many. 

But since then, President Obama has worked more closely with Africa, on trade, economic development and democracy. "Development depends upon good governance," he said.

The administration's programs include Power Africa, aimed at extending electricity to more of the continent, and Feed the Future, geared toward food security and backed by $3 billion from the U.S. government.

The programs have been successful, although overdue, said Jennifer Cooke, who leads the Africa Program at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"Many other global players, including China, Malaysia, Brazil, India, Europe even, are making big plays in the commercial and trade domain, and the U.S. is being kind of slow to catch up to that," she said.

Barack Obama's election in 2008 as the first black U.S. president was a moment of intense pride for African-Americans.

It was also a moment of pride for Africans. But even as Obama visited Senegal last year, some Africans hoped he would do more.

"We're happy about the arrival of President Obama, but what we would like is that he helps us," said Senegalese laundry worker Nging.

Jennifer Cooke said Obama neglected Africa early in his first term because he was faced with crises in the United States.

"We have to remember that when President Obama came into office, we were in the midst of a deep economic, a global economic crisis, a deep fiscal crisis here in the United States, tremendous domestic wrangles over health care, Iraq, Afghanistan," she said.

Cooke also said Obama's image regarding Africa suffered in comparison with his predecessor, George W. Bush, who spent tens of billions of dollars to fight AIDS in Africa.

She said, "And people did start to say, 'Look, you know, Bush had major, big initiatives here, was engaged, seemed passionate about it, traveled here on several kind of long trips. Obama made a very short stop in his first term in Ghana.'"

Presidential historian Allan Lichtman said Obama wanted to be seen as an American president, rather than as an African-American president.

"He very much wanted to be viewed as the president of all the people, and not a president concerned with issues of particular interest to African-Americans.  He may have gone too far in kind of neglecting and ignoring Africa during his first term, but I think that partly explains it," he said.

The president hopes his policies will help erase some of the root causes of growing insecurity in Africa.

And with Obama planning to host African leaders this August, the perception that he has been neglecting Africa may begin to change.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid