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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
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.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid