News / Africa

Obama Africa Policy Gaining Momentum

Obama Africa Policy Gaining Momentumi
X
January 29, 2014
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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Parents of Disaster Ferry Passengers Lash Out at Authorities

Twenty-nine bodies recovered from water but some 270 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

US congressional delegation initiates $84 million Agent Orange cleanup project More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid