African business, politics and lifestyle
Is Obama Africa’s saviour?
Africa is rich in natural resources like oil, gold, diamonds, platinum and yet millions of African people live in abject poverty. The global economic and climate crisis have made life even harder.
At the recent G8 meeting in Italy, African leaders and members of civil society voiced concerns over the promises made in previous G8 meetings of aid and assistance that have yet to materialise.
But should African leaders be taking greater responsibility for the plight of their people? Is the West to some extent being asked to bear the responsibilities of African governments that have failed their people through wars, rigged elections and spectacular self enrichment? Should Africans not be investing more in their own economies?
Many in the diaspora have stayed away from their countries of origin as a result of lack of progress, resources and infrastructure. But will that continue forever? Should Africans look to the West for handouts while some of its leaders live in luxury and some of their governments are ravaged by corruption?
The visit to Ghana by U.S. President Barack Obama is seen by many as an opportunity for a new era of engagement, respect and partnership with Africa.
But is Africa looking to the wrong man to be a saviour, simply because he has such a close connection to Africa through his Kenyan father?
Africa has clearly not been among his top priorities since he took office and that may be little surprise given the magnitude of the global financial crisis. There are certainly doubts over whether he will do much more to help Africa’s leaders get the aid and support they say the West should provide.
But should Africans in any case be looking to Obama – or anyone from outside – to solve the continent’s problems? Or is there more that Africans should be doing themselves to improve their lives?