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‘New moment of promise’ for Africa?

July 11, 2009

As expected, U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech to Africa in Accra had plenty to say on the importance of good governance – but there was also a very strong message that his “new moment of promise” is one that Africans have to seize for themselves.

“You have the power to hold your leaders accountable, and to build institutions that serve the people. You can serve in your communities, and harness your energy and education to create new wealth and build new connections to the world. You can conquer disease, end conflicts, and make change from the bottom up. You can do that. Yes you can. Because in this moment, history is on the move,” Obama said.

“Freedom is your inheritance. Now, it is your responsibility to build upon freedom’s foundation. And if you do, we will look back years from now to places like Accra and say that this was the time when the promise was realized — this was the moment when prosperity was forged; pain was overcome; and a new era of progress began. This can be the time when we witness the triumph of justice once more.”

To listen to the whole speech, you can find a link on the White House website.

As Obama put it: “Make no mistake: history is on the side of these brave Africans, and not with those who use coups or change constitutions to stay in power. Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.”

There was no doubt they were strong words from the son of a Kenyan immigrant, who through elections has become the leader of the world’s most powerful country. Obama’s background may also give his message a better chance of being heard than those of past American leaders lecturing Africa on what it needs to do.

But when all is said and done and Obama flies off to deal with more urgent U.S. priorities, will the message be heeded? Will Africa live up to that promise?


The progress in Africa is slow, but Obama can speed it up. Obama can bring us words, but we must do the hard work ourselves.

Slevy, Chad


There have been other African leaders who have held position of power and authority – not as powerful as the office of President of USA – notably former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan. They have never tackle Africa’s problem of bad governance head on. President Obama has done just that. That is reason for Africa to have hope, real hope, that this time things will change for the better.

Posted by Wilbert Mukori | Report as abusive

Well Mr Obama pointed out he real issues, and the thing is that our destiny is in our hands, it was more of a wakeup call. We cannot rely on support forever but we ought to get going! ASAP! How many times did he mention issues related to Zimbabwe? I hope our leaders got the message and also the youth who hold the keys to the future.

Ashley Dobia from Zimbabwe, in Ireland


This was a hope giving speech, next steps are much harder though. Its almost an impossible task to unite a deeply divided Africa and to persuade them to fight for a common cause. Well if anyone can do it…….


President Obama is correct that the African people have to build there “own” nations and hold their respective governments accountable. No nation even the powerful United States can do this for Africa. Other countries can only assist once good government and institutions are in place. I would be very happy to see Africa see more of its potential in my lifetime.


This article for introspection to youngsters,adults,thinkers and especially to African leaders.
What American President said to Africans are true to the best of knowledge.
Any big,developed nations can give massive aids to developing African nations.
After full analytical views,i thought that,many African-Americans can contribute their excessive wealth and knowledges to their mother countries.
First,corruption,violence,religious differences,inequalities on weaker sections,split within a split attitudes should put an end.
Now,every body knows that,How Obama became American President.
Sheer hard work,understanding with different races,intensive reading of world history,politics and firm determination for radical changes and all other good qualities had paid rich dividends to Mr.Obama.


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