Will Obama’s “change” anthem profit Africa?
Obama’s late father hailed from here — and that brought a media circus that rivalled any an African village has seen.
His successful race to the White House has thrilled many ordinary Africans who hope that having a black man in the world’s most powerful job will mean concrete U.S. support to lift them out of poverty, a theme taken up by South African President Kgalema Motlanthe.
“We express the hope that poverty and under-development in Africa, which remains a challenge for humanity, will indeed continue to receive a greater attention of the focus of the new administration,” he said in a statement reacting to Obama’s win.
But will it really? Or will wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, healthcare reform or the financial market meltdown wipe African issues off his agenda?
Africans are used to all-powerful leaders who can make decisions unilaterally, while U.S. presidents face far greater checks and balances.
On Kenyan TV on Wednesday, an 11-year-old schoolgirl called on Obama to use his new influence to end “oppressive” World Trade Organisation rules.
But during a previous visit here in 2006, Obama reminded thousands of adoring fans that he was the senator for Illinois in the United States, not Kogelo.
Will Obama’s election win make any difference at all to the people of western Kenya, or the majority on the rest of the world’s poorest continent?
What do you think?