Africans hope for change with Obama's re-election

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Nigerians held a mock poll during the 2012 presidential election, for which Obama received 219 votes and Romney received 60. According to an article by CNN, none of the Nigerians had a clear reason why they voted for Obama - except his relation to the continent, as the son of a Kenyan dad. In comparison to past Presidents, such as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, president Obama had not established the same kind of relationship with Africa during his first term.

"In 2003, a few months after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Bush signed into law a bill establishing the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), in fulfilment of a promise made during his State of the Union Address earlier that year," author Tolu Ogunlesi said. Bush also pledged $15 billion to fight HIV/AIDS and renewed the commitment for another five years in 2008. Before Bush, Bill Clinton also established a relationship with Africa when he created the "African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA), a landmark piece of legislation that opened up American markets to African countries," CNN stated.

President Obama, on the other hand, had visited Africa once during his first term, in Ghana in 2009, for a visit that lasted less than 24 hours. Though Africans are unsure why this is, Dr. Folarin Gbadebo-Smith, Director of the Lagos-based Centre for Public Policy Analysis, believed it to be because Obama is in a "conflicted position" -- he is "compelled to exercise caution in his engagement with Africa for fear that such a position will become ammunition in the hands of the lunatic right, Tea Party types and those who insist he is not an American and is really a Muslim," CNN said.

Though Obama has not tried to create a relationship with Africa directly, Africans still support the incumbent for his second term. According to an article by the Huffington Post, the author claims "Africans have generally lost hope in our leaders' ability to solve the persistent problems of hunger, disease, illiteracy and general lack of development, we often look to the United States, as the leader of the free world, to offer a helping hand to challenge our leaders to start working for the prosperity of their people," Themba Mzingwane said. "It is a sad indictment on our leaders that we find ourselves looking for salvation from leaders of distant countries. But there are concrete steps that Obama can take to help the African people."

In order to obtain the trust of Africans seeking change, Mzingwane believes Obama should "work to expand and continuously offer full support to the many human rights advocates in Africa fighting against vicious governments in an attempt to advance many freedoms still being denied to their fellow citizens," "continue President Bush's good work in curbing the HIV/AIDS epidemic," and "do more to empower people on the continent by helping to fund countless effective educational projects that suffer from lacking of funding."

In June, "the White House unveiled a new sub-Saharan Africa strategy built around four "objectives": Democracy, Trade & Investment, Peace & Security, and Development," CNN stated. "But it remains to be seen whether Obama will unveil an Africa project on a scale comparable to AGOA and PEPFAR."

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This page contains a single entry by micha444 published on November 11, 2012 1:14 PM.

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