Obama, shown here in 2006 when he was a senator, talks to a crowd in Kenya.
It seems that President Obama has finally taken Africa seriously—and in a way that doesn’t look like Bush-era health funding that reeks of an infomercial for Christian charity. In a speech on Saturday, Obama is expected to focus on the importance of democratic governance on the continent and will make the ending of conflicts a key diplomatic initiative.
The US is planning a dramatically more assertive policy in Africa, sometimes backed by a threat of force, to end conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria that are seen as among the principal obstacles to the continent’s revival.
Barack Obama is to address Ghana’s parliament tomorrow on his first visit to Africa as president with a speech that is expected to emphasise that the key to prosperity is democratic, accountable government. But an important part of the new administration’s policy will focus on ending key conflicts through more forceful diplomatic initiatives after years of drift by the Bush administration.
The White House is shortly to appoint a special envoy to central Africa with a brief to tackle a web of conflicts that have afflicted eastern Congo for 15 years,and destabilised the region, in the belief that the success or failure of one of the continent’s largest countries will decide central Africa’s future.