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Obama Travels to Africa with Mixed Ratings

Posted July 23rd, 2015 at 12:58 pm (UTC-4)
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Obama’s Missed Africa Opportunity

Todd Moss – CNN

President Obama came to office promising to build on his predecessors’ efforts and take U.S.-Africa relations to the next level….

Even allowing for unrealistic expectations, Obama’s first term was a flop. Initiatives on health and clean energy were quickly abandoned. A food security effort limped along…. And, in what was taken as a direct insult by leaders across Africa, the President’s sole visit to the continent was a single drop-in to Ghana for a grand total of less than 24 hours. In stark contrast, China, India, and even Europe, were all ramping up. Africans openly wondered if America was abandoning them….

The President’s greatest, and probably last, chance for an enduring legacy is Power Africa. Launched in July 2013, this multi-agency effort aims to bring electricity for the first time to 60 million African households and businesses.

A man leans his bicycle against a mural of President Barack Obama, created by \Kenyan graffiti artist Bankslave, at the GoDown Arts Center in Nairobi, Kenya on July 22, 2015. (AP)

A man leans his bicycle against a mural of President Barack Obama, created by Kenyan graffiti artist Bankslave, at the GoDown Arts Center in Nairobi, Kenya on July 22, 2015. (AP)

President Obama Visits Kenya and Ethiopia

John Campbell – Council on Foreign Relations

An important focus of the trip will be the African Union (AU), which has its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit held this year in Nairobi, Kenya…. Both are policy goals keenly supported by the United States.

However, there is also a symbolic significance to this decision.

Many in Africa have questioned why President Obama, with a Kenyan father, has not yet visited Nairobi during his presidency. This absence has contributed to disappointment in Africa that the Obama presidency has not been particularly African in its focus….

In Kenya and Ethiopia, the Obama administration must balance U.S. strategic interests with human rights concerns. In a period of resurgent terrorism, security issues are likely to be at the forefront. One can only hope that President Obama’s agenda will also include human rights.

 Watch President Obama’s arrival in Ghana in May 2009


Obama Faces Political Minefield During Kenyan ‘Homecoming’

David Smith – The Guardian

It will be Obama’s first visit to the land of his father as US president and a far cry from a 1988 trip when his luggage got lost. He will be greeted by the stars and stripes flying all over the capital, Nairobi, and giant billboards and paintings bearing his face with slogans such as “Welcome home.” …

Obama, ostensibly here to address the Global Entrepreneurship summit, will also meet some of Africa’s most divisive politicians in both Kenya and neighboring Ethiopia.

Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, was, at the time of his election in March 2013, facing trial at the international criminal court for his alleged role in the 2007-8 killings … on Sunday Obama will achieve the same distinction in Ethiopia, which receives about $800m (£512m) a year in US military assistance and is seen as a bulwark against the spread of Islamist militancy in Africa. It is also widely regarded as an authoritarian regime that locks up more journalists than almost any other country in Africa. Critics question why Obama would allow it to bask in the glow of the world’s most powerful democrat.\

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