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  • How Obama Could Help Africa

    African Resource Bank

    MOMBASA, Kenya — It took 16 hours to fly from Washington to this port city for the sixth annual African Resource Bank. I left a chilly fall and arrived in an equatorial warmth. The interest in the U.S. election and President-elect Barack Obama is omnipresent.

    Kenyan newspapers and news programs have extensive coverage and opinion about the election. Most seems celebratory and proud that the son of a Kenyan has been elected president of the world’s most powerful country. However, there also seems to be a common belief that the election will result in substantial financial and political benefits for Africa generally and for Kenya specifically.

    These expectations most likely will go unrealized. Considering the financial crisis, the U.S. is unlikely to add more resources on top of its current substantial commitments, including opening the U.S. economy to African goods, quadrupling aid to Africa since 2000, and creating programs like PEPFAR to address HIV/AIDS. Indeed, during the debates, Obama and Joe Biden suggested — when asked what programs or promises might have to be cut as a result of the financial crisis — that promises to double foreign assistance would likely not be met.

    As president, Obama will be forced to temper unrealistic African expectations for his administration. In truth, having those expectations be unrealized would be a good for Africa.

    Africans have too long been encouraged to look abroad for their salvation. The key to African development is not more aid. It lies in freeing African economies, combating corruption, unleashing the entrepreneurial talents of the people, and embracing competition in the global market place. Accomplishing these tasks depends on political will and action in African countries, not the United States.

    Although he may not be lauded for it, if Obama chose to communicate this message to African governments and citizens, he could provide long-term benefits to Africa that would far outstrip aid.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to How Obama Could Help Africa

    1. Winona, Bristol, TN says:

      The author makes an excellent point that instead of simply sending aid to Africa, we should help her people understand that it is in their power to find opportunities for improving their own lives and communities. We should help to move them toward independence and self-sufficiency.

    2. Jeff Richards, USA says:

      A recent periodical had full page photographs of a lush section of Africa which had been receiving aid for years from the US and around the world. Its local population had been starving and the long lasting impression was that it was a drought ridden dust bowl. The people were shown unloading trucks of foreign aid and the article indicated what they actually needed is the know how to care for themselves.

    3. Pingback: » How Obama Could Help Africa Joe Biden On Best Political Blogs: News And Info On Joe Biden

    4. Dominique, Togo (Wes says:

      Dear sir,

      I write this message in behalf of the NGO named "Association Humanite et Action Plus" located in Togo (West Africa). The NGO fights against poverty and Malaria and he needs some financial assistance. Please, come in our help. We will provide all the documentation that will be needed and will clearly show our credibility. Thank you!

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