Obama’s Trip to Ghana
According to the White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, ‘The president caps the trip in Ghana, a West African country that has emerged as a standout example of democracy in a region beset by coups. He will speak to parliament, emphasizing the promise of democratic governance, and tour a castle that once served as a hub of slave trading.’
President Obama recently said, in an interview with AllAfrica that he hopes his legacy will show that the United States was an effective partner with African countries in building the kinds of institutions that serve the people and move Africa towards global integration.
Given Mr. Obama’s Kenyan heritage, there is real excitement across Africa and a sense of hope that he will be a more engaging President with the Continent than previous U.S. Presidents.
Certainly, there is some chatter around the fact that he chose Ghana over his father’s native Kenya to be the first country he visits. This was deliberate around the real concern over a fragile coalition Government in Kenya and a poor governance record.
According to Mr. Obama in his interview with AllAfrica.com, “The administration believes there is a direct correlation between governance and prosperity. Countries that are governed well have a track record for producing great results for the people.” The president also said, that “by traveling to Ghana they hope to highlight the effective governance that they have in place.”
Mr. Obama emphasized that he’s already hosted Tanzania’s President Kikwete and Zimbabwe’s newly installed Prime Minister Tsvangarai in Washington, and emphasized that he is interested in partnering with all of Africa, as long as governments are willing to show a commitment to good governance.
There is no indication that he will meet directly with business leaders in Ghana, however according to Erik Hersman’s blog, WhiteAfrican.com, the White House new media team has already mobilized tools to ensure that the masses can participate in this trip through popular media in Africa. The White House website gives an overview and some details of how everyone can gain access to his speeches and participate through social media and SMS. Erik Hersman, goes a step further in his blog, WhiteAfrican.com, by providing actual SMS shortcode to use in four African Countries.
Obama’s Friday and Saturday Schedule includes a meeting with Presdient Zuma of South Africa.
On Friday, the president’s day will begin with a working breakfast of the G-8 plus African countries and several international organizations. The president will also hold a bilateral meeting with South African President Jacob Zuma. After lunch, the president will hold a press conference. Then, Obama will return to Rome for a meeting with the Pope. After his time at the Vatican, the president and Mrs. Obama will board Air Force One and fly to Accra, Ghana, arriving late that evening.
On Saturday, President Obama will make a major speech to the Ghanaian parliament on development and democracy. After the speech, the president and first lady will tour the Cape Coast Castle, where he will make brief remarks. Then, they will fly home.
Interview with President Obama by AllAfrica.com