July 11th, 2009
09:31 AM ET
5 years ago

Obama urges 'strong, sustainable' governments in Africa

President Obama addressed Ghana's Parliament Saturday in a speech that emphasized the importance of establishing democratic governments across the African continent.
President Obama addressed Ghana's Parliament Saturday in a speech that emphasized the importance of establishing democratic governments across the African continent.

(CNN) - President Obama praised Ghana on Saturday for working to put its democratic government on a firmer footing, with peaceful transfers to powers.

Obama stressed that all nations must support "strong and sustainable" governments.

Watch: Obama speaks in Ghana

"History offers a clear verdict: Governments that respect the will of their own people are more prosperous, more stable, and more successful than governments that do not," he told Ghana's Parliament.

Obama said that much of Africa's promise is going unfulfilled, and he pointed to Kenya - where his father was born - as an example.

"Countries like Kenya, which had a per-capita economy larger than South Korea's when I was born, have been badly outpaced. Disease and conflict have ravaged parts of the African continent. In many places, the hope of my father's generation gave way to cynicism, even despair," he said.

"The 21st century will be shaped by what happens not just in Rome or Moscow or Washington, but by what happens in [Ghana's capital of] Accra as well," Obama said to applause.

The visit by the first African-American president in the United States sparked a frenzy in the country as street vendors sold miniature U.S. flags, and massive billboards with pictures of a smiling Obama and "akwaaba, " the local word for welcome, were set up in the capital city.

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Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Trudie, MN

    This president is light years above the rest in reaching out to partner with other nations. I love that it is not just countries with oil.

    July 11, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  2. RR

    Support democracies and free markets. No aid direct to governments. Free birth control.

    July 11, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  3. Rob

    How much did it cost the American tax payer for him to visit Ghana?Is he going to tax the rich for this trip,too?

    July 11, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  4. GI Joe

    I'm so proud of our President.

    I have written my senators to ask that our government look into our 4th Amendment Right violations and correct the wrongs that have occurred the last few years. If those wrongs are still going on, they need to stop. We need to live by our constitution.

    If we don't let our senators and representatives know we care, they won't care either. WRITE TO YOURS REGULARLY – IT'S YOUR RIGHT. Or do you not care enough to write? I don't mean blog on posts, write your representatives.

    July 11, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  5. But the newspapers say.......

    that Al Qaeda is starting to move into Africa in a big way......Al Qaeda has slowly been moving their operations from Pakistan to Africa.....

    What's Obama's plan for this? Guess he'll be starting another war there.
    Just what we need.

    July 11, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  6. Jhak Schiddt

    Obeyme should stay there and help the continent to the same prosperity we are facing here.
    Our economy does a lot better when he's not here. And why can't this guy shut up?
    Where's Hillary when we need her?

    July 11, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  7. B.H.

    Perhaps one day we can consider the possibilities of improving all of our -global- potential. Helping Africa and others if we Talk to people instead of threatening them if they disagree with us as Bush and Co. did.

    July 11, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  8. Joseph

    "Obama urged strong, sustainable government in Africa", give me a break!!! The western media is the cancer that is destroying Africa. Why did CNN and MSNBC make the video and audio feeds dull when Obama was speaking in Ghana? I didn't see that in Italy or Spain because the picture was Perfect. Okay I know- Africa is not suppose to be seen as an inhabitable place by westerners. Secondly, why did CNN and MSNBC allow their reporters to report in the bushes? Oh, because Africans are suppose to live in hut. Shame on you at CNN and MSNBC for fooling your viewers. For your information, Africa is a continent and there are many countries within it that are prospering!!! Stop your discrimination and racism toward Africa. Africans go to schools, Hospitals, malls, drive good cars on paved roads, cared for their kids etc just like Americans. The news media have been the ones discoveraging foreign direct investment in the continent by portraying Africans and Africa dreadfully. I have been to Ghana and trust me, Ghana is far better than what is shown in America. Shame on the U. S media again. You are the cause of America's dividsions and problem!!! God will adequately judge you.

    July 11, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  9. Claudette

    And the truth will set you free... President Obama is telling it like it is, respect your people and you will shape the 21st century. It is so nice to have honor and intelligence as our leader into the 21 century.

    Hate will destroy men and countries. Every human being must be a generation better, sometimes facing the wrongs of the previous generation, change themselves and therefore the world.

    July 11, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  10. Charlie in Maine

    This is an area where even his critics should stop and listen before automatically condeming Obama. Remember I said should. Plus who am I to try to understand (much less give advice to) Obama's critics.

    July 11, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  11. Henry Miller

    "History offers a clear verdict: Governments that respect the will of their own people are more prosperous, more stable, and more successful than governments that do not,"

    So Obama apparently believes it's the will of the American people to be taxed into poverty to fund trillion-dollar porkulus bills and to become the victims of socialised medicine? It's the will of the American people to be spied on by their own government and harassed at airports by uniformed thugs? It's the will of the American people to be afflicted year after year by the same corrupt, lying, thieving, politicians?

    July 11, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  12. OBSERVER

    Obama is a GREAT LEADER. He is showing the world that we respect other countries that strive for the same freedoms we enjoy in the USA. It is much better to lead people to make a choice to be democratic than using guns and force to spread democracy.. George Bush just DID NOGT GET IT. You can't make people feel free with a gun to their head.

    July 11, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  13. Mark of Saint Louis

    He should continue to stay out of the country. At least he didn't slam America on this visit.

    July 11, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  14. godlovesme2

    I am so proud of our President today. I feel that he is reaching out to all of these other countries and working with them to make their societies better. He is a very caring, and relationable individual, and it is a very welcome change to our country. Godspeed to you and your family President Obama and keep up the amazing work you are doing! :)

    July 11, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  15. Stuffit

    "Governments that respect the will of their own people are more prosperous, more stable, and more successful than governments that do not,"

    Let's hope he learns to practice what he preaches before it's too late. The will of the MAJORITY of the people, not the will of the squeaky wheel special interest groups that bark the loudest or send the most money in.

    Here in Ohio, most folks you run into in my area (of course we're just rural country bumpkins, not living in the bigger cities) are fed up with increased 'hate crimes' legislation, incredible amounts of unsustainable spending, taxes getting ready to skyrocket on the crap and trade legislation that will simultaneously knee-cap our industrial sector (read our local economy), and gov't wanting to jump into health care.

    Us simple folks are also sick and tired of legislators signing bills that they DON'T EVEN READ and then pointing fingers at the other guys when everything gets screwed up.

    Enough!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 11, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  16. trying to be reasonable in West Virginia

    Colonialism is over. It may have vestigial remains, but they are fading quickly. Africans greatest enemies are Africans themselves. (Frankly, they're not unique in this respect. but this article is about them, not the rest of us). Africa has a host of problems, but one part of the solution is for the those in African governments to learn not how to acquire power, but to relinquish it peacefully when their people ask them to (see: Mugabe–ugh!).

    Aside: I wonder how many Americans will use the public adoration Obama receives in Africa (conspicuously absent in Russia) to criticize him for "showing off" and acting like a "Messiah" in Africa. Will Krauthammer and Hannity and Limbaugh decry even his Africa visit as another example of apology and appeasement?

    July 11, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  17. FEMALES FOR FEMALES

    What the hades is this, America is responsible for Africa? Granted we should aide the starving and help the needy, free them into demorcracy if neccessary, but responsible? WHAT? IS THIS THE IGNORANCE WE CAN EXPECT FROM THIS PRESIDENT. Are you basing this on slavery or something. Wise up it was well along before America ever became involved. Ignorance begots ignorance their own people sold them into slavery.

    July 11, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  18. Blaak Jon

    Obama spoke well, however the fact remains that our Ghanaian leaders after one month will forget his good speech. Obama spoke of "paying bribes" to get into schools. This is very true. Ladies either have affairs with lecturers or pay bribes to gain admission to the universities in most cases. The youth are watching and some are learning from the bad conducts of most of the Ghanaian leaders. It will take divine miracle to transform Ghana.

    July 11, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  19. Regarding Ghana Trip

    It's so hard to watch Ghananians dress up for the president and then the Obamas, particularly Michelle, dress as if she's going shopping. Her pants and sweater are way too casual to represent the first family. Also the kids look as though they dress themselves.

    Michelle could do a much better job with her appearance. Of course President Obama looks great as usual.

    July 11, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  20. Willy Brown

    Maybe he'll stay there.

    July 11, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  21. Once You Vote Black

    Shame on Obama for saying these things to the Black Nations! Did he scold Russia for invading Georgia? How about the Pope for looking the other way while the Jews are attacking the Muslims? Africa is in the shape it is in because of European interventionisum. This is like blaming the victims. He ought to know better then that.

    July 11, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  22. kansas 25

    Strong stable governments in Africa would have happened if the English would have drawn up the borders of Africa according to the tribal alliances and not by geographical conveniences when they left.

    The fast way to fix a lot of the problems Africa today would be to cut up a lot of these countries into small ones so that they would have homogenous populations that would get along with each other.

    But that will never happen thanks to the UN.

    July 11, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  23. J.P.

    "Countries like Kenya, which had a per-capita economy larger than South Korea's when I was born (there)..."

    July 11, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |