Obama in Africa

Their Future in Their Hands

Obama Kenya polaris_distort
Going back to his roots: Barack Obama speaking in Kenya.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Many African countries are benefiting from China’s no-strings-attached aid but it is making them less reliant on themsleves and more insecure.

  • Facts


    • African trade with the U.S. has shrunk to $60 billion (€54.67 billion) over the past ten years.
    • Former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush are held in high regard by Africans for their aid efforts.
    • In Nairobi, Kenya at the weekend Mr. Obama’s address focused on fighting Islamist extremism, tackling corruption and progress.
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There was great jubilation six years ago when U.S. President Barack Obama first paid homage to his African roots on a whistle-stop visit to Ghana. For the economically depressed continent, the son of a Kenyan and an American seemed to herald a political as well as an economic turning point for them.

Many Africans were deeply disappointed things turned out so differently. When the global financial crisis hit at the start of his presidency, Africa quickly disappeared from Mr. Obama’s radar. But now, with the end of his time in office approaching, he hopes at least to send a signal with his visit to Kenya and Ethiopia.

Both of Mr. Obama’s predecessors were far more committed to Africa. Bill Clinton oversaw the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, a generous free trade agreement allowing the duty-free export to the United States of more than 6,000 African products through 2015.

And the oft-reviled George W. Bush remains a hero to many Africans because he did more than any other politician to battle the AIDS epidemic.

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