Africa's future is up to Africans., Obama Tells African Leaders






No More Excuses, Obama Tells African Leaders

  • Says: 'I See Hope On The Continent'
  • President Barack Obama is hailing a "new moment of promise"

  • in Africa, using a historic visit to urge all nations on the continent

  • to establish their own identity in an increasingly interconnected world,

  • according to Associated Press.

    Speaking Saturday to the parliament of Ghana, Obama traced

  • his own roots to the sub-continent.

  • He declared: "I have the blood of Africa within me."

    Obama, the first U.S. African-American president, said that

  • Washington has for far too long seen the nations of Africa

  • as patrons rather than partners in world affairs,

  • and said it's time for that to change.,

    But he also said the destiny of Africa is up to its people and

  • their leaders. Obama said, "the boundaries between

  • peoples are overwhelmed by our connections."

    President Barack Obama said his visit to Ghana

  • on Saturday was designed to illustrate that

  • "Africa is not separate from world affairs."

    Obama said events in Africa do not lose their effects

  • at the continent's borders and said Africa is

  • a fully integrated part of the global economy.

    "What happens here has an impact everywhere,"

  • Obama said during a meeting with Ghanaian President John Atta Mills.

    Obama scheduled a 21-hour visit to the West African nation

  • to highlight that country's democratic tradition and

  • engagement with the West.

  • During his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa since taking office,

  • Obama sought to lift up the continent of his ancestors - while

  • keeping its emotions in check.

    Greeted by a rush of excitement on his arrival in Accra,

  • the United States' first black president planned a speech

  • to Ghana's Parliament on Saturday outlining his hope for

  • a future Africa prospering in democracy.

  • He was also visiting a hospital and a one-time slave trading post,

  • joined by his wife, Michelle, a great-great granddaughter of slaves.

    But his speech was also pitched as a sobering account

  • of Africa's enduring afflictions: hunger, disease, corruption,

  • ethnic strife and strongman rule.

    No big public event was planned - in part for fear it could

  • cause a celebratory stampede, as a 1998 stop

  • by President Bill Clinton almost did.

    "I can say without any fear of contradiction that

  • all Ghanaians want to see you.

  • I wish it were possible for me to send you to

  • every home in Ghana,"

  • Mills said, underscoring the U.S. first family's popularity

  • that gave them Page One billing in many of the nation's newspapers.

    People lined the streets Saturday morning, many waving

  • at every vehicle of Obama's motorcade as it headed

  • toward a meeting at Osu Castle,

  • the storied coastline presidential state house.

  • One woman emerged from a coffee shop to wave

  • a tiny U.S. flag while others sold posters and T-shirts

  • with Obama's picture.

  • Many billboards lined the roads, including one that

  • showed the president and his wife with the greeting, "Ghana loves you."

    While the people of Ghana may be in a frenzy over Obama's visit,

  • the president started his day with typical calm.

  • Wearing a gray T-shirt and gym pants, he walked through

  • the lobby of his hotel virtually unnoticed at 7:30 a.m. local time

  • on his way to the downstairs gym for a morning workout.

    A short time later, his motorcade left the hotel, passed

  • under hovering military helicopters and arrived for

  • a delayed welcome ceremony.

  • Mills greeted his counterpart and then the pair went inside

  • for one-on-one meetings.

    Selecting Ghana as the starting point of his black Africa travels,

  • the president sought to highlight a continental success story.

    "We think that Ghana can be an extraordinary model for

  • success throughout the continent," Obama told Mills

  • before joining about 350 people for an outdoor breakfast at the castle.

    Obama planned to highlight those successes during

  • a midday speech, urging Africans to embrace a future

  • of accountable leaders and open markets.

  • To ensure a wide audience, the administration organized

  • events for the public to watch video of Obama's speech

  • at embassies and cultural centers across Africa.

    But the speech was also a splash of cold water for Africans

  • still nursing grievances over colonial rule.

    "For many years we've made excuses about corruption or

  • poor governance, (insisting) this was somehow

  • the consequence of neocolonialism, or the West

  • has been oppressive, or racism," he told AllAfrica.com last week.

  • "I'm not a believer in excuses."

    Those sentiments led Obama to avoid his father's native Kenya

  • for this stop.

  • Tensions in Kenya remain high after

  • a disputed 2007 election and subsequent ethnic bloodshed.

    Later in the day, Obama planned to tour Cape Coast Castle,

  • a seaside fortress converted to the slave trade

  • by the British in the 17th century. In its dungeons,

  • thousands of shackled Africans huddled in squalor

  • before being herded onto ships bound for America.

    While Michelle Obama's great-great grandfather

  • was a slave in South Carolina, his African origins are not known.

    The castle visit mirrored ones paid by Clinton and

  • George W. Bush to the slave-trading post of

  • Goree Island, Senegal - with the added impact of

  • Obama's mixed-race background and history-making election.

    In Ghana, too, Obama followed in Clinton's footsteps.

  • In 1998, a surging crowd cheered Clinton in

  • Accra's Independence Square and toppled barricades

  • after his speech.

  • Clinton shouted, "Back up! Back up!",

  • his Secret Service detail clearly frantic.

    Bush's reception last year was less tumultuous,

  • but equally warm.

  • At a welcoming banquet, then-President John Kufuor

  • noted huge increases in U.S. development aid and

  • AIDS relief - and named a highway after Bush.

  • Earlier, Bush hosted Kufuor at one of his few White House state dinners.

    Obama on Saturday, however, tried for a lower profile.

    "The president wanted to use this visit to shine

  • a light on Ghana and on what it is doing so successfully

  • rather than on him," Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters.

    Even so, Obama said previous U.S. leaders' trips

  • to the continent were week-long tours but seldom integrated

  • into their global travel. Obama said he wants to take an approach

  • that shows Africa's ties to international policies.

    Obama - son of a Kenyan father and white mother

  • from Kansas - first toured Africa in 1992.

  • The newly minted Harvard law school grad savored

  • its sights, sounds and tastes. In "Dreams from My Father,

  • " he recalled running his hand over his father's burial plot.

  • "I had sat at my father's grave and spoken to him

  • through Africa's red soil," he wrote.

    Obama flew to Ghana after the G-8 summit in

  • L'Aquila, Italy, approved a new $20 billion food security plan.

  • It aims to help poor nations in Africa and elsewhere

  • avert mass starvation during the global recession.

    He also had a cordial first meeting with

  • Pope Benedict XVI. In their half-hour private audience at

  • the Vatican, the two reviewed Mideast peace and

  • anti-poverty efforts, aides reported.

  • They also discussed abortion and stem cell research

  • at length, Benedict giving him a treatise on bioethics

  • to read while flying here, the White House said.

    Africa Needs Support Of the World, Says Atta-Mills

    By Debo Oladimeji,

    Reporting from Ghana

    The President of Ghana, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills

  • has urged the world to support Africa with strong economic policies;

  • and provide increase access to aid that

  • will assist disadvantaged countries.

  • While responding to a speech by President Barack Obama of the United States

  • in Accra, yesterday, Atta Mills, stated: "Ghana and Africa look

  • to the world community. Mr. President we are living in difficult times.

  • The world has experienced global financial crisis

  • of enormous dimension.

  • Its effect and effect on Ghana and Africa is becoming clearer.

  • And more significant, these are in terms of lower growth

  • and increased unemployment, threat to aid to reduce

  • its remittances and uncertain commodity prices".

    The Ghanaian leader, continued: "Our world is becoming

  •  more and more vulnerable to international crimes, especially

  • drug trafficking and money laundering.

  • It has eroded the concept of our sovereignty.

  • Mr President, while globalization has facilitated the easy movement

  • of international crimes from one jurisdiction to another,

  • the impunity with which organised crime is committed

  • in our part of the world raises yet another daunting

    Africa Needs Support Of the World, Says Atts-Mills

    By Debo Oladimeji reporting from Ghana

  • A Proclamation for Obama Nation:

  •  Do We Care If Ours Read, Write And Are 'Rithmetic?


    "Like an athlete out of practice, a child who takes long breaks

  • from learning can face academic setbacks.

  • " So begins the highly inspiring Proclamation issued

  • "for immediate release" by the very athletic President of

  • the United States of America declaring July 9 as

  • his nation's National Summer Learning Day, 2009.

    Vintage Obama, he's spot-on with his take on the matter at hand:

  • "This problem is especially prominent during the summer,

  • when students may lose more than two months of progress.

  • Children must remain engaged to maintain and build upon

  • their current academic achievement."

    I actually felt an ache deep in my heart when he got to this point,

  • seeing how it's so pat about the lot of the bulk of people in these parts,

  • who would gladly have him for leader: "Learning loss can

  • be especially pronounced among low-income children.

  • Recent research suggests that unequal access

  • to summer learning opportunities helps explain

  • the achievement gap between low-income and affluent students.

  • This gap ultimately means that low-income students

  • may be less likely to graduate from secondary school

  • or enroll in university."

    Obama should know; he has so concerned himself with

  • and been immersed so thoroughly with the process of

  • social change and all dramatis personae involved he seems

  • to have written the book on fixing society for good.

  • "High-quality summer learning programs," claims he,

  • "help children catch up, keep up, and work ahead.

  • These activities provide students with hours

  • of focused time for hands-on learning and creative projects.

  • Participation can result in gains in writing, reading, and math skills.

    He runs the whole gamut to arrive full-orbed.

  • "Through the arts, sports, and other extracurricular activities,

  • summer learning opportunities also promote innovation

  • and physical fitness.

  • These health benefits are especially important

  • because childhood obesity is at an all-time high and

  • children typically gain weight two to three times faster

  • during the summer.

    "Sustained public service can also dramatically impact

  • summer learning loss.

  • Students can challenge themselves and others through mentoring,

  • environmental projects, and other meaningful volunteer work.

  • Youth and their communities both benefit from these activities.

  • Local opportunities for service abound."

    Obama gets especially thrilling and most down-to-earth when

  • he proclaims how "families and community members can play

  • the most important role in the lives of their children.

  • Demands at work and home mean that many parents have less time

  • to spend with their children, but this time, care, and instruction

  • is critical to children's academic success.

  • Especially during the summer, parents should try to find time

  • to read interactively with children.

  • When possible, families should visit public libraries, tour museums

  • and science centers, and explore the great outdoors.

  • Parents can also encourage youth to keep a journal and

  • to practice math skills through cooking and games.

  • Even though summer has arrived, student learning needs

  • do not take a vacation."

    On Summer Learning Day, the people of the United States

  • of America could rely on their attentive leader to "highlight

  • the need for more young people to be challenged

  • during their time off from school" and to "express support

  • for local programs, communities, and families that help children

  • grow through learning initiatives.

  • Working together, we can help students remain engaged and

  • return to school with lithe and limber minds.

  • " How I love that final phrase!

    Indeed, Obama breasts the tape cleanly, well ahead of the pack;

  • it is to hand the torch over to his people, blazing and bright:

  • "I call upon all Americans to support students as

  • they participate in summer learning.

  • I encourage students, parents, educators, and

  • the non-profit community to engage in

  • summer learning activities so that youth return to school poised

  • for academic advancement."

    Obama signed his Proclamation on "this sixth day of July,

  • in the year of our Lord two thousand nine..." -- invoking the name

  • of the One who said, 'Let the children come to Me;

  • do not hinder them"!

  • Meanwhile, there's a 'Help Wanted' sign here clamouring for attention.

  • Held out by tiny, trusted hands,

  • it is weather-beaten and tear-streaked.

  • It is as urgent as it is salient: 'Who will do it for us, too?'

  • Adeyemi, a journalist and culture activist writes from Lagos

    Text of Obama's speech in Ghana

    Good morning. It is an honor for me to be in Accra, and to speak

  • to the representatives of the people of Ghana.

  • I am deeply grateful for the welcome that I've received, as are

  • Michelle, Malia and Sasha Obama.

  • Ghana's history is rich, the ties between our two countries are strong,

  • and I am proud that this is my first visit to sub-Saharan Africa

  • as President of the United States.

    I am speaking to you at the end of a long trip.

  • I began in Russia, for a Summit between two great powers.

  • I traveled to Italy, for a meeting of the world's leading economies.

  • And I have come here, to Ghana, for a simple reason

  • : the 21st century will be shaped by what happens

  • not just in Rome or Moscow or Washington,

  • but by what happens in Accra as well.

    This is the simple truth of a time when the boundaries

  • between people are overwhelmed by our connections.

  • Your prosperity can expand America's.

  • Your health and security can contribute to the world's.

  • And the strength of your democracy can help advance

  • human rights for people everywhere.

    So I do not see the countries and peoples of Africa as a world apart;

  • I see Africa as a fundamental part of our interconnected world - as

  • partners with America on behalf of the future that we want for all our children.

  • That partnership must be grounded in mutual responsibility, and that

  • is what I want to speak with you about today.

    We must start from the simple premise that

  •  Africa's future is up to Africans.

    I say this knowing full well the tragic past that has sometimes

  • haunted this part of the world. I have the blood of Africa within me,

  • and my family's own story encompasses both the tragedies

  • and triumphs of the larger African story.

    My grandfather was a cook for the British in Kenya,

  • and though he was a respected elder in his village,

  • his employers called him "boy" for much of his life.

  • He was on the periphery of Kenya's liberation struggles,

  • but he was still imprisoned briefly during repressive times.

  • In his life, colonialism wasn't simply the creation of unnatural borders

  • or unfair terms of trade - it was something experienced personally,

  • day after day, year after year.

    My father grew up herding goats in a tiny village,

  • an impossible distance away from the American universities

  • where he would come to get an education.

  • He came of age at an extraordinary moment of promise for Africa.

  • The struggles of his own father's generation were giving birth

  • to new nations, beginning right here in Ghana.

  • Africans were educating and asserting themselves in new ways.

  • History was on the move.

    But despite the progress that has been made - and there

  • has been considerable progress in parts of Africa - we also know

  • that much of that promise has yet to be fulfilled.

  • 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.

    It is easy to point fingers, and to pin the blame for these problems on others.

  • Yes, a colonial map that made little sense bred conflict,

  • and the West has often approached Africa as a patron,

  • rather than a partner.

  • But the West is not responsible for the destruction of

  • the Zimbabwean economy over the last decade,

  • or wars in which children are enlisted as combatants.

  • In my father's life, it was partly tribalism and patronage in an independent Kenya

  • that for a long stretch derailed his career, and we know that

  • this kind of corruption is a daily fact of life for far too many.

    Of course, we also know that is not the whole story.

  • Here in Ghana, you show us a face of Africa that is

  • too often overlooked by a world that sees only tragedy or the need for charity.

  • The people of Ghana have worked hard to put democracy on

  • a firmer footing, with peaceful transfers of power even in the wake

  • of closely contested elections.

  • And with improved governance and an emerging civil society,

  • Ghana's economy has shown impressive rates of growth.

    This progress may lack the drama of the 20th century's liberation struggles,

  • but make no mistake: it will ultimately be more significant.

  • For just as it is important to emerge from the control of another nation,

  • it is even more important to build one's own.

    So I believe that this moment is just as promising for Ghana - and

  • for Africa - as the moment when my father came of age

  • and new nations were being born.

  • This is a new moment of promise.

  • Only this time, we have learned that it will not be giants

  • like Nkrumah and Kenyatta who will determine Africa's future.

  • Instead, it will be you - the men and women in Ghana's Parliament,

  • and the people you represent.

  • Above all, it will be the young people - brimming with

  • talent and energy and hope - who can claim the future that

  • so many in my father's generation never found.

    To realize that promise, we must first recognize

  • a fundamental truth that you have given life to in Ghana: development

  • depends upon good governance.

  • That is the ingredient which has been missing in far too many places,

  • for far too long.

  • That is the change that can unlock Africa's potential.

  • And that is a responsibility that can only be met by Africans.

    As for America and the West, our commitment must be measured

  • by more than just the dollars we spend.

  • I have pledged substantial increases in our foreign assistance,

  • which is in Africa's interest and America's.

  • But the true sign of success is not whether we are a source of aid

  • that helps people scrape by - it is whether we are partners

  • in building the capacity for transformational change.

    This mutual responsibility must be the foundation of our partnership.

  • And today, I will focus on four areas that are critical to the future of

  • Africa and the entire developing world: democracy; opportunity;

  • health; and the peaceful resolution of conflict.

    First, we must support strong and sustainable democratic governments.

    As I said in Cairo, each nation gives life to democracy in its own way,

  • and in line with its own traditions.

  • But 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.

    This is about more than holding elections - it's also about

  • what happens between them. Repression takes many forms,

  • and too many nations are plagued by problems that condemn

  • their people to poverty.

  • No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit

  • the economy to enrich themselves, or police can be bought

  • off by drug traffickers.

  • No business wants to invest in a place where the government

  • skims 20 percent off the top, or the head of the port authority is corrupt.

  • No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way

  • to the rule of brutality and bribery.

  • That is not democracy, that is tyranny, and now is the time for it to end.

    In the 21st century, capable, reliable and transparent institutions

  • are the key to success - strong parliaments and

  • honest police forces; independent judges and journalists;

  • a vibrant private sector and civil society.

  • Those are the things that give life to democracy, because

  • that is what matters in peoples' lives.

    Time and again, Ghanaians have chosen Constitutional rule

  • over autocracy, and shown a democratic spirit that allows

  • the energy of your people to break through.

  • We see that in leaders who accept defeat graciously, and

  • victors who resist calls to wield power against the opposition.

  • We see that spirit in courageous journalists like Anas Aremeyaw Anas,

  • who risked his life to report the truth.

  • We see it in police like Patience Quaye, who helped prosecute

  • the first human trafficker in Ghana.

  • We see it in the young people who are speaking up

  • against patronage and participating in the political process.

    Across Africa, we have seen countless examples of people

  • taking control of their destiny and making change from the bottom up.

  • We saw it in Kenya, where civil society and business came together

  • to help stop postelection violence.

  • We saw it in South Africa, where over three quarters of the country voted

  • in the recent election - the fourth since the end of apartheid.

  • We saw it in Zimbabwe, where the Election Support Network

  • braved brutal repression to stand up for the principle that

  • a person's vote is their sacred right.

    Make no mistake: history is on the side of these brave Africans and

  • not with those who use coups or change Constitutions to stay in power.

  • Africa doesn't need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.

    America will not seek to impose any system of government on

  • any other nation - the essential truth of democracy is

  • that each nation determines its own destiny.

  • What we will do is increase assistance for responsible individuals and

  • institutions, with a focus on supporting good governance - on parliaments,

  • which check abuses of power and ensure that opposition voices are heard;

  • on the rule of law, which ensures the equal administration of justice;

  • on civic participation, so that young people get involved;

  • and on concrete solutions to corruption like forensic accounting,

  • automating services, strengthening hot lines and protecting whistle-blowers

  • to advance transparency and accountability.

    As we provide this support, I have directed my administration

  • to give greater attention to corruption in our human rights report.

  • People everywhere should have the right to start a business or

  • get an education without paying a bribe.

  • We have a responsibility to support those who act responsibly

  • and to isolate those who don't, and that is exactly what America will do.

    This leads directly to our second area of partnership - supporting

  • development that provides opportunity for more people.

    With better governance, I have no doubt that Africa holds

  • the promise of a broader base for prosperity.

  • The continent is rich in natural resources. And from

  • cell phone entrepreneurs to small farmers,

  • Africans have shown the capacity and commitment

  • to create their own opportunities.

  • But old habits must also be broken. Dependence

  • on commodities - or on a single export - concentrates wealth

  • in the hands of the few and leaves people

  • too vulnerable to downturns.

    In Ghana, for instance, oil brings great opportunities, and you have

  • been responsible in preparing for new revenue.

  • But as so many Ghanaians know, oil cannot simply become

  • the new cocoa.

  • From South Korea to Singapore, history shows

  • that countries thrive when they invest in their people and infrastructure;

  • when they promote multiple export industries, develop

  • a skilled work force and create space for small

  • and medium-sized businesses that create jobs.

    As Africans reach for this promise, America will be

  • more responsible in extending our hand.

  • By cutting costs that go to Western consultants and administration,

  • we will put more resources in the hands of those who need it,

  • while training people to do more for themselves.

  • That is why our $3.5 billion food security initiative is focused

  • on new methods and technologies for farmers - not simply

  • sending American producers or goods to Africa.

  • Aid is not an end in itself.

  • The purpose of foreign assistance must be

  • creating the conditions where it is no longer needed.

    America can also do more to promote trade and investment.

  • Wealthy nations must open our doors to goods and services

  • from Africa in a meaningful way.

  • And where there is good governance,

  • we can broaden prosperity through public-private partnerships

  • that invest in better roads and electricity; capacity-building

  • that trains people to grow a business; and financial services

  • that reach poor and rural areas.

  • This is also in our own interest - for if people are

  • lifted out of poverty and wealth is created in Africa,

  • new markets will open for our own goods.

    One area that holds out both undeniable peril and

  • extraordinary promise is energy.

  • Africa gives off less greenhouse gas than any other part of the world,

  • but it is the most threatened by climate change.

  • A warming planet will spread disease, shrink water resources and

  • deplete crops, creating conditions that produce more famine and conflict.

  • All of us - particularly the developed world - have

  • a responsibility to slow these trends - through mitigation,

  • and by changing the way that we use energy.

  • But we can also work with Africans to turn this crisis into opportunity.

    Together, we can partner on behalf of our planet and

  • prosperity and help countries increase access to power

  • while skipping the dirtier phase of development.

  • Across Africa, there is bountiful wind and solar power;

  • geothermal energy and bio-fuels.

  • From the Rift Valley to the North African deserts;

  • from the Western coast to South Africa's crops - Africa's boundless

  • natural gifts can generate its own power, while

  • exporting profitable, clean energy abroad.

    These steps are about more than growth numbers

  • on a balance sheet.

  • They're about whether a young person with an education

  • can get a job that supports a family; a farmer can transfer

  • their goods to the market; or an entrepreneur with a good idea

  • can start a business.

  • It's about the dignity of work.

  • Its about the opportunity that must exist for Africans in the 21st century.

    Just as governance is vital to opportunity, it is also

  • critical to the third area that I will talk about - strengthening public health.

    In recent years, enormous progress has been made

  • in parts of Africa.

  • Far more people are living productively with HIV/AIDS,

  • and getting the drugs they need.

  • But too many still die from diseases that shouldn't kill them.

  • When children are being killed because of a mosquito bite,

  • and mothers are dying in childbirth,

  • then we know that more progress must be made.

    Yet because of incentives - often

  • provided by donor nations - many African doctors and nurses

  • understandably go overseas, or work for programs

  • that focus on a single disease.

  • This creates gaps in primary care and basic prevention.

  • Meanwhile, individual Africans also have

  • to make responsible choices that prevent the spread of disease,

  • while promoting public health in their communities and countries.

    Across Africa, we see examples of people tackling these problems.

  • In Nigeria, an interfaith effort of Christians and Muslims

  • has set an example of cooperation to confront malaria.

  • Here in Ghana and across Africa, we see innovative ideas

  • for filling gaps in care - for instance, through E-Health initiatives

  • that allow doctors in big cities to support those in small towns.

    America will support these efforts through a comprehensive,

  • global health strategy.

  • Because in the 21st century, we are called to act by

  • our conscience and our common interest.

  • When a child dies of a preventable illness in Accra,

  • that diminishes us everywhere.

  • And when disease goes unchecked in any corner of the world,

  • we know that it can spread across oceans and continents.

    That is why my administration has committed $63 billion

  • to meet these challenges.

  • Building on the strong efforts of President Bush,

  • we will carry forward the fight against HIV/AIDS.

  • We will pursue the goal of ending deaths from malaria

  • and tuberculosis, and eradicating polio.

  • We will fight neglected tropical disease.

  • And we won't confront illnesses in isolation - we will

  • invest in public health systems that promote

  • wellness and focus on the health of mothers and children.

    As we partner on behalf of a healthier future,

  • we must also stop the destruction that comes

  • not from illness, but from human beings - and so

  • the final area that I will address is conflict.

    Now let me be clear: Africa is not the crude caricature of a continent at war.

  • But for far too many Africans, conflict is a part of life,

  • as constant as the sun.

  • There are wars over land and wars over resources.

  • And it is still far too easy for those without conscience

  • to manipulate whole communities into fighting among faiths and tribes.

    These conflicts are a millstone around Africa's neck.

  • We all have many identities - of tribe and ethnicity;

  • of religion and nationality.

  • But defining oneself in opposition to someone

  • who belongs to a different tribe, or who worships

  • a different prophet, has no place in the 21st century.

  • Africa's diversity should be a source of strength, not a cause for division.

  • We are all God's children. We all share common aspirations

  •  - to live in peace and security; to access education and opportunity;

  • to love our families, our communities, and our faith. That is our common humanity.

    That is why we must stand up to inhumanity in our midst.

  • It is never justifiable to target innocents in the name of ideology.

  • It is the death sentence of a society to force children to kill in wars.

  • It is the ultimate mark of criminality and cowardice to

  • condemn women to relentless and systematic rape.

  • We must bear witness to the value of every child in Darfur and

  • the dignity of every woman in Congo.

  • No faith or culture should condone the outrages against them.

  • All of us must strive for the peace and security necessary for progress.

    Africans are standing up for this future.

  • Here, too, Ghana is helping to point the way forward.

  • Ghanaians should take pride in your contributions to peacekeeping

  • from Congo to Liberia to Lebanon, and in your efforts

  • to resist the scourge of the drug trade.

  • We welcome the steps that are being taken by organizations

  • like the African Union and ECOWAS to better resolve conflicts,

  • keep the peace, and support those in need.

  • And we encourage the vision of a strong, regional security architecture

  • that can bring effective, transnational force to bear when needed.

    America has a responsibility to advance this vision,

  • not just with words, but with support that strengthens African capacity.

  • When there is genocide in Darfur or terrorists in Somalia,

  • these are not simply African problems - they are

  • global security challenges, and they demand a global response.

  • That is why we stand ready to partner through diplomacy,

  • technical assistance, and logistical support, and

  • will stand behind efforts to hold war criminals accountable.

  • And let me be clear: our Africa Command is focused not

  • on establishing a foothold in the continent,

  • but on confronting these common challenges

  • to advance the security of America, Africa and the world.

    In Moscow, I spoke of the need for an international system

  • where the universal rights of human beings are respected,

  • and violations of those rights are opposed.

  • That must include a commitment to support those who

  • resolve conflicts peacefully, to sanction and stop those who don't,

  • and to help those who have suffered.

  • But ultimately, it will be vibrant democracies

  • like Botswana and Ghana which roll back the causes of conflict,

  • and advance the frontiers of peace and prosperity.

    As I said earlier, Africa's future is up to Africans.

    The people of Africa are ready to claim that future.

  • In my country, African-Americans - including

  • so many recent immigrants - have thrived in every sector

  • of society.

  • We have done so despite a difficult past, and we have drawn

  • strength from our African heritage.

  • With strong institutions and a strong will, I know that Africans

  • can live their dreams in Nairobi and Lagos; in Kigali and Kinshasa;

  • in Harare and right here in Accra.

    Fifty-two years ago, the eyes of the world were on Ghana.

  • And a young preacher named Martin Luther King traveled here,

  • to Accra, to watch the Union Jack come down and

  • the Ghanaian flag go up.

  • This was before the march on Washington or

  • the success of the civil rights movement in my country.

  • Dr. King was asked how he felt while watching the birth of a nation.

  • And he said: "It renews my conviction in the ultimate triumph of justice."

    Now, that triumph must be won once more,

  • and it must be won by you.

  • And I am particularly speaking to the young people.

  •  In places like Ghana, you make up over half of the population.

  • Here is what you must know: the world will be what you make of it.

    You have the power to hold your leaders accountable and

  • to build institutions that serve the people.

  • You can serve in your communities and harness your energy

  • and education to create new wealth and build new connections to the world.

  • You can conquer disease, end conflicts and make change

  • from the bottom up.

  • You can do that.

  • Yes you can.

  • Because in this moment, history is on the move.

    But these things can only be done if you take responsibility

  • for your future.

  • It won't be easy. It will take time and effort.

  • There will be suffering and setbacks.

  • But I can promise you this: America will be with you.

  • As a partner. As a friend.

  • Opportunity won't come from any other place, though - it

  • must come from the decisions that you make,

  • the things that you do, and the hope that you hold in your hearts.

    Freedom is your inheritance.

  • Now, it is your responsibility to build upon freedom's foundation.

  • And if you do, we will look back years from now to places

  • like Accra and say that this was the time when the promise

  • was realized - this was the moment when

  • prosperity was forged; pain was overcome; and

  • a new era of progress began.

  • This can be the time when we witness the triumph of justice once more.

  • Thank you..

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