Sunday, July 12, 2009

Text of Obama's speech in Ghana

Text of President Barack Obama's speech Saturday in Accra, Ghana, as prepared for delivery and provided by the White House:

Listen to the audio here:

These are the speech excerpts that we sent out to thousands of SMS subscribers in Africa and around the world.

----It is an honor for me to be in Accra & to speak to the representatives of the people of Ghana. I am proud that this is my first visit to sub-Saharan Africa as President of the US.

----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.

----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.

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

----With better governance, I have no doubt that Africa holds the promise of a broader base for prosperity.

----People must make responsible choices that prevent the spread of disease… promoting public health in their communities and countries.

----America will support these efforts through a comprehensive, global health strategy.

----Africa’s diversity should be a source of strength, not a cause for division
We must stand up to inhumanity in our midst. It is never justifiable to target innocents in the name of ideology.

----I am speaking to the young people. You have the power to hold your leaders accountable, and to build institutions that serve the people.

----I can promise you this: America will be with you. As a partner. As a friend. Freedom is your inheritance. Now, it is your responsibility to build upon freedom’s foundation.


Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate that, we africans are failing to understand and underpining the issues until, we are reminded by the western leaders.

Not surprisingly what have been said on the speech, but again we have to come up on the same conclusion.

Africans problems will be solved by its own, talking about this conculusion, which brings us to another problem, what we need is a plan to get there, once we start talking about this plan, then surely prosperity, peace and democracy will eventually flourish to our own surprise.

So whats the plan ?

Maiki said...

Most Africans are without doubt justified in celebrating the Obama victory. But from the perspective of the Third World, we have to consider the triumph of reason in the land of hope, in a somewhat less optimistic manner. Let us throw a brief glance at history:-

From the time Margaret Thatcher took over in the UK, and Ronald Reagan got into the White House on January 21, 1980, the two countries led the West into an era of neo-conservatism. Very briefly, the thrust was on neo colonization, in abstract space, not physically.

True, they attacked Falklands and Granada, and sabotaged nationalist regimes, created civil unrest as excuse for staged coups, organized financial crises, sent assassins, financed, armed and trained insurgents, blew up airplanes in mid air, but kept away from occupation. They offered loans for projects which the recipient countries had no use for, had no skills to construct or run, bribed rulers to accept such projects, and went in with an army of consultants, technicians, engineers, administrators and financiers. The materials had to be imported from the “donor” country, its ships had to be used even though the managers and the material could be bought cheaply from other countries, and the shipping cost could be a fraction of what the recipient was being charged. Local contractors were carefully excluded, only local labor was offered menial jobs. At the end of the day, the bulk of mangers who remained on fat salaries and spare parts were obtained from the donor country and continued to arrive on donor country vessels.

Come the time for the payment of the debt, the recipient did not have the money, and was told to tighten its belt, that is stop education, health and welfare subsidies, fire employees, cut budget deficit, sell national assets, privatize utilities, even rain water in Bolivia, get more loan to service the debt-the principal will remain intact and enhanced with further debt. Just to mention but a few. If the native rulers did not abide by the dicta, all the subversive measures were put into effect.

Under Bill Clinton the World Trade Organization (WTO) and NAFTA (North Atlantic Free Trade Area) were organized, the first to put the developing countries (I prefer the more honest term, Less Developed Countries-LDC) into a strait-jacket via Intellectual Property Rights and other such coercive measures, so that they could not offer generic AIDS drugs to victims. At one point Multi-National Corporations (MNC) had even patented “Haldi” turmeric, “Imlee” and “Adrak” ginger, so a farmer growing them on his “bigha”(fifth of an acre) could be jailed. Privatization was pushed like a religion, dams built, making millions homeless. Literally hundreds of thousands of landless and destitute farmers in India have committed suicide since the mid-1990s. The second was meant to use cheap labor in Mexico to put the “pampered” American worker into place.

This is not going to change in an Obama administration. Obama will only make pious noises and offer cosmetic adjustments. It is what it is!

Iddy said...

Maliki, so the problem is not Obama, the problem is US. You mentioned about the Washington consensus and the Era of free market and free everything. My question to you is this, did Tanzania and many African countries had any choices concern Washington consensus? In 1984 Tanzania economy was in the comma, the only way forward was IMF/WB injection of loan. Mwinyi went to ask for money, in return the IFI asked for adoption of ERP I.

We received the loan from IFI, but did we manage them properly?
On other side of the coin i total understand most IFI loans are dubious and the invested money always tricle back to the west.

My question is what is the way forward? SAY NO TO DEAD AID? or Keep borrowing and finance Kihansi Vyura project? Should we reduce spending or contain to support 100+ ministers?

I think blame on me and you when it come to the failure of Africa. We're rensponsibe for the failure.

Ed said...


CALLER: No, no, no, you don't hear me Rush, you don't hear me say anything when it comes to Africa. You don't hear me say anything against George Bush. He do well. He come to Senegal where I'm originally from two years ago. I respect what he do for Africa, but I'm saying, I'm saying all these years, I'm not talking about the George Bush years, I'm talking about since I was a kid, you heard commercials, everything saying lets help Africa, nothing get done, because what happened is you don't put the help in the right hands. You always put it in the government who are in charge over there and (unintelligible)

RUSH: Amen, bro. Amen. I agree with you a hundred percent. In fact, I think the best thing could happen for Africa is to have the aid cut off for like five years because two things have happened, and you're right. The money that has been given in previous years by this country and UNICEF and all the other worldwide organizations, all the money, all the time, all the caring, all the compassion to save Africa, and it's still this place that's miserable, we are told, it's going to hell in a handbasket, "Why don't we do something for Africa?" Rock stars are resurrecting their careers on saving Africa. And yet, it's sort of like the poor in this country, we've thrown everything, we've given them the kitchen sink after throwing it at them, and still have the poor and we still have the disadvantaged. At some point, you gotta get the money into the hands of the people who are going to use it for investment and growth, not welfare, and you have to take it out of the hands of these despot warlord thug dictators in these countries that are getting their hands on it, people like Mugabe in the former Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. Africa has become a worldwide welfare state with the welfare recipients primarily made up of the thug dictators running some of these countries and oppressing their people. There is no reason in the world today why the vast majority of the Third World is in one continent. There's no reason for it whatsoever. But I'll tell you who you can blame, Al Haji, guess who's preventing development there? Our good old American environmentalists, our leftists who prefer squalor to advancement, to running water, to electricity, "because that requires fossil fuels, Mr. Limbaugh, and that's destroying the planet." So people in Africa have to live in pigsties because they're not allowed to develop the country by Americans and liberals all over the world who are standing in their way. George Bush has gone over there, and he has said, "We got new rules. We're going to continue to give you the aid. You gotta show us something for it," and he's being celebrated upon his arrival. The Drive-By Media here cannot understand it. But the people of Africa do. They understand what's happened with his presidency in that regard. But the idea here that Barack Obama is the magic elixir that you can assign to any problem and it automatically gets fixed -- you know, the thing that worries me in a situation like that when you have people of a cult, nothing ever does have to get fixed. It's sort of like liberals and their good intentions. That's all that matters. All you have to do is, "I want that problem solved, Mr. Limbaugh! I can't bear to see people --" Okay. Well, good, we'll spend some money on that. Good. And they think the problem is solved. Their good intentions got it done. So you can throw under the canvas, the black canvas that is Barack Obama any problem, and you make him the solution to it, and whether it gets solved or not, you think he's great because you've made him into what he is, not him. That's the appeal here. Look, Al Haji, nice to have you on the program. I'm glad you called

Maiki said...

Iddy....I applaud your very intelligent observation. It is self-evident that only the people of Tanzania can transform Tanzania. The country is changing every day, and improving in many areas, but substantive democracy based on informed decision-making and substantive citizen democracy is vital to take Tanzania's peoples to the next level in our collective development. While there is no "perfect" democracy, Western Europe, Japan and North America would remain wealthy regardless of which politician X or Y occupied the prime office. In contrast, Tanzanians must raise the quality of decision-making to meet our challenges. If the country's business, political and intellectual elite continue to underachieve and continue to be free of competition from political and economic entrepreneurs, we the people will continue to face unnecessary roadblocks to unlocking the economic potential of our country.

Poor leadership and bad knowledge generation are behind the illusion that Tanzanian developmental challenges are exotic and difficult to resolve, an illusion exploited by paternalistic outsiders who talk about us as if we were infantile and incapable of the simplest tasks of self-government. The default cry of Africas's political, intellectual and business elite is to assert that when faced with the complexity of achieving social, economic and political transformation is to call for a continental government to rule all of Africa, a so-called "United States of Africa". It is the religion of the African intelligentsia, the rainbow-over-the-horizon promise of the politicians.

For decades Tanzanians have yearned for an effective, crime-fighting police force. Our elite prefer to use the police to crush democratic dissent and rig elections. Their attitude is not caused by a lack of "democratic government", but by a lack of interest in public welfare. Changing the systemic foundation of domestic decision-making would do so much to change Tanzania, but those with the most power to push for change have the least interest in doing so. The politicians and their shady backers rely on the system for their existence. The plutocratic business elite are too busy milking the broken system for profit. Intellectuals and so called political progressives switch from being critics to being cheerleaders for reasons unrelated to principle (money, high-profile appointments, ethnic affiliation, etc.). A "civil society" movement is growing, but like all things linked to donor money is becoming a thriving industry in its own right, with little effect on (and possibly little interest in) permanently fixing the circumstances that theoretically necessitated its existence.

Taking power closer to the people and giving them the information they need to use it wisely is more important today and more effective for future growth than taking it further away from the people to a continental regime as distant as Mars insofar as the ordinary Tanzanian can influence it. If we can't hold our local/municipal governments to account, how can we hold the President to account? Don't say elections, because if we can't guarantee local elections produce outcomes of value where are we to find this ability to police national elections? Indeed, we have no democratic oversight over the politicians, technocrats, businessmen, intellectuals and civil society.

Something is broken in Tanzania, something that has been broken for a long time now, something we need to fix, something our elite are avoiding by misdirecting our attention to the daydream of a "democratic government." We need to unleash the entrepreneurial energies, political and economic, of the varied peoples of Tanzania. We cannot continue this way, not if we want to actualize all of our aspirations.....The dependency syndrome in our country is the challenge to growth and development following years of a lop-sided relationship with the West. It's about time that we come to the realization of the fact that this mindset poverty requires a mindset transformation......for as a man thinketh in his heart, so he is!

salama said...


You mentioned a very interesting point. In order for us to start solving our "issues", we need to go deep down and start from the grassroots. The primary answer to our puzzle. True, true brother, if we don't fix our problems now they'll keep fixing us.

Iddy, this should be the starting point on our way forward. Start from the grassroots.

Maiki made a smart point, if we can't hold the local officials/chiefs accountable-those who have a higher propinquity to the local mwananchi-how can we go all the way to the executive level and expect success?

Something has been missing, is missing and will always be missing as long as we don't take draconian measures to ensure that elected representatives serve the interests of those who elected them. Unfortunately, such a revoulutionary idea doesn't always work in practice.

That doesn't mean that we should give up on the political process, rather, it should spur us to work even harder to ensure that elected officials (the people's servants) are adhering to the people's interests. It's worth noting that democracy is not a one-day act we commit once every five years, but it is a process that requires continuous citizen participation if it is to function properly.

salama said...


For the first time, I concur with Rush Limbaugh on what he said about African leaders. Their leadership is being marred by their failures.

Iddy said...

Maiki, thanks for your deep and intellectual analysis. I total agree with you that the way forward should start from my house and your house. However, i need to pose a question to you, Do you think Tanzanian are ready for changes? Do they see the urgency for change?

I think it's about the time to put everything into action. To me 2010 is a tiebreaker if we real need change. If we can start mobilize people for changes from block to block, house to house, street to street then we will be able to change Tanzania one day.

Changes is not easy, you can't transform a corrupted society like ours overnight. You, I and few who see the urgency of changes can start this TODAY. Let us start talking about accountability and transparence from Serikali za mitaa upward. If your in Tanzania talk to your neighbor about the urgency of changes. Ask them about what is the way forward..... Ask them what type of Tanzania will next generation adopt?

Citizen of any society has the choice to decide what type of society do they need to have. To this moment, WE DECIDED THE CORRUPTED SOCIETY. So, we're the only one who can change that.

Let get together and change Tanzania. Together there is nothing we can't do. If you think you're capable to be a leader, take a form and run for the office ( it doesn't matter which party you want to run with, just go and run for the office). If you keep staying behind the pazia, then guess what will happen, these utopian leaders will continue to milk the Fat cow. Let go and change Tanzania.

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