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Africans prepare to welcome Obama

Barack and Michelle Obama

Africa is preparing to welcome President Barack Obama. BBC News website readers in Africa tell us their hopes and expectations of the visit.

The most powerful man in the world will touch down in Ghana on July 10 on his first trip as president to sub-Saharan Africa.

In the capital Accra, celebrations are being planned. Thousands are expected to line the streets to welcome Mr Obama and his wife Michelle.

What message will he have for Africa?

BBC News website readers in Africa tell us what the mood is like is their country.

ABEDNEGO OTCHERE, KUMASI, GHANA

Abednego Otchere

As a Ghanaian, I feel very proud that my country is hosting the Obamas. As an African we claim Obama as one of our own.

Everyone from the north of the continent to the south is inspired by him. You see Obama paraphernalia everywhere on the streets. People are selling T-shirts, wristbands and calendars. They are excited that the most popular president of recent times is coming to Africa and they want be a part of that experience.

I hope Obama can empower us to develop Africa's potential

I can only hope that when our leaders meet him they will not ask for aid. We have the resources, we do not need to beg. I hope that Obama can empower our leaders to develop the potential of Africa so that trade improves and there are opportunities for all Africans and not just the diaspora. President Obama should use his considerable influence to urge our leaders to create these opportunities and provide social facilities for the people.

BENJAMIN TSIBU, ACCRA, GHANA

Benjamin Tsibu

I am very happy Obama is coming to Ghana especially as we all supported him spiritually on the road to the White House. I hope to be able to go to the airport to greet him. As a black man with a direct link to an African country, I see this visit as historic.

I don't expect he will be able to do anything special for Ghana or any African country, but he will bring a message of unity with him. He has made the impossible happen and brings increased hope for world peace.

Compared to some other Africa countries, Ghana does not have any major problems. I was expecting that his visit would be a good occasion to make a series of trips to other African countries that are really in trouble like Sudan, Zimbabwe and others, but it appears that this opportunity will be missed.

NANA KORAM, GHANANIAN IN THE DIASPORA

Like my fellow Ghanaians I am very pleased that President Obama has chosen Ghana as the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to visit as president of the United States.

In the US, President Obama has made improving access to healthcare a priority.

In Ghana our previous government began a national health insurance scheme as a way of improving access to healthcare.

President [John Atta] Mills vowed to continue this plan but there have been many problems ranging from funding issues to service providers inflating the cost of care.

So my question to President Obama is what help can you provide, either technical or financial, to help Ghana implement this plan?

JULES DJAHA, IVORY COAST

Jules Djaha

I will be travelling to Ghana with friends for the Obama visit because I want to be one of the first to see him. He is a black man like me and he is living proof that black people can achieve something. As president of the USA he has shown there are no limits to what we can achieve.

He is a huge inspiration to me and many others. I will be travelling in a group of 10 friends, some Ghanaians and some from the Ivory Coast. It will take us two days by bus and one day by car to get to Accra.

I am 28 and have just finished studying. I now work as a marketing director in a small company that sells cosmetic products.

I hope Mr Obama is able to send a message to the world to urge countries to help us develop. Young people finish school but there are no jobs for them here. We need to develop more jobs and not just in foreign-owned companies but in African-owned ones. They are the ones that most need support to grow. I hope he is able to get more young people involved in our own economic and political development.

PETER OBUYA, NAIROBI, KENYA

I don't think the fact that Obama has family ties with Kenya will change anything, it doesn't make him special to me

I am hoping that the Obama administration brings pressure to bear on the Kenyan political elites, specifically President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, so that they can deal firmly with perpetrators of political violence as witnessed in January 2008 following the disputed election results.

The culture of impunity must be brought to an end forthwith.

I don't think the fact that Obama has family ties with Kenya will change anything. It doesn't make him special to me. But I do think that the US is a powerful country that can put some pressure on the Kenyan government and make a difference in the economy.

And it does look like his foreign policy all around the world will be different from the previous government, so that will affect Africa.

IBRAHIMA SORY DIABATE, CONAKRY, GUINEA

Ibrahima Sory Diabate

I hope President Obama will bring a positive message of change, hope and stability for people in West Africa. Ghana and Guinea share similar cultures and any message he has for Ghana will also be taken as one for all West African countries.

I am very pleased and proud that the number one man in the world today is visiting Africa. Right now things are not stable in my country. Our economy is in trouble and because of interruptions to the power supply many people have not been able to watch TV or go online - they do not even know he is coming.

TEJAN KOROMA, KAMBIA, SIERRA LEONE

Market place in Nairobi
Some Africans expect President Obama to have an impact in economy

I do not admire President Obama in any way and the fact that he is a black American is just irrelevant to me.

What matters to me is that he is an American at heart, he is not a true African. Personally I supported John McCain and almost wept when I heard he'd lost.

Most Sierra Leoneans were overjoyed when President Obama won the election. They believe he will do more for Africa than previous presidents and that he will look favourably on us.

I don't think he will be able to live up to these expectations and many Africans' dreams will not come true. My opinion leaves me very much in the minority and many people hate me for it.



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