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Page last updated at 14:40 GMT, Friday, 10 July 2009 15:40 UK

African press pragmatic about Obama's visit

A young girl walks past a banner depicting U.S. President Barack Obama and Ghana President John Atta Mills

Newspapers in Africa are generally enthusiastic about the US president's first official trip south of the Sahara. However, most of them take a pragmatic view, expressing hope that his talks will also lead to an increase in American aid and bigger investment in the region.

The media also warns that the first black American president cannot solve the continent's many problems, with one Ghanaian paper saying that America was also pursuing its own aims and that President Barack Obama had not just come for a "sun tan".

In Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, writers interpreted Mr Obama's decision to choose Ghana as the first sub-Saharan country to visit as a comment on the democratic performance of their own governments.

GHANA

EDITORIAL IN OPPOSITION DAILY THE STATESMAN

Ghanaians are excited about your coming... Our excitement is not necessarily because we are the first country you are visiting. Our excitement stems out of the fact that we are hopeful that your visit will result in some concrete gain for our country.

EDITORIAL IN PRIVATELY-OWNED THE HERITAGE

vendor sells Obama t-shirts
Ghanaians are excited that Obama is visiting their country first

Many are those who are in real frenzied mood, not just because Ghanaians are traditionally hospitable... they strongly hope Obama will bring an end to their joblessness, deprivation and inability to travel to America... scores of impediments still remain in the way of the average African or Ghanaian exporter... Obama, we love and trust you; that is why we are so eager to do business with you!

EDITORIAL IN OPPOSITION THE GHANAIAN OBSERVER

Welcome home brother, but whatever plans you have for the land that has sustained you all this while... do not forget that you also owe some allegiance to your roots.

KWAMENA DADZIE IN PRO-GOVERNMENT DAILY GUIDE

Obama's impending visit has unleashed an unprecedented bout of Ghanaian foolhardiness and it's annoying me... Both government officials and some private individuals are behaving as if Obama's visit will end all of our problems and turn Ghana into a mini-America... They make it sound like a Messiah is coming…

EDITORIAL IN PRIVATELY-OWNED THE NEW DEMOCRAT

We hope that Mr Obama will encourage the business sector of his country to deal with this friendly country of ours. Ghana's agricultural and mining sectors need foreign participation and it is our hope that business executives who are accompanying him would take some time off from their official busy schedule to hold discussions with their Ghanaian counterparts.

EDITORIAL IN PRIVATELY-OWNED THE INDEPENDENT

We can banish... any idea that the man is a kind of financial Father Christmas!... Ghana is where the US wants to establish the headquarters of its African military expedition, AFRICOM. Two, that country is seeking to reduce its dependency on Middle East crude oil and Ghana, new kid on the crude oil block, is a means to attaining that end... President Obama is not coming here for a sun tan.

EDITORIAL IN PRO-GOVERNMENT GHANAIAN TIMES

It is up to Ghanaians to make the best of the visit. America may gain, but Ghana can ensure that she does not lose out this time. Indeed, there is a whole lot we can take advantage of.

EDITORIAL IN GHANA'S GOVERNMENT-OWNED DAILY GRAPHIC

Through this visit, Ghana must be empowered to use her leadership position to champion democracy and justice on the African continent.

KENYA

EDITORIAL IN INDEPENDENT DAILY NATION

American President Barack Obama may have more than one reason for his stated choice of Ghana as the first African country to visit - that it is a bastion of democracy in the continent - but that is neither here nor there... the fact that President Obama omitted the country of his forefathers from his itinerary should not be construed to mean he does not have feelings for Africa.

NIGERIA

REUBEN ABATI IN INDEPENDENT DAILY GUARDIAN

Let the man go to Ghana... The message of his trip to Ghana is to tell Nigerian leaders to start treating their own people nicely, by behaving well, by running good elections and by focusing on good governance.

SOUTH AFRICA

PETER FABRICIUS IN INDEPENDENT DAILY MERCURY

The Obama administration is not snubbing South Africa and is genuinely eager to build a strong relationship, including repairing past damage... Much will depend on whether [President Jacob] Zuma... builds on the examples of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu in its human rights foreign policy, rather than voting against international human rights resolutions, as the Mbeki administration did... Perhaps bypassing South Africa was just the gentlest hint after all.

EDITORIAL IN INDEPENDENT DAILY NEWS

Many Africans want clear words about the trade restrictions and protective customs that ruin many African farmers, such as the cotton producers in Mali. There are also hopes for an improved US development policy... more support for agricultural programmes and small-scale farmers in Africa... Even the most devoted Obama fans are aware of the fact that the first black American president - whom they love to call a 'son of Africa' - cannot solve the continent's many problems.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.



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Africa texts Obama before visit
09 Jul 09 |  Africa
African view: Shipshape for Obama?
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