'Africa needs more openness'

2009-07-14 08:50

Washington - President Barack Obama continued to press African countries to be more open and honest on Monday, using a video format to address Africans from Washington two days after he made a major speech in Ghana.

Too many well-educated Africans who have left the continent "feel economic opportunities are blocked or limited" there because of incompetent governments or corruption that requires them to pay bribes to get jobs, the president said in a video to be distributed on the White House web site and elsewhere.

In the video, he answered three questions submitted by Africans by e-mail, Twitter and other social networks. Washington-based African journalists selected the questions from several thousand submitted during the build-up to Obama's one-day visit to Ghana last weekend.

"The most important thing we can do to get young people back to Africa is for them to feel that they've got a future, that they've got opportunities in Africa," Obama said in answering a query from a Nigerian man.

Africa's brain drain

"If people feel that the rule of law exists; if people feel that once they get a good education, they can start a business" or otherwise get ahead through their own merit, he said, then Africa's "brain drain" might begin to reverse as expatriates come home.

While the United States has its faults, Obama said, "people still feel opportunities are greater there because of greater governance."

His remarks echoed themes from his Saturday speech to Ghana's parliament. There, Obama said Africans must determine their future, and he urged the continent's governments and people to bring about greater openness, fairness and honesty.

Obama, whose Kenyan father came to the United States for college, also said he wants better trade relations between the United States and Africa.

Respect for rule of law

He said he wants an environment in which Africa's economic development is not based on "dribbles of foreign aid but rather is going to be based on how do we build capacity within Africa." Africans must improve "respect for rule of law and property rights," he said, which would spur investments.

On trade, Obama said, "we want to, wherever we can, provide the kinds of access to the US global markets that can really make a difference, and to the extent that we can, invest in mechanisms so that ordinary people - farmers, small business people - can access these markets in a fair and free way."

At last week's G-8 summit in Italy, Obama praised efforts to devote an extra $20bn in international "food security" aid for Africa, donated by several countries.

The money will largely be spent on means to improve agricultural practices, meant to provide a more sustained benefit for poor countries than would one-time donations of food.

- AP

Read more on:    barack obama  |  africa  |  ghana  |  barack obama in ghana

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24


The rich will pay - Mpofu

The EFF in Gauteng will focus all its energy on improving the lives of the poor, the party's premier candidate Dali Mpofu says.


Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
  • Tuesday Century City - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Ratanga Road Southbound
    ROADWORKS - lane closure between Ocean Spirit Avenue and Century Boulevard (until mid April)
  • Tuesday Mitchells Plain - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Spine Road
    ROAD CLOSED between Weltevreden Drive and Seafarer Drive due to roadworks (until mid April)
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Service Desk Analyst

Western Cape
Datafin Recruitment
Market Related

SAP Intergration

Western Cape
Definitive Recruitment
Market Related

Trainee Engineering Technician

Western Cape
Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Corporate)
Market Related

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9780

BlackBerry 6 Engage your world with BlackBerry 6 OS on the...

From R3049.00

I'm shopping for:


Treat yourself to something beautiful. You tend to put so much energy in making everything around you work harmoniously, and...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.