Obama hails Ghana success

2009-07-11 13:05

Accra - US President Barack Obama said on Saturday that Ghana could be a model of success for other African countries and that he chose to visit following a G8 summit to show that "Africa is not separate from world affairs."

The visit to Ghana is Obama's first to sub-Saharan Africa since taking office as the first black US president.

Obama spoke after meeting President John Atta Mills, who was elected in a peaceful, transparent vote last December that contrasted with the old images of war, misery and corruption on the world's poorest continent.

Obama said Ghana can be an extraordinary model for success across the African continent, expressing the belief that Ghana's economy was well-managed and stressing that the United States had a continuing interest in Africa's development.

Mills said Obama's visit sent positive signals and encourages Ghana to sustain democratic gains.

Economic reforms in the cocoa and gold producing country, set to begin pumping oil next year, also helped bring unprecedented investment and growth before the impact of the global financial crisis.

"We don't allow one president to rule for 30 years. This should be evidence to other countries that it can be done," said tax official Nii Dodoo, 41, among the crowds in Accra streets.

Walls and utility poles were plastered with posters of side-by-side portraits of Obama and Mills and the word "change" - the mantra of Obama's presidential election campaign.

Obama was due to address members of parliament on Saturday before visiting Cape Coast Castle, a fort used in the transatlantic slave trade. He and his family will spend less than 24 hours in Ghana before returning to the United States.