July 8th, 2009
11:00 PM ET

Ghana visit to highlight effective governance, says Obama

Program Note: President Barack Obama travels to Ghana this weekend and Anderson will sit down with him in Ghana's captial, Accra, for an exclusive interview. Tune in to AC360º at 10 P.M. et Monday to watch the interview and for full coverage of the President's trip.

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/17/obama.ghana/art.obamaghana.gi.jpg" caption="President Obama will travel to Ghana for two days after the G8 Summit."]

Charles Cobb Jr., Tami Hultman and Reed Kramer

"Lifting up successful models" of democracy in Africa encourages more democracy on the continent, President Barack Obama told AllAfrica Thursday, explaining why he chose the West African nation of Ghana as the first sub-Saharan African country he would visit next week as President of the United States.

"Countries that are governed well…where leadership recognizes that they are accountable to the people and that institutions are stronger than any one person have a track record of producing results for the people", the president said. Ghana's new president, John Atta Mills, has demonstrated "the kinds of democratic commitments that ensure stability in a country. And we want to highlight that."

The pace of progress to good governance is uneven, Mr. Obama acknowledged. "In my father's own country of Kenya, I'm concerned about how political parties do not seem to be moving into a permanent reconciliation that would allow the country to move forward. And Kenya is not alone."

Africa is a place of "extraordinary promise," Obama told AllAfrica, but is "not going to to be able to fulfill those promises unless we see better governance."


Filed under: Africa • President Barack Obama
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Tammy, Houma, LA

    Maybe we should worry about our own government being accountable to its people and creating a nation where all children can grow up and find success before we worry about the people of another nation. Just a thought.

    July 9, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  2. Imani B

    I applaud CNN in advance for their coverage of this historic event but agree with earlier posts that it must be factually conveyed that this is NOT the president's first visit to Africa. Egypt is in fact in the northern region of the continent and should be acknowledged. My hope is that this is not his last visit to Africa as that is a region of the world that the west must begin to take more seriously.

    July 9, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  3. Michelle

    Another Trip- Wow, How is the American Economy coming along?

    July 9, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  4. Meghan

    Ghana is a great choice. It is full of incredible people who are working hard to maintain a stable country. They are also huge supporters of the president. It is wonderful that he is recognizing them and their efforts and putting the light on the successes in Africa, which is not done frequently enough.

    July 9, 2009 at 9:04 am |
  5. Ama Ohenewa

    Ghanaians are glad to have Obama visiting Ghana. you should see the hype all over the place with preparations, the media, cloths being made, tight police all over the place.... and his name on everyone's lips.... for the next two days, OBAMA is the word.....

    We pray for good weather (though it's the rainy season) for his trip so he can take in the scenery.

    Coop, let me know the time for the interview (GMT time please) so i can tune in and watch... very interested to hear what he has to say...

    July 9, 2009 at 5:24 am |
  6. Carol Markwei

    You can't begin to imagine how excited I was when I heard both of the people I admire the most are going to my home! My family and I never miss a Cooper show and we watch everything Obama. Ghana is the best place to visit in Africa and not just because I come from there but we're really a selfless lot. I really hope you get a chance to have fun Anderson not just work and work. Ghana is really excited to receive Obama. We even have a song and Hotel just for him.

    I just joined twitter cause I'd like to hear about what you thought of Ghana so I hope we'll hear something from you on that. You should try some of the local food like Kenkey, beans and plantain,Waakye( rice and beans with hot sauce) and the best friedrice and chicken you'll ever have, Papaye from Osu Oxford street. You'll find all this in Accra of course. Oh gosh I wish I could get on a plane and come join in on all the excitement thats about to take place. I do have one request though please spare us and the world pictures of those kids with flies around them. the media is suppose to educate and inform. Show us something they don't know like how we have electricity in Ghana lool

    July 9, 2009 at 4:04 am |
  7. Paul

    Why does CNN, the Associated Press and Reuters make it seem like President is going to African for his first visit as President? Is Egypt not in Africa? It's sad that in 2009 the media is still trying to make north Africa not part of the continent. In fact didn't Egypt just take part in the African Union meeting just held in Libya? Or according to you is Libya also not Africa?

    This is President Obama's 2nd visit to the African continent. saying things like Sub-Saharan Africa are often used as somewhat a racist term as well. Because educated people know just why certain people try to separate Africans.

    I'm just insult by that CNN would go around speaking as if this is President Obama's first African visit while in elected office. CNN you should be ashamed and Anderson Cooper you should really know better to do this. You're well exposed.

    July 9, 2009 at 2:46 am |
  8. J.V.Hodgson

    Geography lessons aside lets understand Africa as a whole.
    It is a place of huge natural resources and potential and political overtures and concentration on politics i.e. anti Mugabe, praising one African national government versus another Is not the way to go.
    The point is that colonialism has created a situation where the African continents national wealth is effectively owned managed and controlled (and the best paying jobs) by western companies.
    I am not advocating Farm nationalisation(or mines or oil) as Mugabe did with disastrous results on what was a "bread basket for Africa".
    What I am advocating is "good corporate governance".
    These major corporates ( or old colonials) if they want no interference from local activisists need to put some profits into e.g educating and training locals to run the companies and when they do ( get promoted) give them share options as they do the the Ex pats in senior positions and transition the expats out, mostly. The same applies to diamond mining in South Africa, and other precious metals or basic metals or oil companies.
    Western interference ( better support) or rather development investment should concentrate on the basics of educational infrastructure, health,water supply,utility supply, roads and ports which will faciltate trade employment and economic growth and done without political strings from any one specific government along with International company's respecting thier social responsibilities in overdose levels will lead to higher corporate profits not just hunting cheap labour, and short term profits.

    July 9, 2009 at 2:09 am |
  9. Janine from PA.

    Godspeed Mr. Cooper on your trip to Ghana, and I hope your interview with President Obama goes well. Maybe he'll catch a fly for you!

    July 9, 2009 at 12:57 am |
  10. steve k.

    Am so excited to see your show and the interview with the president in Ghana.I left Ghana about twenty years ago and I can't wait to go back in the coming christmas holiday.
    Anderson,make sure you educate your audience about the castle.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:09 am |
  11. nia

    Nina, I totally agree with you egyptian may be light skin but eygpt is still part of africa. Anderson Cooper can you please make it clear on air that Ghana is president Obamas SECOND trip to AFRICA.

    July 8, 2009 at 11:54 pm |
  12. Marie Greene

    Why do some Americans always complaint? Let's start praying for our leaders and country. I know you don't feel any better, but you might if you stop complaining so much. Wake Up! It's bad to be Blessed and don't know it!

    July 8, 2009 at 11:44 pm |
  13. Dolphine Newton

    I have been a fun of CNN and AC 360 jut because its the most reliable source of news but over the past year i have seen CNN and other news media make some grave mistake and i just think its time to voice it out. African is a continent and not a country. President Obama is visiting Ghana in the African continent so it will be nice to state asuch. Do not just generalize it, it makes it difficult for some of us to know which african country is better. I have been to Africa several times and each time you report on Africa, it will be nice to identify it by the country. Africa can just be compared to the U.S where New York, Ohio, Texas, Georgia and any other states will be a country with their own presidents and rules and regulations. Honestly, sometimes i see pictures of places in Africa and i ask myself which part of africa that is. Lets give credit to African countries doing the righ thing by refering to them by the country. Ghana is a great place and a great country, lets say "President Obama visits Ghana in africa.

    July 8, 2009 at 11:36 pm |
  14. samuel

    Ghana, like America has both affluent areas and rural areas, however when ever you hear a story about any African country the pictures are always in rural areas and slumps, while most American stories are in the big cities showing the best areas. I would like to see for the first time , positive news from the 'news media' concerning Ghana – the luxury homes in Airport residential area, East Legon, Cantoments etc, the high level of education at various universities, the attractive business enviroment and the rich traditional culture. It is the positive image Ghana has created that attracted President Obama to visit this country on his first subsaharan visit.

    July 8, 2009 at 11:33 pm |
  15. Lily

    "explaining why he chose the West African nation of Ghana as the first sub-Saharan African country he would visit..."

    SUB-SAHARAN! SUB-SAHARAN!! Meaning below the Sahara. Egypt is ABOVE the Sahara. It is the first sub-Saharan African country he will visit not the first African country.
    Sometimes you need to stop and smell the roses, guys.

    July 8, 2009 at 11:27 pm |
  16. Carolyn Danley

    I spelled Messiah wrong . PRESIDENT OBAMA IS NOT THE MESSIAH!

    July 8, 2009 at 11:05 pm |
  17. Jody

    Please, Anderson, ask President Obama to ask the leaders of Ghana what they are doing to stop the flow of millions of dollars that flood into their country every year unabashed through the scamming efforts of their own citizens. Estimates are that currently, about 30 BILLION DOLLARS end up there every year, with very little effort on the part of the Ghanian government to stop these criminals. I am tired of watching stimulus dollars get poured into a recovery program here at home with such a large hole in the dike that goes unchecked by the Ghanaian government. You want to to talk about cyber attacks and cyber security???? Let's find out what they're willing to do about it.

    July 8, 2009 at 11:00 pm |
  18. Patrish

    Hi Anderson, would you please ask Mr. Obama to ask the Ghanaian Government about the dating scams that originate in Ghana and Nigeria, and what they are doing to stop the crime? Romancescams.org and the Romancescams Yahoo Group assist over 30,000 members who have become victims in dating site scams. These victims include doctors, lawyers, professors, and many others who have been caring and generous, not realizing that they are being scammed. The scammer uses fake photos, fake names and fake stories. One of the many ways that the Moderators of the group assist the victims is in checking IP addresses from the scammer's computers. Almost 90% of the IP addresses originate in Ghana and Nigeria. Romancescams works tirelessly to educate the public about this issue, but the number of victims continues to grow. CNN has done excellent reporting on the dating scams in the past , as have MSNBC, Oprah, Dateline, etc. The crime continues to grow and millions of dollars continue to be sent to West Africa by victims who have believed the scammer's story. There are many stories told by the scammers from needing money for an orphanage to needing money to pay for a child's surgery. The Ghanaian Embassy even has the Romancescams information on their website to help victims who contact them. I would like to know if the Ghanaian government is doing anything to stop this crime from continuing. Thank you so much.

    July 8, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  19. Nina

    I though Obama visited Egypt weeks ago, so how is it that his visit to Ghana is the presidant first visit to Africa???? isnt Egypt in Africa... please correct me or make the correction ...thanks

    July 8, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  20. William Courtland

    Shock and Awe, and Obama gave peace to Africa.

    So to expand the United States Postal Service as in updated format in a enlarge ring around the entire contienent: crossing through only South Africa, while towers of trade and domestication centers are found in light pockets around these trade post towers: the towers have running water, bathrooms, facilities for food and depsentation of medical aid, other functions of life and trade: hotel or inn, camp ground and other spaces of delivery and industrial trading from natural harvests.

    To keep The Savana a Savana, to promote the jungle to grow via the water towers system.

    To irrigate Egypt: as the main ring cuts right through the heart of the desert: and the towers on the mediterreanians edge can be seen for hundreds of miles...

    To deliver mass understanding and community spirit to the globe: as when one has a stable address: they have a stable identity.

    The pain and suffering in Iraq: is felt as a sub-harmonic in what one would consider a Global Conscious: as sapients and sentients suffer: they trade and distribute that suffering: so to promote good health in Africa is a fair traded item for benefit of mental health.

    To have a ring aroung the main body of Africa: and on the pattern of the New Newyork: which damns the bay and creates a fresh in land lake: it brings massive new constructed residence spacing for fresh living in pest free spaces.

    The over ocean living spaces: would be some of the most expensive: but if one can afford to expand due to fair gains: as to create a larger customer base: as to provide those spaces while constructing the rail system.

    To take into Africa in small pockets industry for ore and other material extraction: but only when the rail system is there to remove it. A global preserve: for Apes, Elephants, Lions, and life: as Lions should be domesticated to take the hunt of cattle to a cleaner method of industry.

    July 8, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  21. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    @Lai, perhaps the West looks down on Africa because you can count on one hand the number of stable democracies that exist. Most of the sub-Saharan countries were better off as colonies rather than being corrupt dictatorships full of tribal violence.

    July 8, 2009 at 9:50 pm |
  22. RLWellman

    Is Barrack going to make sure his birth certificate is gotten rid of?

    July 8, 2009 at 9:17 pm |
  23. William Landford

    Please, Anderson, do not show only the negatives. There are so many positive things in Ghana to show your American audience. We are tired of the American media showing hunger and poverty. Show the rich culture of Ghana. Educate America about Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and the Ashantehene. The beautiful city of Accra and Akosombo Dam. We are sick and tired of the Tarzan image of Africa.

    July 8, 2009 at 9:15 pm |
  24. Kojo Abaka

    One has to ask for help to get help. How we ask could be via words or through actions. I believe that the Ghanaians have clearly expressed, since 1957, that we have what it takes to be progressive. The dilemma that Ghana is faced with is linked to the age old argument " What came first...the chicken or the egg". In other words, what comes first...money or development?
    I hope that H.E. Barack Obama unveils an extraordinary aid package that has conditional key economic indicators. We definitely do not want to have another "bridge to nowhere", "one laptop per child...where there is no electricity", for that matter. The country of Ghana belongs to the people of Ghana. Ghanaians have taken hold of their destiny, but it is time for Ghanaians to guide themselves in a direction that is going to ensure prosperity. A lot of the changes have to be effected within the people. After all charity begins at home...does it not? Next we need to empahsize the importance of meaningful education. Look at the case of India and its' emergence as a global technological powerhouse. This was not achieved by sudden flight, but while the rest of the world slept (rested) on their laurels, Indian students were toiling upwards in the night ( all the implied puns intended). Whether it is technology or agriculture, or medicine, attention needs to be paid to the junior and senior high schools. That is where the future of Ghana lies.
    I am happy that H.E Barack is visiting Ghana and I pray that this visit will act as a positive catalyst for development across all areas of the economy. God Bless the USA and Ghana

    July 8, 2009 at 9:12 pm |
  25. bel

    am happy anderson cooper is having this program, but am a little bit concerned on what parts of accra he shows to people in ths country. am sure we also do have much nicer places than what he shows especially our markets. kindly go to places such as mannet/spintex so people can also know we have much nicer places in africa especially in accraghana.

    July 8, 2009 at 8:30 pm |
  26. lai

    I really don't care which country in Africa Obama is visiting. The bottom line is that all western Presidents treat African countries with disrespect. I understand the many social problems of the African continent but Africa is not alone, many Asian countries, South American and Eastern European countries have tremendous social problems but they never attract negative attention like Africa. When people visit Africa, one of their goals is to take pictures of slums but that's only one side of the story. Again, US foreign policy towards African countries is based on dependency theory. All those "foreign aids" are part of the problem in Africa. What African countries need is economic independence, integration into the global trade, what African countries don't need is HANDOUTS!

    Anderson, please note that Obama is not visiting Africa for the first time, he visited Egypt last month which is in North Africa. Maybe you'd say his visit to Sub-Saharan Africa. Considering that 90% of Americans are uninformed about Africa I think you're better off stating the right thing. Why not say Obama's visit to Ghana... it's straight forward and doesn't diminish the fact that Ghana is in West Africa. Africa is very heterogenous and should not treated as a homogenous continent. Am sure you understand that heterogeneity of most African countries. Please kindly correct the erroneous message in your ads. While in Ghana, makesure you show the world decent pictures and NOT slums!

    July 8, 2009 at 8:06 pm |
  27. Tim Gibson

    After the smoke and mirrors of the G8, a quick stop to talk about democracy. When we ourselves are falling faster than a dead bird from the sky.

    It appears Mr. Obama is working day and night to make a national name for himself on false promise and action.

    July 8, 2009 at 7:54 pm |
  28. Lori

    What short-term tangible measures can be achieved to encourage long-term strides toward democracy?

    July 8, 2009 at 7:51 pm |
  29. lisa

    It can be any better choice than Ghana, because Ghana is a very peacefull nation and the people in particular are very welcoming, respectful and very well educated. Anderson, make sure, you show some pictures of Ghana because I will be watching with my friends.

    July 8, 2009 at 7:47 pm |
  30. Debbie Owusu

    As excited as i am about Obama visiting my country Ghana,i hope the media will give a balanced coverage of both sides of issues concerning Ghana.
    I strongly believe the president is visiting Ghana because of the peace and stability that exist in my country.This is an opportunity for those who are ignorant about Ghana and Africa as a whole to be well informed about this wonderfull continent.

    July 8, 2009 at 7:36 pm |
  31. Aaegie, Toronto, Canada

    President Obama's first visit to Africa was June 2009 when he visited Egypt, the last time I checked Egypt is still in Africa.

    July 8, 2009 at 7:30 pm |
  32. Nyakeh Sam Suale, Stockton CA

    I think, the President have started taking major step in democracy. This is a brilliant act and I hope he'd also visit countries like Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Senegal and Nigeria.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:54 pm |
  33. Annie Kate

    A more effective government in each of the African nations would be a good thing – perhaps then we won't see the never ending pictures of starvation and deprivation we see now. A government that is good for the country and its people would encourage people to stay in their country and use their skills for the betterment of their home and the end of starvation and deprivation when drought and manmade disasters ruin their crop for the year.

    July 8, 2009 at 5:59 pm |