July 10th, 2009
11:30 AM ET

Rebranding Africa

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/africa/07/10/ghana.obama/art.obamarose.gi.jpg caption="President Obama says he chose Ghana partly because of the country's commitment to democracy."]

Editor's Note: To watch Anderson's interview with President Obama in Ghana, tune in to AC360° on Monday night at 10p ET.

For the New York Times

Imminent. About now, actually.

Soon, Air Force One will touch down in Accra, Ghana; Africans will be welcoming the first African-American president. Press coverage on the continent is placing equal weight on both sides of the hyphen.

And we thought it was big when President Kennedy visited Ireland in 1963. (It was big, though I was small. Where I come from, J.F.K. is remembered as a local boy made very, very good.)

But President Obama’s African-ness is only part (a thrilling part) of the story today. Cable news may think it’s all about him — but my guess is that he doesn’t. If he was in it for a sentimental journey he’d have gone to Kenya, chased down some of those dreams from his father.

He’s made a different choice, and he’s been quite straight about the reason. Despite Kenya’s unspeakable beauty and its recent victories against the anopheles mosquito, the country’s still-stinging corruption and political unrest confirms too many of the headlines we in the West read about Africa. Ghana confounds them.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Africa • President Barack Obama
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. naomi

    Us from Africa love Pres.Obama ,expecially kenyans but please dont write bad things about our beloved and beatiful country Kenya. we respect that Mr, Obama choose Ghana

    July 10, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  2. david

    The voters are watching the perz. carefully, I hope he can get our counrty back on track. We must get our houses back to were their are savings account.

    July 10, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  3. Cherisa

    Excellent post. Looking forward to the interview and other coverage of the visit.

    July 10, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  4. Mike in NYC

    From the article:

    "...that countries like Italy and France are not meeting their Africa commitments..."

    What was that about money, Simon?

    Who's "always" bringing up race? Whites - liberal or "conservative" - rarely bring up that subject when discussing Africa. The last four or five decades have conditioned them not to think that way.

    It's odious libs like Bono that never tire of throwing the "We are All Africans©" refrain around like it was going out of style. Which, unfortunately, it never will.

    July 10, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  5. Begatafekad Girma

    Mr. president,
    Your willingness to work with one of Africa’s long serving dictators, Meles Zenawi, who killed hundreds of peacefull demonstrators and imprisons tens of thousands who protested the rigged vote is disappointing, to say the least.

    Ethiopia’s dictator, Came to power after 17 years of war and destruction with an equally brutal military regime. The two regimes, led by communist ideologues, created one of the greatest tragedies of the last century, the 1985 famine of Ethiopia.

    you chose one of these groups as a partner to work with. That is a total betrayal of our hope and aspiration that we thought your presidency will bring to our country

    July 10, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  6. earle,florida

    Rebranding Africa has been going on for the past decade by the "Republic of China"(ROC)! It seemingly is their continent to own,along with the Arabs taking up the periphery in the north-east regions. Obviously,the african's feel as if their getting a better bang for their euro/yaun conversion,versus the sickly greenback? In fact,China lays no claim to occupation,or a strong political presense,other than a structured (strickly) mutual business affilliation,where both sides our winners [and when I say winners (African's),I mean the general populus,not the chosen few]. We as american's can learn,from the successful happening in modern day "Africa"?

    July 10, 2009 at 1:14 pm |

    Congratulations on your humanitarians commitments, DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade in Africa),
    Product Red (whose profits are earmarked for programs against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria) among others

    July 10, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  8. simon in BC

    I'm adressing this to Mike from nyc – hardly in one word did Bono request Us for a dime – he made an honest commentary about Africa – and why Mike do you have to use the name whites as the ones giving their hard earned dollar? Why do u have to always resort to race when discussing Africa – might be that's a problem!

    July 10, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  9. Presley

    It's nice to read a positive perspective, not a crude and indignant one.
    Regarding both Africa and our President.

    I am excited and looking forward to this.


    p.s. I ♥ you Bono!

    July 10, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  10. Tim Boateng

    For a British Ghanaian, this is a pat on the back of progress being made at home.Well said and written by Bono and will be canvassing for a chieftain in my ancestral hometown!

    July 10, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  11. Mike in NYC

    Bono, ugh. Trying yet again to get Whites to give up more of their hard-earned money to lost causes.

    I'm not even remotely interested in what he has to say.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:37 am |
  12. Donna Wood, Lil' Tennessee

    Ummm! I can hardly wait! This is going to be truly great!

    Donna Wood

    July 10, 2009 at 11:31 am |