Friday, July 10, 2009

Barack Obama in Ghana

In exactly 9 hours Ghana time, Air Force One will touch down gently at Kotoka International Airport. The lean, smooth talking, and astute President of the USA will gently make his way down and wave to an expectant crowd lining the tarmac to welcome him African style. History will be made. America is coming to Africa.

At exactly the same time tomorrow, Air Force One will gently taxi to the end of the runway, before speeding at breakneck speed for take off. Mesmerised, we shall watch in amazement as arguably the most sophisticated airplane on the planet kisses the Accra clouds before disappearing over the sea and hurtle towards its home in Washington. Again history would have been made.

The tomato seller will go back to her table at the roadside. The Y`ello airtime crew will sprawl across the Accra streets as before and eke out a hard living. Teachers will go back to their old classrooms, lawyers to their old courts, engineers to work, and children to the same old classroom. So much will happen, but vey little will change. Its sad.

I would have wanted to see Ghana capitalise on this trip beyond just the media hype. I would have wished for Ghana to drive a very hard bargain, give Obama a Trade and Development Agreement to consider, increase the quota of exports from Ghana to the USA, advocate for cancellation of more debt, enhance private sector partnerships, acquire grants to build roads, hospitals, schools, dams, power generating plants, water purification, medicines, technology..everything that is on our "want list".

What is the reward for democracy, America needs to be asked? Why should Mugabe stop his age old antics to admire Ghana and this historic visit? Where is the incentive?

We must go beyond receiving these meaningless pats on the back, we are not kids, and we cannot be silenced by candy! We must know where our bread is battered, and if it is not buttered, we must seek more butter. It is good that these guys come, Obama is the 3rd sitting American President of the USA to come to Ghana over the last two decades, but not even one of them increased the export quota of Ghana to the USA.

For how long shall we remain the ululating class? For how long shall we proffer wide smiles for merely being labelled the good boys. We must ask for more, we must demand more, we must want more! We must close this gap. Let their gestures be backed up by meaningful economic exchanges, which are aside from AGOA and HIPC and all those one size fits all policies. America must show the world that the reward for democracy is economic partnership, outside the normal realms of peacemeal offers that they offer the length and breadth of the world.


  1. And, that Pen Powder, is what I feel about this and all past or even future visits. Not words, but deeds. Danny Devito's character in the s**t flick 'Twins' put it succinctly: MONEY TALKS AND BULSHIT WALKS. Obama is special, but what will America do for Africa? And what will America do with Africa?

  2. nobody ought to reward us for having a democracy!

    a people must choose what to have!

    and if Obama makes this visit looks like he is rewarding us for our democracy or that he gives us money because of our democracy then that can only be foolish indeed no matter what the reward turns out to be for us (blessing or curse)!


  3. Nana Yaw, action is the loudest language ever, and I did not exactly see it.

    Novisi, I agree with you, but I guess the point is that we should aim for democracy to be beneficial to the common man. The only way is through economic partnerships, and truly, its hard to partner rogue states.

    I must admit though that Obama did Ghana proud, irregardless of whatever came out or did not come out from the visit.