Africa and Obama’s election victory

By Africa Center for Strategic Studies
Updated: 11/13/2012

Africa and Obama’s election victory

What will four more years of Barack Obama mean for Africa?
Taken at face value, a Barack Obama presidency should be a big deal for Africa. On Election Day I attended an all-nighter organized in Lagos by the U.S. Diplomatic Mission to celebrate America’s democracy. Two large screens relayed CNN’s coverage while a succession of speakers — including a recently re-elected Nigerian governor — took to the stage to reflect on America and its democratic ideals. Outside the hall sat a mock polling booth, where guests filled a ballot paper and dropped it in a box, watched over by life-size cardboard cut-outs of the two contenders. CNN

Second Obama Term Will Bring More Dynamic Policy Towards Africa
As the election ended and the results were in, the next day in Washington two games began. The first has garnered the publicity: Who really lost the election? Self-proclaimed pundits will make their various assessments with their usual certainty and pomposity, and for the next week much of the media will debate the reasons Barack Obama was re-elected and Mitt Romney wasn’t. In the end, however, the people voted and made the decision of which candidate they wanted to lead the nation. U.S.News & World Report

Africa Seeks Deeper Relations with Obama after Election Victory
A senior African Union official says the group looks forward to deepening relations with Washington following Barack Obama’s re-election as U.S. president. Erastus Mwencha, deputy chairperson of the African Union Commission says the AU seeks a strong partnership with Washington to combat terrorism and find solutions to ending hunger. VOA

Africa And Obama: What The Continent Should Do In His Second Term
Euphoria swept across Sub-Saharan Africa when Barack Obama was elected the first black president of the United States in 2008. Kenya, the ancestral home of his father, declared a national holiday to mark his victory. His re-election in 2012 has generated little celebration. This is mainly because in the last four years Africa has learned to relate to President Obama as a leader of another sovereign state and not as a relative of whom much is expected. Forbes

Elated Kenyans Revel In Obama Win
Though the White House has made no promises, many Kenyans are firmly convinced that in his second term, President Obama will pay a visit to the land of his paternal relatives. He came no closer than Ghana and Egypt in his first four years, but “next year, he’ll be right here with Air Force One,” predicted one excited radio caller. The mood was ebullient at a big election-watch party held at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in a tropical Nairobi suburb. Mang’u High School had sent a group of students to the gathering so they could watch American democracy in action. NPR

Back to Africa
The ascension of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States in 2008 heralded positive change in the country’s Africa policy. But, over the last four years, he failed to deliver on his promises. As the United States prepares for Election Day, one wonders whether or not the next president’s Africa policy will break the inertia and revive U.S. interest in the continent. Africa is so disconnected and removed from the rumblings of domestic politics in Washington that it is one of the rare areas where being bipartisan works. Thus, the problems that plague the continent constitute low-hanging fruit for any president who is willing to commit his political capital to Africa. Foreign Policy

Africa: Obama – No Lessons Yet for Continent
President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda was among the earlier African callers that reportedly congratulated President Barack Obama upon his victory for a second term in the White House, Yoweri Museveni has been in office for a quarter of a century, having seized power at the head of a rebel army in 1986 two years before Obama became a summer associate at the Chicago law firm Sidley & Austin. [...] President Obama might very well leave Museveni behind in office. What democratic moral authority does Museveni have to then celebrate American democratic process, he would not allow in Uganda? Daily Trust on allAfrica

African leaders welcome Obama’s re-election
African heads of states have welcomed Obama’s sweeping victory and vowed to strengthen co-operation, hoping that the US will continue to play a positive role in the continent’s development. Deutsche Welle

How President Obama Can Re-Set U.S. Policy Towards Africa
[...] During his 2009 visit to Ghana it seemed, that President Obama was on the same page with most Africans. In what’s now referred to by some Africans as “The Accra Declaration” Obama outlined a new U.S. approach in relations with Africa. The days of the so-called “Big Man” or one-man rule, was over in Africa, Obama declared. “Development depends on good governance,” he said. Going forward the U.S. would no longer support corrupt dictatorial African regimes but work with countries that were building and strengthening national institutions of governance and leadership. “Africa doesn’t need strong men; it needs strong institutions,” Obama said. Black Star News

What Does the Re-Election of Obama Mean for U.S.-Ethiopia Relations?
U.S.-Africa relations was not part of the conversation in the 2012 U.S. Presidential elections, but what does the re-election of President Barack Obama mean for American diplomacy with Ethiopia? “The election campaign had almost nothing to do with African issues,” said David H. Shinn, former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia. “As a result, I don’t see the re-election of President Obama and the new Congress, which is little changed, having much impact on US-Africa or US-Ethiopia relations.” Tadias

Tanzania: Obama’s Re-Election Excites Many in Dar
Tanzanian politicians, academics, analysts and the public have roundly welcomed re-election of US President Barack Obama, saying the country can learn a lot from the just ended polls in America. National Assembly Chairman Mussa Azan Zungu told the ‘Daily News’ at the Bunge grounds in Dodoma that Mr Obama’s pro-poor policies made him win the election. “President Obama pushed for government-funded healthcare schemes to poor Americans and more tax for rich, the policies that Governor Romney and his supporters were against,” he said. Tanzania Daily News on allAfrica

Kenya cools on Obama
In Kenya, the mood was noticeably different than the 2008 elections. At that time, the whole country seemed to be gripped by Obama-mania. The capital, Nairobi, was plastered with Obama bumper stickers, Obama T-shirts, Obama key rings. People waved U.S. flags. In this election, one had to look hard to find any Obama paraphernalia — or even his portrait on the streets. With the exception of his ancestral village of Kogelo in western Kenya, where a local witch doctor predictably concluded a landslide victory for Obama, most Kenyans were not as exuberant as they were in 2008. The Washington Post

Middle East and North Africa hopeful at Obama’s re-election
Reactions from across the Middle East and North Africa to Barack Obama’s re-election yesterday were subdued but hopeful about a US president who has struck a more cosmopolitan tone in the region’s affairs. In 2008, after winning his first election, Mr Obama stood before a huge crowd at Cairo University and declared in a landmark speech that he would seek “a new beginning” in US-Muslim relations. But the past four years have proven US foreign policy in the region is where the gap between rhetoric and action often yawns the widest. The National

Africa’s future is up to Africans, not Obama. Thanks very much

It is time once again for some well-meaning Africans to ask what an elected or re-elected US President has in store for Africa. I am yet to grasp fully the logic of the fuss. That these last two elections have sent and re-sent to the White House a part-Kenyan president makes the issue all the more urgent. People, Africa (read Uganda) is not Israel. Daily Monitor

Can Obama Hear South Africa’s Cheers?
I guess, judging by the social media chatter, radio call-ins and other background noise in Johannesburg today, that most South Africans awoke (we are six hours behind EST) with pleasure to the news of Barack Obama’s sweeping, if hard-fought, re-election last night. There are a number of sentiments behind this acclamation: simply as the most expensive (by a huge margin) electoral contest in the planet and the saturation coverage it received on the satellite tv stations broadcast here, this presidential election was always going to attract a big local following. The Huffington Post

Africa: Obama – the Second Time Around
[...] Except for a highly publicized trip to his ancestral home in Kenya and an early visit to Ghana, Obama does not seem to the public eye to have paid much attention to Africa and African development other than to demand democratic good governance from their leaders, a position that a few saw as castigating and lecturing African leaders rather than engaging them and the African people, his ancestral family, in concrete strategic development partnerships. His implicit targeting of Nigeria for criticism during his visit to Ghana, and the glaring decision to bypass what is Africa’s (and indeed the world’s) largest and leading African country, a clear contradiction of unspoken protocol, was seen by some Nigerians, candidate Obama’s most vocal and enthusiastic supporters, as a snob that was unfair, unnecessary and unjustified. Vanguard on allAfrica

Rwanda Welcomes Obama Victory
“Rwanda congratulates President Barrack Obama upon his re-election. I think it is a good thing and look forward to continue the good relationship we share with America,” Mushikiwabo, who is also the government spokesperson, said in a phone interview yesterday. Asked what she expected Obama’s contribution on Africa’s growth to be, Mushikiwabo stressed that her important desire is to see progress and development for the continent. New Vision on allAfrica

Obama’s dilemma: Egypt is looking more like Pakistan
The US presidential election is over, and President Barack Obama has another four years to tackle ever more complex and challenging issues, policies and strategies, especially pertaining to the Middle East. As the tragedy in Benghazi, Libya, illustrates, the only thing that will be easy is to be caught off guard. Transitions in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt portend extremely difficult times ahead. The US administration must heed the events and developments of recent months as warning signs, and devise strategies and policies accordingly, as the Yemen and Afghanistan-Pakistan scenarios are multiplying, thanks to the proliferation of hard-line, ultraconservative Islamists, namely the Salafists and their cohorts. The Jerusalem Post

Egypt’s Brotherhood optimistic on Obama election
Egypt’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, has said it is optimistic that a second term for United States President Barack Obama can see an increase in cooperation and fairness with Egypt and the US. The FJP Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Amr Darrag said that he and his party believe that Obama’s second term in office can bring about change in how relations between the two countries are done, “because Egypt has become a major player in international politics.” Bikyamasr

Africans Bewildered by ‘Silly’ Election Issues
An African analyst observing the U.S. elections said he was surprised by the long voter queues and logistical problems at some polling centers. Ebrahim Fakir, of the Electoral Institute for the Sustainability of Democracy in Africa, in Johannesburg, said the presidential and congressional elections always draw worldwide attention. VOA