Barack Obama became America’s first ever African-American President eight years ago and there are different views on the impact of his presidency in Africa, particularly Obama quotes on the continent of his origin.
Over the years, Obama did speak to and of Africa in some of his excellent speeches. We have mined eight of our favorite Obama quotes on Africa from them for your enjoyment.
While addressing the Ghanaian parliament on 11 July 2009 on his first official trip to Africa, several Obama quotes hit squarely on issues plaguing Africa;
“We must start from the simple premise that Africa’s future is up to Africans. I say this knowing full well the tragic past that has sometimes haunted this part of the world. I have the blood of Africa within me, and my family’s own story encompasses both the tragedies and triumphs of the larger African story.”
“Development depends upon good governance. That is the ingredient which has been missing in far too many places, for far too long. That is the change that can unlock Africa’s potential. And that is a responsibility that can only be met by Africans.”
“You have the power to hold your leaders accountable and to build institutions that serve the people. You can serve in your communities, and harness your energy and education to create new wealth and build new connections to the world. You can conquer disease, end conflicts, and make change from the bottom up. You can do that. Yes, you can. Because in this moment, history is on the move.”
“History is on the side of these brave Africans, not with those who use coups or change constitutions to stay in power. Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.”
Some powerful Obama quotes known by the world came in the face of tragedy and as Africa mourned former SA leader Nelson Mandela, President Obama paid tribute to Nelson Mandela in December 2013 and gave one of such;
“Mandela understood the ties that bind the human spirit. There is a word in South Africa: Ubuntu; a word that captures Mandela’s greatest gift: his recognition that we are all bound together in ways that are invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us.”
July 28, 2015 saw Barack Obama addressing the African Union in Addis Ababa, two of our favorite Obama quotes on Africa came from his words to the African leaders gathered;
“Nobody should be president for life. Your country is better off if you have new blood and new ideas. I’m still a pretty young man, but I know that somebody with new energy and new insights will be good for my country. It will be good for yours, too, in some cases.”
“When African girls are subjected to the mutilation of their bodies, or early or forced marriage, that sets us back, and it needs to end. When more than 80 percent of new HIV cases in the hardest hit countries are teenage girls, that’s a tragedy and it sets us back.”
On September 21, 2016 President Obama spoke on the economic prospects of Africa at the US-Africa Business Forum in Washington and this bright picture of Africa especially got our attention;
“Thanks to many of you, Africa is on the move, home to some of the fastest-growing economies in the world and a middle class projected to grow to more than a billion customers. An Africa of telecom companies and clean-tech startups and Silicon savannahs, all powered by the youngest population anywhere on the planet.”
President Barack Obama seemed always to be rooting for Africa even when he was chastising her for problems that are recognizable to every African and these Obama quotes on Africa are just some of the reasons why some will miss the great man.