ACCRA, , (Pakistan Point News - APP - 17th Jan, 2017 ) - It was always going to be hard for outgoing US President Barack Obama to live up to expectations in Africa. Born to a Kenyan father who once herded goats, the first black US president was seen as Africa's prodigal son who would understand the continent in a way white presidents never could. Nelson Mandela said Obama's historic victory was proof everyone should "dare to dream" and Africans gave the new president a hero's welcome.
Six months after taking office in 2009, Obama travelled to Ghana to lay the foundations for future policies that emphasised responsibility and trade. "Africa's future is up to Africans," he said in a speech in the country's capital of Accra. "Africa doesn't need strongmen, it needs strong institutions," he added, referring to the countless leaders who cling to power and enrich themselves in countries where poverty is rampant. The speech electrified the crowd but the thrill wore off.
The trip was his last visit to Africa in his first term. He took a different approach in his second term, launching his signature Africa initiative in 2013 after a visit to Robben Island, the apartheid-era prison outside Cape Town that held Mandela for more than 20 years. His Power Africa programme to double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa was designed to bring governments and the private sector together. "That's a big part of his legacy, to change that perception that Africa is not the dark continent, it is rising and there is opportunity there," US-Africa specialist Scott Firsing told AFP.