Dr Kwesi Jonah, Resident Scholar at the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), said on Tuesday that if oil was an attraction to President Barack Obama, he would have chosen Nigerian over Ghana for his first visit to Africa.
He noted that it was estimated that Ghana would be drilling 1,000 barrels of oil a day, and Nigeria was drilling two million barrels a day, yet President Obama chose to come to Ghana.
“Obviously oil couldn’t be an attraction for Obama as far as this maiden visit to Africa is concerned,” he said.
Dr. Jonah told the Ghana News Agency that President Obama, as the first African-American president of the United States, chose Ghana, the first black African country to gain independence, to make his major policy statement on America’s relationship with Africa.
“There could not have been any better platform on the continent for President Obama to completely re-define America’s relationship with Africa,” he said.
He noted that since becoming president, Obama is re-defining America’s relationship with the rest of the world, saying that in the Middle East, for instance, he had assured Arabs that America would no more dictate the type of government they should have.
Dr. Jonah said in a similar fashion President Obama would be making a statement that would herald a new partnership between America and Africa, such that America would no more dictate to Africa, but rather team up with Africa to counter malaria, under development and boost foreign direct investment (FDI) to Africa.
He noted that it is myopic and petty for some Ghanaians and Africans, for that matter, to be asking “what aid is Obama bringing to Africa?”
Dr Jonah said African’s should look out for opportunities, on the back of this visit, to work their way out of poverty and under-development instead of always waiting for handouts, adding that, President Obama would not bring handouts but would set the tone to empower Africa to free itself from poverty.
“Our attention as Africans should be focused on trade, FDI and tourism as areas where we can benefit from America.
“We should be interested in how this visit would open up the American market and encourage trade… without constraints, how America will encourage more FDI to Africa and how more tourists from America can be attracted to Africa,” he said.