Yesterday, I noticed two opinion pieces discussing Obama’s recent Africa trip on AllAfrica.com from DC-based Africanist luminaries.
Bernadette Paolo of the Africa Society states that “President Barack Obama has made a profound and impactful visit to Africa.”
Conversely, Rosa Whitaker, who heads a leading Africa-focused consulting firm that bears her name, proclaims that Obama’s trade announcements amount to “little more than a repackaging of policies established by President Bill Clinton and expanded by President George W. Bush.”
I tend to agree with this slightly more rigorous view. As I noted previously, all of the countries that Obama visited have also been visited by George W. Bush. Obama’s new engagement is encouraging. However, I don’t think that by merely using the word ‘partner’ as noted by Ms. Paolo, there is a “paradigm shift…clearly evident.”
And what about when Africa heads of state come to DC? As Africa is a Country tells us, “it’s like meeting Beyonce, but you get to call it a state visit.”