What will an Obama Presidency look like to Africa?

[Kenyan Prime Minister] Odinga, who says that his and Obama’s mother hail from the same area of Nyanza, told Africa Confidential that Africans would have to be realistic about an Obama presidency: ‘He is first and foremost answerable to the US voters, maybe under him Africa will receive more attention in US foreign policy… at the moment the US sees Africa only as a humanitarian crisis but not a place where you need to do more investment.’

The two men speak regularly and Odinga says that Obama sees the need for a ‘maturing’ of the US-Africa relationship to a point where ‘we benefit not only from US technology but from US markets as well’. One of the campaign’s leading Africa advisors, Witney Schneidman, said Obama worked with a range of Kenyan politicians on a settlement after the post-election explosions.

In a public debate with Senator John McCain‘s Africa advisor Peter Pham, Schneidman spelt out the three main poles of Obama’s Africa policy: accelerating Africa’s integration into the world economy; enhancing the peace and security of African states; and strengthening relations with governments and civic activists who are committed to promoting democracy and accountability on the continent. Both speakers said the well-attended debate at Washington’s Press Club showed that Africa policy was growing in importance.

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