How the Obama Administration Engaged with the African Continent

By Raevyn Goates on January 13, 2017

United States Agency for International Development, USAID

As Barack Obama wraps up his time as president of the United States, we are looking back at the relations he forged with the African continent and what was achieved during the last eight years.

A few months ago, we looked at what U.S. official trips to Africa can tell us about U.S.-Africa relations, especially during the Obama administration. Official visits made by the president and the secretary of state are a good starting point, but by no means are they the only way to gauge the importance of the African continent to the U.S.…

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Lest We Forget: There Is An Obama Legacy for the African Continent

By George Bamu on January 2, 2017


U.S. President Barack Obama holds a roundtable discussion with civil society leaders in Nairobi, Kenya, on July 26, 2015. Obama has sought to engage African leaders to help themselves during his presidency.

As Donald Trump prepares to to assume the U.S. presidency, we are continuing to look back at the important legacy of Barack Obama and his administration vis-à-vis the African continent.

On November 8, 2016, the election of Trump as the 45th president of the United States shook the world. Many people from the African continent who I spoke with the day of the election and in the weeks after, have told me how they experienced nightmares following the shocking decision by American voters.…

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What Can Official Visits Tell Us About U.S.-Africa Relations?

By Raevyn Goates on August 12, 2016


U.S. President Barack Obama and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta take part in a ceremony during Obama’s visit to Kenya in July of 2015.

As U.S. President Barack Obama’s presidency winds down, we at Africa Agenda feel it is important to look back at what he and his administration did – or didn’t do – for the African continent over the past 8 years or so.

Obama himself is half African; born to a Kenyan father and an American mother. It stands to reason that, from a personal standpoint, he would be invested in the welfare of the continent. Indeed, Obama did have aspirations for the continent from early on.…

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In Case You Missed It: 8/1/16-8/7/16

By Gelllilla Gebre-Michael on August 9, 2016

This week’s most important headlines out of and about Africa

In this week’s news, 54 countries are represented at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio and President Obama speaks to the Young African Leaders Initiative.

Fifty-Four African Nations Attending Rio Olympics

Of the 54 African countries competing in this years’ Olympics, only one team contends under the Olympic flag.

This is the first year that a team of refugees from South Sudan, Syria, Congo and Ethiopia will be represented. This is an opportunity to send a worldwide message of hope and persistence where a group of 10 athletes will be competing in three sports.

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Obama Delivers Final State of the Union – What Does it Mean for Africa?

By Raevyn Goates on January 15, 2016

Evan Vucci/AP

President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 12, 2016.

United States President, Barack Obama delivered his final State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 12.

In his speech, Obama focused on a number of ideas, including the fact that America has never stopped being great, that diplomacy is a better way to deal with conflict, and that all Americans – regardless of differences in their religion, origin, or political ideology – need to work together to improve the country and the world.

Barring all political spin, it was a good, inspiring speech that reminded us that America has has done great things in the past, and it is capable of doing great things in the future.…

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In Case You Missed It 7/29/15 – 8/3/15

By George Bamu on August 4, 2015


USA Today

An American dentist is in hot water after killing Cecil the lion, a famous animal in one of Zimbabwe’s national parks. The dentist could face poaching charges. VPC

The most important in this week’s headlines out of and concerning Africa, for those who need help catching up.

The week brings us news about an uproar about animal poaching in Zimbabwe and the controversy it is causing, as well as news that an estimated 178 people captured by Boko Haram were freed by the Nigerian military, and a meeting in Washington D.C. between a group of young African leaders and U.S.…

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In Case You Missed It: 6/20/15 – 6/27/15

By Sarah Ford on July 27, 2015

The most important in this week’s headlines out of and concerning Africa, for those who need help catching up. This week brings controversy over President Obama’s visit to Ethiopia, an election outcome in Burundi and a U.S. visit by Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari. 


1. President Barack Obama arrived in Ethiopia Sunday night in the final leg of his tour through Africa, a decision that has brought attention and some controversy from civil rights groups. Many civil rights group in Ethiopia do not hold hope that Obama’s visit will spur significant political change in human rights abuses, and U.S. activists have criticized the visit, though the U.S.…

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In Case You Missed It 06/22/15-06/28/15

By George Bamu on July 1, 2015

The most important of this week’s headlines out of and concerning Africa, for those who need help catching up.

AGOA lives on, Buhari prepares for U.S. visit

In the week that just passed, we look at two key stories making headline news about Africa. Both the U.S. House and Senate reauthorized AGOA, or the African Growth Opportunity Act, and sent the legislation to President Obama for his signature. Also, we received news that Nigeria’s new President; Mohammadu Buhari is planning a visit to the United States in July.

1. The African Growth and Opportunity Act or AGOA was reauthorized after final passage by both the House and Senate and then signed into law by President Obama.…

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At year-end news brief, Obama strikes note of optimism on Ebola, America

By George Bamu on December 28, 2014

Obama Year-End News Conference

The White House

The pandemonium about Ebola in West Africa and the potential ripple effects it created in the United States and around the world may have subsided.

While the dangers remain, there is hope on the horizon.

Speaking during his traditional end-of-year news conference December 19, U.S. President–Barack Obama noted that,  ‘America knows how to solve problems, and when we work together, we can’t be stopped”

In his opening remarks, among other things, Obama noted that America is leading the global fight to deal with the Ebola crisis in West Africa. ‘We are leading the global fight to combat Ebola in in West Africa, and we are preventing an outbreak from taking place here at home”

Ebola: America Solves Problems

‘Through persistent effort and faith in the American people, things get better.’

Saying this seemed to be the general theme for his year-end message, the President beckoned the press corps to continue to report about these issues, even when things seem like they are ‘popping.’ Some of those things include race relations in the U.S.…

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White House counselor John Podesta writes about Power Africa

By George Bamu on June 5, 2014

Developing access to electricity in Africa

Developing access to electricity in Africa

John Podesta, counselor to U.S. President, Barack Obama writes about Power Africa for the White House blog.

“President Obama launched Power Africa nearly one year ago to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa – electricity needed for students to succeed, businesses to thrive, and African economies to grow.”

In addition to listing the names of the 27 “Beyond the Grid” partners and examples of their commitment towards the initiative, Podesta states, “new distributed energy companies are now delivering clean, reliable energy in Africa at a competitive price point.”

Power Africa is a commitment by the U.S.…

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