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Aim for self-reliance, Obama to tell Africa

The Obamas arrive in Accra, Ghana, Friday night after meeting the pope in Italy.

Associated Press

The Obamas arrive in Accra, Ghana, Friday night after meeting the pope in Italy.

Times wires

President Barack Obama isn't descended from slaves; his father was from Kenya, his mother from Kansas. However, his visit to Ghana, a place where slaves once were captured and shipped to America, could be an emotional trek, particularly for first lady Michelle Obama, who like many African-Americans is a descendant of slaves and doesn't know for sure where her ancestors are from. Obama hopes to visit one historic site, the Cape Castle, where chain-bound slaves were pushed through a "door of no return" on their way to bondage. Television is as close as most Ghanaians will be able to get to Obama during his short visit; he hasn't scheduled any large outdoor rallies that would allow the public to see and hear him in person.

Ghana chosen for a reasonMeeting

with pope
World economiesLeaders keep eye on Iran
The White House has been stressing the importance of Obama's speech today before Ghana's parliament, in which he will emphasize that the keys to a prosperous future for all of Africa include honest democratic government and self reliance — particularly the ability to grow its own food. "The president has chosen to visit Ghana because it's such an admirable example of strong, democratic governance, vibrant civil society," said Michelle Gavin, a top Obama adviser on Africa.For his first trip to the Vatican, Obama was joined by Michelle Obama and their daughters, Malia, 11, and Sasha, 8. Pope Benedict XVI stressed the church's opposition to abortion and stem cell research to the president, though the 30-minute meeting was described by both sides as constructive. Obama also delivered a letter to the pope from Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who is battling brain cancer.Lasting worldwide recovery "is still a ways off," Obama declared Friday, but he also said at the conclusion of the Group of Eight summit of major economic powers in L'Aquila, Italy, that an economic collapse apparently has been averted. "Reckless actions by a few have fueled a recession that spans the globe," Obama said of the meltdown that began in the United States. World leaders committed to a $20 billion plan to help farmers in poor nations boost productivity.Obama rejected suggestions that the Group of Eight summit fell short of expectations by failing to call for tough new sanctions on Iran for its crackdown on democracy advocates after its disputed presidential election. "What we wanted is exactly what we got — a statement of unity and strong condemnation." Obama said world leaders will reevaluate their posture toward Iran at a meeting in Pittsburgh in September of the world's 20 major industrial and developing economies.

Aim for self-reliance, Obama to tell Africa 07/11/09 [Last modified: Saturday, July 11, 2009 12:10am]

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