Nairobi, July 26 (IANS/EFE) US President Barack Obama on Sunday encouraged Africans to take the reins of their own future after spending “too much time” seeking “salvation” abroad and blaming others for the continent’s problems.
The future of Africa depends on the Africans, Obama said in front of a huge crowd at the Safaricom Arena in Nairobi, although he warned that “difficult” decisions must be made so that Africa can move forward.
The US president admitted that every country and every culture has its traditions, but “treating women as a second-class citizen is a bad tradition. It’s holding you back”.
He also condemned domestic violence, forced marriages, sexual assault and genital mutilation.
He said any country that does not allow its girls to go to school or its women to work is condemned to lag behind in the current global economy.
Obama said there was evidence showing that communities that give the same opportunities to both boys and girls were more peaceful, more prosperous, develop faster and have greater chances of success.
Obama went on to discuss corruption, one of the scourges of Kenya, and Africa in general, saying it was a “cancer” that has been tolerated up to now because it has always been that way, but he noted that it doesn’t have to endure if everyone does their part to eradicate it.
He said to the applause of his listeners that it wasn’t just a question of changing the laws, but rather it needs commitment by the entire country, both leaders and citizens.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta recently launched a campaign to investigate politicians and top government officials accused of corruption, but despite publishing a list and the resignations of dozens of those people, there have been no trials as yet.
After delivering his speech, Obama flew to Ethiopia for a two-day visit, the first by a serving US president. He is scheduled to meet regional leaders and deliver a speech to the African Union.