Aug 3, 2010

Yes, Youth Can

Here's the full length video of President Obama's Town Hall meeting with the Young African Leaders. He declared that "Africa's future belongs to it's young people". His prepared speech was pretty good, but I found some of his answers to audience questions lacking, especially when he was asked about PEPFAR funding and trade relationships between the U.S. and the continent. Some of his comments sounded like campaign sound bites and were a little disjointed, but oh well. Enjoy.


video courtesy: whitehouse.gov

Special mention - bravo to the delegates from Ghana (Shamima Muslim), Malawi (Felix Lembani), and Somalia (Abdi Najma Ahmed) for their hard hitting and eloquent questions!


Here are some highlights and quotes I captured:
  • "The United States wants to be your partner...as you work to create jobs and opportunity, America will work with you, promoting the trade and investment on which growth depends”
  • When asked why he was holding this forum, he alluded to the fact that older leaders are often set in their ways and are not responsive to new ideas and therefore it’s beneficial to reach out to the young and eager people such as the attendees of the forum
  • In response to critique about reduced funding to PEPFAR and Global Fund in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Obama stressed the point that his administration has not decreased funding but instead has not increased it as others would like.
  • “Good governance is at the centre of development”
  • Encouraged transparency and open debate in civil organisations, and to provide equal footing for both men and women.
  • When asked if true partnerships can exist between strong and weak nations, Obama affirmed that this is possible because often the interests between the countries overlap (such as in the case of the U.S and African countries).
  • On the situation in Zimbabwe, "I think Mugabe is an example of a leader who came in as a liberation fighter, and I'm just going to be very blunt: I do not see him serving his people well."
  • In response to a question about the willingness of the U.S. to give financial and moral support for the people of Somalia –“ I think you will have enormous support from the people of the United States when it comes to trying to create a structure and framework in Somalia that works for the Somali people."
p.s. I wonder if Uncle Bob will respond to the one-two-jab inflicted by Comrade Obama...

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