An Obama Presidency Retrospective

As America’s first black president, Barack Obama drew the ire of many for paying little attention to Africa. Frederick Nnoma-Addison in his new book writes that his policy towards Africa was often scrutinized and criticized “in an attempt to determine whether ethnicity and heritage influenced [his] policies”.

Yet like presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton before him, whose policy initiatives PEPFAR and AGOA transformed the health landscape and the prognosis of HIV/AIDS and launched a deeper trade relationship with Africa, President Obama ushered in a signature mandate and approach to engagement with the continent. Given Africa’s rising prominence as an emerging economy, the current threats to global security posed by terrorism, the importance of trade and investment and the growing influence of China in the region and many more critical considerations, United States’ government policy towards Africa cannot be taken for granted.

Journalist Frederick Nnoma-Addison’s well timed book, United States and Africa: The Obama Presidency, jointly published by AMIP News and the Africa Society, compiles an insightful and comprehensive overview of the Obama Administration’s approach to Africa. His work chronicles the departure in the United States’ foreign policy concerning Africa taken by the Administration in comparison with his predecessors. As a United States president with paternal roots in Africa, Obama was clear about taking a position of partnership and engagement rather than simply aid. Highlighting speeches, policies, and initiatives, Nnoma-Addison explores the implementation of the Barack Obama’s vision for Africa and the impact within Africa as well as in African diaspora communities in the United States. This seminal work helps policymakers and lay people alike to begin to answer the question ‘How will President Obama’s policy towards Africa be remembered’?

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