Al Jazeera Blogs


Africa

Is Obama fever in Africa dying down?

The euphoria that greeted Obama's rise to power seems to be ebbing with some opposing his visit to Africa.
Last modified: 23 Jun 2013 07:58

This week US President Barack Obama will visit Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania.

I remember travelling around the US a few months before Obama was elected as the country's first black president.

I went to New York, Texas, Washington and other places doing stories for Al Jazeera. The point of the trip was to look whether US policies towards Africa would change once Obama came into power.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself and loved meeting so many different people - especially African immigrants living in the US.

Everyone I spoke to - black and white - was excited about the idea of having a black president and what it could mean for Africa. 

The rest of my assignment was spent travelling through Africa, asking Africans what they hoped a black president would do for the continent.

He made people all over the world, especially black people, believe that ANYTHING is possible ... "Yes we can!"

Schools and businesses were named after him in many African countries. Wearing an 'I love Obama' cap or T-shirt was fashionable at one stage.

Obama is now serving his second term. Many people are excited he is visiting Africa again, but many others aren't.

The euphoria that was there years ago seems to be less this time. 

Is it because Africans are just used to Obama or are people disappointed because they expected more from him?

University students are holding protests in Johannesburg - anti-Obama protests. The first one wasn't very well attended but the students were vocal and angry.

They say they don't want him here for various reasons. Some don't like the US's policies towards the Middle East. Others feel his country gets away with many things but points fingers at African governments and leaders.

Some say they are angry because they feel he hasn't done enough for the continent. 

But then what did Africans expect from him really?

He is the president of the United States of America, so naturally his priority is the American people?

US officials say he is visiting Africa to strengthen economic ties and cement relationships with various governments. No doubt Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa will use this opportunity to boost their economies and get a gold star for hosting Obama.

But will Obama's visit this time translate into results for the millions of Africans struggling to make ends meet?