On his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa since entering the White House, President Obama has been formally welcomed to Ghana. Amid pomp and ceremony, the United States’ first African American leader was received by his Ghanaian counterpart John Atta Mills. After inspecting a military guard, Obama was to address parliament in a message promoting democracy on the continent.
Obama’s father came from Kenya. But, with a strong democratic track record, Ghana was chosen for the visit because it symbolises an Africa different to the old images of war, misery and corruption. Another highlight of Obama’s trip to the West African nation will be his visit to a fort used in the transatlantic slave trade. His wife Michelle, who flew in with the president and their daughters yesterday, is herself descended from Africans shipped to the US as slaves. The enthusiasiam of their airport welcome, with traditional drumming and dancing, is reflected throughout Ghana. The president’s stay may be brief – barely 24 hours – but Obama-mania is all around.