- Title: VARIOUS: Africans react to the inuaguration of US president Barack Obama
- Date: 22nd January 2009
- Summary: PEOPLE WATCHING
- Embargoed: 6th February 2009 12:00
- Topics: International Relations,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVAD3ZEJ17KFZIIELUWFEQAHOBVJ
- Story Text: Africans, who, for the first time, feel a real connection with american elections, give their opinions and expectations of the first African-American president of the US, Barack Obama, who was inaugurated on Tuesday.
Residents of Lagos, Nigeria joined millions around the world who tuned in to watch as President Barack Obama was inaugurated the 44th President of the United States of America on Tuesday, (January 20).
Many here say they are ardent Obama supporters and believe his victory is significant for Africans, but also all people of colour.
"About 40 years ago it was never expected that a black man, an African can be the president of America, the main fact that a black man is the president of America is a plus," said Richar Obu, a Lagos resident.
Obama is the son of a black father from Kenya and white mother from Kansas, and his election triumph marks a milestone in US history.
"For the first time in history we can see that somebody is able to achieve his objectives without being judged by his tribe, colour or otherwise I think it's great," added Akintoye Adekumi, another Lagos resident.
Supporters of Obama in Lome, Togo called on African leaders to emulate the democratic process in the US.
"We cannot see these things without thinking about ourselves. This should inspire the leaders in Africa and Togo because if Barack Obama had been excluded, he would not even be a candidate or even elected," Jean Pierre Fabre, a member of parliament.
"I think we have a symbol in the United States that gives us hope for the future and believe that black people, the African people can aspire to great things because it is one of our brothers who became the Head of State of the most powerful nation in the world," added Nicolas Lawson, a businessman.
Many Africans hope Obama's victory will mean more U.S. support for local development and an improvement in living conditions on the world's poorest continent.
"It will bring a lot things to Africa. In his first speech at the inauguration, he said countries that are at the same level as us who are rich do not need anything, that they should help poor countries, he said poor countries, 'we will help you,'" said Frederic Azeglo, head of an Obama support group in Togo.
Also in West Africa, Guineans were keenly following the inauguration proceedings.
"He's the first African to become the president of the Republic of America. It gives great joy and pride to all the Africans. It is really a feeling I cannot describe. Today, we are pleased, all the Guineans, all the Africans," said Alseny Bangoura, a Conakry resident.
"Barack Obama's coming to power might well result in equality in our country," added Youssouf Camara, a student.
Analysts have warned that Obama will be able to do little to bring tangible benefits to Africa, and that he does not have a strong track record of interest in the continent.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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