Follow Mahatma: Obama to African leaders

Obama said follow Mahatma Gandhi to bring the changes African leaders want in their continent.

Last Updated: Aug 04, 2010, 11:32 AM IST

Washington: US President Barack Obama
has asked young leaders of Africa to follow Mahatma Gandhi to
bring the changes they want in the continent.

"One of the things that I think everybody here has to
really internalise is the notion that, you know, I think it
was (Mahatma) Gandhi who once said, you have to be the change
that you seek, you have to be the change that you seek," Obama
said in response to a question after addressing a meeting of
Young African Leaders Forum, which he had convened bringing in
young leaders from nearly 50 African countries to White House.

In his address to the young leaders from Africa, the
first of its kind event organised by the US for African
leaders, Obama said Africa`s future belongs to its young
people.

"We are going to keep helping empower African youth,
supporting education, increasing educational exchanges like
the one that brought my father from Kenya, in the days when
Kenyans were throwing off colonial rule and reaching for a new
future," Obama said, adding "we are helping to strengthen
grassroots networks of young people who believe, as they are
saying in Kenya today, yes, youth can."

"You represent the Africa that so often is overlooked:
the great progress that many Africans have achieved, and the
unlimited potential that you`ve got going forward into the
21st century," he added.

"I see Africa as a fundamental part of our
interconnected world. Whether it`s creating jobs in a global
economy or delivering education and health care, combating
climate change, standing up to violent extremists who offer
nothing but destruction, or promoting successful models of
democracy and development -- for all this, we have to have a
strong, self-reliant and prosperous Africa," he said.

"So the world needs your talents and your creativity.
We need young Africans who are standing up and making thing
happen, not only in their own countries but around the world.
And the US wants to be your partner," Obama said.

Obama complimented South Africa`s recent success and
African development by saying that while there were two
European teams in the World Cup Final, Africa was the real
winner.

"In the end, I think that this metaphor of the success
of the World Cup, and the bombing, shows that each of you are
going to be confronted with two paths," he said.

"There is going to be a path that takes us into a
direction of more conflict, more bloodshed, less economic
development, continued poverty, even as the rest of the world
races ahead, or there is a vision in which people come
together for the betterment and development of their own
country," he said.

PTI