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Obama — Messiah of Africa?

‘We want him to rule all African countries’

Richard Dowden in Ghana reports on the frenzy generated by Barack Obama’s visit

In flip-flops, a faded old T-shirt and ragged trousers, Abraham Laeyea looked the image of Africa’s frustrating, dispiriting poverty. “We like Obama,” he said. “We want him to come and rule all African countries. He brings hope but we need employment, jobs for the youth. Yes, we all have schooling as far as O-level here but then there is no work. People who have succeeded with business in this area move away.”

Abraham was among the young men standing in a crowded street beside an open drain in Jamestown, once a flourishing fishing village on the edge of the capital, now one of the city’s poorest areas. The seaside slum of shacks is home to thousands of people. Most make ends meet by casual labouring or by buying something – anything, a couple of batteries or a plastic key ring – and selling it for a tiny margin. Most eat once a day, if they are lucky.

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