Kenyans can finally rest easy; President Barack Hussein Obama is set to make a visit to the country in July this year. Since the 2013 election, Kenya has been a subject that the Obama administration has distanced themselves from. This is mainly because of the former charges of crimes against humanity touching the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, the claims that the Kenyan government have sanctioned extrajudicial killings and the accusation that Obama was born in Kenya. The President of the world’s sole superpower will finally be in the country to co-host the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, in line with his administration’s goal to assist with economic development in Africa.
Obama has visited Sub-Saharan Africa twice (Ghana in 2009, Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa in 2013) during his Presidential tenure and many Kenyans felt extremely insulted that he had not visited Kenya. They have felt this way because of the fact that his father was from here, he still has living family in the country, even holding their own mock election in his home town of Kogallo (the Kenyan nickname for Kisumu) in 2012. Pundits the world over, such as John Sununu are calling the event a ‘sympathy’ visit, mainly citing the fact that he is in his last year as President and has nothing to lose. However this should not take away from the fact that Africa is gaining international recognition for their contribution to entrepreneurship. The purpose for the summit is to connect emerging entrepreneurs with leaders from business, international organizations and governments looking to support them. In a statement by the White House the trip is intended to “build on the success of the August 2014 US-Africa Leaders’ Summit,” and to “accelerate economic growth, strengthen democratic institutions and improve security.”
The real winners here are not the Kenyan government or the citizen who will feel pride that the US President is on their soil, it is the entrepreneur who will benefit the most. This is mainly because of the fact that they will be exposed to the inevitable influx of potential investors ready to dispense capital to the next big idea. In addition it will motivate the entrepreneurs in the region to streamline their ideas and create products and services that this world has never seen. Africa is rising and blooming into a phenomenon that will shape the future of this world. Africans need to realize that the future of the continent does not rest with governments and their geopolitics that often have nothing to do with the ordinary citizen, but with the entrepreneur who can impact real change.