An Open Letter to President Obama: After You’re Finished With This Business of Being The POTUS, Come Home
Barrack Hussein Obama, you made history. As the first Black president of the United States you invigorated a nation and turned a new page in American history. As a two term president, you were able to push through your preferred legislation against a hostile Congress and maintained your integrity while doing so.
No one can say that things are perfect, but at the very least, most will say you were honest and did your best. With that being said, you will be leaving office at the ripe age of 55, which in most states, you
wouldn’t even be retired.
If we look at the political landscape in post-Obama America, it really doesn’t look like a comfortable fit. In the next election, with the winner likely being the Democrats and Hillary Clinton or the Republicans with Jeb Bush, Scott Walker or Rand Paul, it’s safe to say you will not be receiving too many invitations to any coffee or tea parties on the White House lawn.
So what does a man who has accomplished so much do at this stage of his life? I have a suggestion for you. Come home to Africa.
If we look at current global economic trends, Africa is developing at a rapid pace. African nations represent six of the fastest growing economies in the world and with the increase in opportunities and developments, it is poised to take a larger role in the world. So what role can you play Mr. President?
First, while Africa does have enormous potential and resources, it cannot be exaggerated that much of its resources have been wasted away. Call it corruption, call it financial mismanagement, call it multinational companies exploiting resources from African nations and leaving the locals with peanuts.
Where you fit in is by providing ideas and guidance on a long term vision for the continent.
For the American business sector, you will provide the opportunity of introducing investment opportunities in increasingly growing and expanding markets. Your profile will allow you to engage leaders at the highest levels, identify the mutual areas of interest, ascertain the level and source of financing and introduce real and legitimate investment. Africa wins because their projects are being financed by reputable lenders and the U.S. wins because their companies are gaining global opportunities.
By coming home to Africa, you will not become a king, president or prime minister. However, what you will be is an influential voice and someone who will keep leaders honest and true to their word. Point blank, when you talk, people will listen.
What Africa lacks is a truly transnational and global figure who can confront the issues of the continent in an unscolding manner and remain above national and regional politics. Not since Mandela, has anyone been able to hold African leadership to a higher standard at a global level. And by global, I’m referring to the ability to raise the profile of Africa to the international standards of business, trade, politics and social justice.
In addition, President Obama, you can assist in facilitating greater business and social connections between the African-American business community along with our entrepreneurs to the African continent.
There are thousands of business people all across America who are seeking new markets for their products, services and ideas and in return, there are millions of Africans who are seeking the same in American markets.
At a cultural and social level, we share our own unique histories, traditions and approaches to life. Within this context, we also have many commonalities which can allow us to foster a greater understanding to move into the next phase of developing our respective people. It is within this area, in which you, the son of a Kenyan, but raised in America as a Black man, can be of tremendous assistance and leadership.
Who better to spearhead such efforts than the first Black president of the United States?
However, we do know that this is easier said than done. You will need to be very careful and mindful of how to go about your goals and objectives. Here are some suggestions on how some areas to avoid:
Local politics – Avoid local politics and stay above the fray. While politicians will try to attach themselves to you and even claim you are supporting them, the political scene in Africa is a mess and there little benefit to be had there.
Keep some of your more liberal policies back in the States – We know that America’s contemporary history is more accepting of various ideals. However, similar to the laptop charger designed in the States with 2 prongs and 120 voltage, if you bring it to Africa, or most other countries in the world, it simply won’t work.
Don’t expect sudden change – You have great ideas and you have a vision for what is possible, but don’t expect anything to happen overnight. Some of the people have a funny habit of nodding in agreement in front of you, and doing the exact opposite when they’re away.
President Barack Hussein Obama, I’d like for you to seriously consider this as a valid option. For myself, as a Black American, born and raised in Philly, and having spent a good deal of the past 15 years in Africa, I can say that you would add great value to the continent. While I understand that you have two young daughters who will be in high school and college respectively along with a wonderful and educated wife, they would enjoy the pace of life and their impact on the people. Granted, they wouldn’t enjoy the frequent blackouts and the mosquitos which seem to appear from nowhere but this would be something for your children and your future grandchildren to build upon.
And you don’t have to start off by living in Africa full time. Due to the logistical issues, prior commitments and the obvious security limitations associated with being a former president, your initial forays into African residency can be semi-permanent. You can establish an organization, similar to the Clinton Foundation to serve as a means of getting to know the continent better.
From there, you can identify a group of young, savvy Africans to provide ideas on the best opportunities for growth and development. Whether you choose Nairobi, Accra, Dar es Salaam, Cape Town or Kigali, you will find yourself in a very welcoming environment which offers boundless prospects. And once again, by coming to Africa after your presidency, you can build a greater legacy which will be unrivaled by anything you can do in American politics, post presidency.
Finally, I’d like to say as one of my relatives always reminds me: Some people call it Africa, but we call it home!
Karibuni sana Mzee Barack Obama na pia, usisihau kutuletea na sisi pizza tamu za Chicago!
Jamal Bradley is an American businessman and writer from Philadelphia who is currently based in Kenya.