Obama US President tells Kenyans they can succeed, sees challenges

On corruption, an issue often blamed for holding back investment, Obama said money spent on bribes would be better paid to someone doing an honest day's work.

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People listen as U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at an indoor stadium in Nairobi July 26, 2015. Obama told Kenyans on Sunday on his first presidential trip to his father's homeland that there was "no limit to what you can achieve" but said they had to deepen democracy, tackle corruption and end exclusion based on gender or ethnicity. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst play People listen as U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at an indoor stadium in Nairobi July 26, 2015. Obama told Kenyans on Sunday on his first presidential trip to his father's homeland that there was "no limit to what you can achieve" but said they had to deepen democracy, tackle corruption and end exclusion based on gender or ethnicity. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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U.S. President Barack Obama told Kenyans on Sunday on his first presidential trip to his father's homeland there was "no limit to what you can achieve" but said they had to deepen democracy, tackle corruption and end exclusion based on gender or ethnicity.

After political talks on Saturday with President Uhuru Kenyatta on security and business, his speech to a packed sports hall in Nairobi struck a personal note, talking of his own experience and Kenya's in the five decades since independence.

US President, Barack Obama arrives in Ethiopia play

US President, Barack Obama arrives in Ethiopia

(Twitter)

 

Kenya was the first leg of a trip to Africa, before he flew to neighbouring Ethiopia, one of the continent's fastest-growing economies and headquarters for the 54-nation African Union.

"I'm here as president of a country that sees Kenya as an important partner. I'm here as a friend who wants Kenya to succeed," he said in the Nairobi arena, after being introduced by his sister Auma Obama to a crowd of 4,500 people.

US President, Barack Obama arrives in Ethiopia play

US President, Barack Obama arrives in Ethiopia

(Twitter)

 

To a mixture of applause and laughter, he described being picked up at the airport on his first visit to Kenya in the 1980s by his sister in an old VW Beetle that often broke down. This time, he arrived on Air Force One and travelled in the president's armoured car nicknamed "the Beast."

US President, Barack Obama arrives in Ethiopia play

US President, Barack Obama arrives in Ethiopia

(Twitter)

 

"When it comes to the people of Kenya, particularly the youth, I believe there is no limit to what you can achieve," he said, but he told Kenyans that building their nation and the economy required personal effort and responsibility.

On corruption, an issue often blamed for holding back investment, Obama said money spent on bribes would be better paid to someone "doing an honest day's work."

US President, Barack Obama arrives in Ethiopia play

US President, Barack Obama arrives in Ethiopia

(Twitter)

 

Referring to ethnic fighting in which 1,200 people died after a disputed 2007 election, he told Kenyans that politics based on ethnicity was "doomed to tear a country apart."

He also warned Kenya would "not succeed if it treats women and girls as second-class citizens."

 

 

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