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What Obama Should Say in Africa

Greater prosperity will come with more accountable politics.
Preparing to welcome the son of a native son.

Preparing to welcome the son of a native son.

Photographer: Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images

Africa is on the verge of fulfilling its huge economic potential -- and has been for decades. As Barack Obama embarks on his fourth and probably final visit to Africa as U.S. president, he needs to emphasize that the key to lasting prosperity is more accountable politics.

Africa's 1.1 billion inhabitants, fast-growing economies and cheap labor make it the final frontier among emerging markets. Sub-Saharan countries have averaged an impressive 5.2 percent growth rate since 1995; by 2025, the World Bank is likely to classify three out of five African countries as middle-income.