Last year when Obama made his first trip to Kenya, his father’s homeland, since his election as US president in 2009.
Besides his meeting with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and touching base with his grandmother and half-sister, a priority was discussing the importance of cultivating a strong foundation that would allow entrepreneurs to strive.
“Entrepreneurship creates new jobs and new businesses, new ways to deliver basic services, new ways of seeing the world – it’s the spark of prosperity. It helps citizens stand up for their rights and push back against corruption,” he said during his keynote address at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.
He urged the Kenyan government to provide more support for entrepreneurs.
“Entrepreneurship means ownership and self-determination, as opposed to simply being dependent on somebody else for your livelihood and your future. Entrepreneurship brings down barriers between communities and cultures and builds bridges that help us take on common challenges together,” he said.
To put action behind his words, he announced that the US has managed to secure more than R12 billion in new commitments from banks, foundations and philanthropists.
“The challenge is – as so many of you know – it’s very often hard to take those first steps. It’s hard to access capital. It’s hard sometimes to get the training and the skills to run a business as professionally as it needs to be in this competitive world,” he added.
He concluded his speech with a vote of confidence.
“So as you leave here today, I want you all to know that I believe in you. I believe that you have the drive and the passion to change the world. You can unlock new solutions to the pressing global challenges that we face. I believe that,” he said