Can African Heads of State Speak?

President Obama meets with President Sall of Senegal, President Banda of Malawi, President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, and Prime Minister José Maria Pereira Neves of Cape VerdeThese days, well-behaved African heads of state are rewarded by Barack Obama with the chance to meet with him in groups of four and have their picture taken with him. It’s like meeting Beyonce, but you get to call it a state visit. That’s what happened on Friday when Malawi’s Joyce Banda, Senegal’s Macky Sall, Cape Verde’s José Maria Neves and Sierra Leone’s Ernest Bai Koroma were paraded before the White House press corps, sitting in star-struck silence as Barack reeled off a kind of wikipedia-level roll-call of their accomplishments. They beamed like competition winners. It was all very feudal. Continue reading