Since Friday, Africans are able to directly question U.S. President Obama via SMS ahead of his July 11 visit to Ghana. The White House hopes that this initiative will bring Barack Obama, virtually, closer to the people of Africa.
Barack Obama is keeping up with the changing times as he resorts to the use of modern information technology to stay in touch with the world. Since Friday, the U.S. embassy in Pretoria (South Africa) has given Africans a rare opportunity to send their questions to Barack Obama, via Short Message System (SMS) or text messaging, ahead of his July 11 speech in Accra, Ghana.
The speech which will be broadcast live on the White House website can be downloaded in audio from the same site and on iTunes.
“You are invited to send an SMS to US President Barack Obama with your questions and comments in advance of his visit to Africa. Those who respond early will receive SMS highlights from his speech in Accra, Ghana, on Saturday, July 11th” stated the diplomatic mission, indicating that “The SMS service is not a 100-percent guarantee of message delivery.”
The embassy also added that “President Barack Obama Obama will be expected to answer selected questions through local radio broadcasts.”
Extending the debate on Twitter and Facebook
“To send a text message to President Obama, from anywhere in Africa, simply text ‘English’ or ‘French’ to +61418601934. If you do not receive a confirmation of your enrollment within 10 minutes, please send again to +45609910343. For Kenya use short code 5683, for Ghana use short code 1731, for Nigeria use short code 32969 and for South Africa use short code 31958,” says the embassy, emphasizing that the limited registration may be subject to local or international charges.
The White House website will also use social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter, to extend the discussion or disseminate new information or videos on Barack Obama’s African tour.
This will be the US President’s second visit to the continent after an earlier visit to Cairo, Egypt, on June 4, where he addressed the Muslim world. Many of those who had registered early received highlights of his speech by SMS.