My History Is a Reflection of What Makes America Great, Obama Says

President Barack Obama has said his history as a Kenyan-American is proof of opportunities for success enjoyed by everybody in the United States.

Obama said people from every part of the world make up the US, adding that their success is pegged on its creed that all are equal and can prosper.

Saying he is very proud of the connection he has to Kenya, he noted that the world is a collision of cultures, and must be protected for posterity.

“Recognising the diversity of the human experience is a gift. You can learn from people’s differences; they can help you see blind spots,” he said.

“There is no corner in the world where people will not be different, and people will express their faith differently.”

He spoke in an interview on Capital FM Sunday afternoon.

In a joint press conference on Saturday with President Uhuru Kenyatta, Obama emphasised gay rights, saying people who abide by the law should not face discrimination because of who they love.

President Uhuru Kenyatta disagreed with him saying Kenya and the US share many values, but “the people cannot accept what they do not want”.

Uhuru further said the country has more critical issues to deal with at the time, including infrastructure development, education, inclusivity of women, democracy and entrepreneurship.

Regarding racism and other forms of exclusion, Obama said what Kenya can learn from the US is that it takes time to eradicate.

He urged expansion of coverage on rights issues, and constant affirmation that all people are equal under the law and deserving of respect.

“You don’t overcome 400 years of history overnight. Past injustices continue to linger (in the US),” he said, citing recent cases over the killing of African Americans that sparked mass protests.

Regarding focus on the Young African Leaders Initiative, whose number of beneficiaries will double to 1,000 this year, Obama said the aim is to nurture talent.

“We want to make sure they have resources and networks, get to know each other, gain a global perspective and learn from each other, whatever their field,” he said.

Citing the M-Pesa mobile money transfer system, he said; “Human talent, ultimately, is what drives society,”

He noted that the youths get the opportunity to discuss key issues such as climate change, refugees, terrorism, entrepreneurship and corruption.