Saturday, March 8, 2014
The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, right, and former U.S. first lady Laura Bush talk each other as they participate in the African First Ladies Summit: “Investing in Women: Strengthening Africa,” hosted by the George W. Bush Institute, Tuesday, July 2, 2013, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. (
"Ultimately, the goal here is for Africa to build Africa for Africans," Obama said. "And our job is to be a partner in that process."
In that spirit, Obama announced a program to bring more power to Africans without access to electricity. During a visit to a local power plant built with a U.S. grant, Obama demonstrated a soccer ball designed to bring power to communities off the power grid.
One invention that could help on the electricity front is the SOCCKET ball, developed by two Harvard graduates. The ball has a pendulum-like mechanism inside that creates kinetic energy during play and stores it. Its maker says 30 minutes of play can power a simple LED lamp for three hours.
Obama kicked the ball off his foot and did a low header. "We're going to start getting these all around Africa," Obama said. "Pretty impressive stuff."
In remarks afterward, he touted his "Power Africa" electricity program as a win-win for Africans and U.S. companies. He also reflected on the trip, recalling some of the folks he met along the way, including a female farmer in Senegal and young people in the Soweto area of South Africa's capital city, Johannesburg.
"I'm inspired because I'm absolutely convinced that with the right approach, Africa and its people can unleash a new era of prosperity," Obama said.