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President Obama reached out to Africa on Saturday with a wide-ranging address praising the continent's steady achievements, but he called its persistent violent conflicts "a millstone around Africa's neck."

"Despite the progress that has been made -- and there has been considerable progress in parts of Africa -- we also know that much of that promise has yet to be fulfilled," Obama said in a speech to the parliament of Ghana, a western African nation seen as a model of democracy and growth for the rest of the continent.

Ghana was the first sub-Saharan nation to gain independence, in 1957, and Obama continually cited the nation during his speech for its stability, political strides and painstaking economic progress. Its stability stands in contrast to other hot spots on the continent, such as Zimbabwe, where the society is in economic and political turmoil; Sudan, where fighting rages in the Darfur region; and Somalia, where a shaky transitional government is now battling an Islamic insurgency.

Ghana, with a population of 24 million, was once a major slave trading center. Obama visited the Cape Coast Castle, a British outpost where slaves were held until shipped overseas, along with his daughters. Watch Obama's remark after touring Cape Coast Castle

"I think it was particularly important for Malia and Sasha, who are being raised in a very blessed way, that history can take some cruel turns," he said. "And hopefully, one of the things that was imparted to them during this trip is their sense of obligation to fight oppression and cruelty wherever it appears." Read full article »

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