Obama's last chance to make up for his failure in Africa

Princess Smith, 2, sits with her father Francis on July 11, 2009 as they await President Barack Obama's arrival in Accra.

Story highlights

  • Tampa: Obama has bagged no tangible African success. In fact, his much-discussed and oversold Africa policy is in jeopardy
  • Yet all is not lost -- he still has one chance to secure his legacy in Africa

Vava Tampa is the founder of Save the Congo!, a London-based campaign tackling the human tragedy engulfing the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The opinions expressed in this column belong to the author.

(CNN)In 2009, seven months after entering the Oval Office, President Obama pledged a new Africa policy. ''Africa," he declared in the Ghanaian Parliament, "doesn't need strongmen. It needs strong institutions.''

Pro-democracy activists like me took this seriously -- and for good reason. Africa's strongmen have caused the deaths of millions.
    The bloodiest killing field has been Africa's Great Lakes region, where political strongmen have responded to instability in the 20th and 21st centuries by committing crimes against humanity and, in some cases, genocide.
      In my beloved Congo -- Sub-Saharan Africa's largest country -- over 5.4 million people were killed between 1998 and 2008 in wars and proxy wars, the International Rescue Committee says. These wars continue to claim an estimated 45,000 lives a month, according to the UN's Ross Mountain, with 1,100 women and young girls reportedly raped every day.