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Saturday, November 14, 1998 Published at 22:07 GMT

World: Africa

Jesse Jackson ends Africa tour

Jesse Jackson sees positive signs for African democracy

The United States special envoy to Africa, Jesse Jackson, has ended his four-nation tour of Africa with a visit to Ghana, where he had talks with President Jerry Rawlings.

The American civil rights leader praised the role Ghana had played in the region, saying it represented a clear and strong example of democratic and economic triumph.

[ image: Jerry Rawlings: Second term as elected president]
Jerry Rawlings: Second term as elected president
"We live in the morning of a new day," Mr Jackson said to reporters after meeting Mr Rawlings.

"We know what (Ghana) has been through; what cannot be done and what can be done," he said.

Ghana, a former British colony, suffered a series of military coups in the 1970s before eventually becoming one of West Africa's more stable countries.

President Rawlings took power in a military coup, but is now in his second term as an elected president.

Mr Jackson also praised the steps that Nigeria has made toward democracy and urged the combatants in Sierra Leone's bloody civil war to end their fighting.

Promoting regional stability

Mr Jackson's tour of West Africa - to try to promote stability in the region - also included stops in Nigeria, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

The main purpose of Mr Jackson's visit was to tell his hosts that the US:

  • wants to encourage democracy in Africa
  • feels that trade rather than aid should be the focus for future partnerships
  • is ready to help Africa address its own security problems

In Nigeria, Mr Jackson told the BBC he had been impressed by the way General Abdulsalami Abubakar had begun to carry out his promises of democratic reform.

Mr Jackson said that hope was rising again in Nigeria after what he termed "the tremendous trauma" of General Abacha's leadership.

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