(allafrica.c0m) — Less than two years ago, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama made headlines as they landed in Accra, Ghana. The July 2009 visit was historic, coming only months after Obama was sworn in as our first African-American president. For some Americans, media coverage of the trip was a wake-up call that showed Africa as a coveted partner for businesses from South America, Europe, the Middle East, India and, especially, China. Responding to text messages submitted by Africans, the president recognized Africa’s strategic and long-term commercial importance to American business. “I want to find ways that we can further open up trade relationships between the United States and African countries,” he said. Many had assumed that Obama as president would go first to Kenya, the home of his father. But Ghana was rewarded instead because it was a shining beacon of African democracy and, with recent discoveries of offshore oil, an increasingly valuable economic partner to the United States.