Given his emphatic victory last week, his multicultural background and mantra of change, there is a real possibility that Barack Obama could emerge as the leader to fill this void.
The poor of the developing world need such a champion now as never before.
The ongoing tragedies in Darfur and the Congo are taking a dramatic humanitarian toll in the full view of an impotent international community.
In places hidden from the blinkered view of the western media — like Burma, Tibet and much of the African continent — poverty and repression continue to blight the lives of billions of people every day.
Yet the leaders of the developed world have their own issues to face as their people are increasingly looking inward due to the effects of the global economic recession.
As incomes fall and economic uncertainty looms, spending cuts on aid are precipitating a huge shortfall of funding for the lifelines that are so crucial to those living in extreme poverty.
To address the monumental challenges facing the international community a leader must emerge who can appreciate the particular predicaments of both the developed and the developing worlds and who has the power and the will to affect change and truly awaken the rich to the need of coming to the rescue of the poor.
More than any other man to emerge on the world stage in recent history, Barack Obama has the potential be the leader who finally tips the scales in the war against poverty.
Whether he can take up Mandela’s mantle and address this most monumental of tasks, the poorest of the poor wait in hope to find out.
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