While Michelle Obama has been documenting the first family’s trip to Africa on Instagram, others at home have been analyzing the long-term implications of the president’s visit to the continent–his first since a one-day trip to Ghana in 2009.

Todd Moss, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and author of Missing in Africa: How Obama Failed to Engage an Increasingly Important Continent, spoke to Tim Farley on POTUS Politics about President Obama’s trip and its policy implications.

Five years into his presidency, Obama has yet to launch a significant African policy initiative despite high hopes for African engagement when he first took office. In fact, former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush both devoted more administration time to the continent, Moss said. Obama’s Power Africa initiative–a plan announced in Cape Town on Sunday to bring electricity to the poorest regions of Africa–could be his legacy in the region.

Moss talked to Farley about the reasons why engagement in Africa is crucial for U.S. foreign policy.

“We cannot close our eyes, stick our heads in the sand and say we’re not going to engage with these regions. It will come back to bite us,” Farley said. “If we want a dynamic economy that’s moving into the fastest growing markets in the world, the next wave of emerging markets, we have to be engaged in Africa.”

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