Obama meets Zuma in Pretoria

2013-06-29 11:15
President Barack Obama, with his arm around daughter Sasha, and first lady Michelle Obama and eldest daughter Malia exit Air Force One. (Cliff Owen, AP)

President Barack Obama, with his arm around daughter Sasha, and first lady Michelle Obama and eldest daughter Malia exit Air Force One. (Cliff Owen, AP)

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Pretoria - US President Barack Obama and his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma met in Pretoria Saturday for talks set to focus on trade, boosting business ties and regional security in Africa.

Zuma received Obama and his delegation at the Union Buildings, the seat of government, at the start of a three-day visit.

The US leader arrived late on Friday from Senegal, where he began his Africa trip, accompanied by his wife Michelle and their daughters, Malia and Sasha.

Obama is to later on Saturday to meet young people in Soweto, the scene of the 1976 student uprising against apartheid that sparked wider protests.

The White House confirmed that he and the first lady would also meet with the family of Nelson Mandela, who is critically ill in hospital.

The Africa trip is Obama's second as president. The continent has not been particularly high on his administration's agenda, which has drawn criticism from analysts.

The president has welcomed inroads made in Africa by countries like China - which has surpassed the US as the continent's largest trading partner.

"This is not a zero-sum game. This is not the Cold War," Obama said aboard Air Force One before landing in Pretoria.

But China, India and Brazil and other emerging nations making headway in Africa should serve as a wake-up call to the US to invest in the continent, he said.

Africa, despite high levels of poverty, has some of the world's fastest growing economies.

In Senegal, Obama announced that the US government and private companies will back new agricultural initiatives in the region.

He promised at least 177 million dollars in new US government and private spending on food security in the country and the wider Sahel region.

Members of his delegation were to hold economic talks with businessmen and officials in South Africa.

Obama is scheduled to conclude the three-country tour next week in Tanzania.Author: Shabtai Gold

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  barack obama  |  obama in africa

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