Barack Obama to make first trip to SA

2013-05-20 22:22
Barack Obama

Barack Obama

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Washington - US President Barack Obama will be heading to South Africa as part of his first major African tour since taking office, the White House said on Monday.

Obama will also be travelling to to Senegal and Tanzania to reinforce US ties with countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

The president will be accompanied by his wife Michelle during the tour which takes place from 26 June to 3 July.

"The trip will underscore the president's commitment to broadening and deepening co-operation between the United States and the people of sub-Saharan Africa to advance regional and global peace and prosperity," the White House said in a statement.

Obama, born in the United States to an American mother and a Kenyan father, has only been to one sub-Saharan African country since becoming president: Ghana, in July 2009, AFP reports.

His wife, however, went on a trip in southern Africa in June 2011, during which she met former South African president Nelson Mandela.

At the end of March, Obama welcomed at the White House his recently elected Senegalese counterpart, Macky Sall, along with the leaders of Sierra Leone, Malawi and Cape Verde, lauding them as examples of "the progress that we are seeing in Africa".

In 2011, Obama received four other African leaders at the White House, the presidents of Benin, Guinea, Niger and Ivory Coast.

He had promised them the US would remain a "stalwart partner" to democracies in Africa.

In June 2012, Obama unveiled a sweeping new Africa strategy, with the goal of reinforcing security and democracy on a continent facing the threat of al-Qaeda and a Chinese economic offensive.

The new US blueprint seeks to boost trade, strengthen peace, security and good governance and bolster democratic institutions, declaring that a continent torn by poverty, corruption and discord could be the world's next big economic success story.

The administration touted "successes" from helping to restore democracy in Ivory Coast, nurturing the new state of South Sudan, backing stability efforts in Somalia and engaging young African leaders.

In his speech before Ghana's parliament in 2009, Obama proclaimed that even though the continent now needs international aid, "Africa's future is up to Africans".

Read more on:    barack obama  |  us  |  politics  |  obama in africa
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