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Obama, Tanzanian President Discuss Development, Regional Conflicts


President Barack Obama, followed by first lady Michelle Obama, does a dance upon his arrival ceremony with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, right, July 1, 2013, at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

President Barack Obama, followed by first lady Michelle Obama, does a dance upon his arrival ceremony with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, right, July 1, 2013, at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

In Tanzania, President Barack Obama and President Jakaya Kikwete have discussed plans to step up economic engagement with the continent and a “new model” for U.S. assistance.

The Obamas received a warm airport welcome from the president and his wife, complete with a marching band, and women dressed in traditional “khanga” skirts bearing Obama's picture.

In a news conference after bilateral talks, both leaders took questions about the development, trade and investment agenda of Obama's trip. Obama reiterated a key objective of his new model for engagement.

“I have said this throughout Africa. We are looking at a new model that is based not just on aid and assistance, but on trade and partnership," he said.

President Kikwete thanked President Obama for “invaluable” support in Tanzania's development efforts, from education to food security and HIV/AIDS prevention.

“The lives of the people of Tanzania are different today thanks in many ways to the support we have been getting from the United States of America," said President Kikwete.

Obama noted Kikwete was the first African leader welcomed to the White House after Obama took office.

Obama also noted that his visit to Tanzania came just ahead of the 50th anniversary of the late President John F. Kennedy welcoming President Julius Nyerere to the White House on July 15, 1963.

Obama called Tanzania a close partner with the United States on major development initiatives, and lauded Tanzanians for democratic progress.

“Tanzanians continue to work to strengthen their democracy. Parliament, opposition groups, civil society groups and journalists are all doing their part to advance the good governance and transparency on which democracy and transparency depend," he said.

The two leaders also discussed African conflicts, including the one in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Obama said all parties need to implement commitments under a recently-signed U.N. Framework for Peace.

Obama said the peace framework has to be more than just a piece of paper and countries surrounding Congo need to step up.

“The countries surrounding the Congo they have got to make commitments to stop funding armed groups that are encroaching on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Congo," he said. "They have signed on to a piece of paper, now the question is, do they follow through?”

As Obama arrived, the White House announced he had signed an executive order to provide $10 million to sub-Saharan countries to help them combat trafficking in wildlife.

Tanzania and other countries are highly dependent on wildlife tourism. U.S. officials noted that rhinos and elephants are particularly threatened by poachers, who are motivated by high prices for horns and tusks in an illegal trade worth at least $7 billion per year.

On Tuesday, Obama and former U.S. president George W. Bush, who is also visiting Tanzania, participate in a wreath-laying event at the site of the al-Qaida U.S. embassy bombing in 1998.

Obama used a response to a question on the appearance by reiterating praise for the anti-AIDS program PEPFAR that Bush initiated.

“I am looking forward to being able, on African soil, to once again thank him on behalf of the American people, for showing how American generosity and foresight could end up making a real difference in people's lives," said Obama.

Meanwhile, first lady Michelle Obama and her predecessor Laura Bush will participate in a First Ladies Summit in Dar es Salaam about empowering women in Africa.

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