News / Africa

Michelle Obama's Africa Trip to Focus on Youth Leadership

In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, White House officials said the First Lady's trip will take her to South Africa and Botswana

US first lady Michelle Obama (file photo)
US first lady Michelle Obama (file photo)

Multimedia

Audio
  • Butty reports on First Lady Obama's upcoming Africa trip

TEXT SIZE - +
James Butty

The White House says first lady Michelle Obama’s forthcoming trip to South Africa and Botswana is a continuation of her work to engage young people.

In a conference call with reporters Wednesday ahead of next week’s trip, Tina Tchen, Mrs. Obama’s chief of staff, said the first lady’s trip will emphasize youth leadership, education and health.

“Our trip from June 21st to June 27th is going to focus on youth leadership, education, health and wellness. It’s really a continuation of the work that Mrs. Obama has been doing on her previous trips abroad with the president where she has, throughout the trip, met with students, met with youth to encourage them to excel academically and serve and lead,” Tchen says.

Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes says the first lady’s visit is also directly connected to President Obama’s policy to advance democracy in Africa.

“The president spoke at length about his approach to Africa when he was in Accra, Ghana, in 2009. I think he laid out a vision in which he saw Africa, not as separate from the world, but fundamentally connected to the wider world,” he says.

Rhodes says the United States has a common interest with Africa in fostering economic growth and development, healthy populations, democratic governance and a government that delivers for the people.

He says the United States believes it will be more secure when Africa is secure.

Expectations were high in Africa when President Obama took office in 2009 because Africans believed the new president, whose father came from Kenya, would visit a number of African countries during his time in office.

But, Rhodes says, while the president has not visited more African countries, the administration has found other ways to continue to speak to Africans.

“We strongly supported democratic governance in Africa through a variety of means ranging from speaking in instances such as the recent unrest in Cote d’Ivoire when democratic legitimacy was under threat, to building the capabilities and capacities of African institutions, so that democracy is strengthened,” he says.

Rhodes says the Obama administration pursued a range of development priorities such as food security and The Global Health Initiative.

While in South Africa, Obama will meet with President Jacob Zuma and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, as well as visit the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg.

The White House says, while President and Mrs. Obama have a personal admiration for former President Mandela, no meeting has currently been scheduled with the South African elder statesman. They say any such meeting would depend on Mr. Mandela’s ability to receive visitors.

On Wednesday, Obama is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at a U.S. sponsored young African women’s leadership forum.

Rhodes says the first lady’s speech would follow the theme of President Obama’s message to the young African leaders’ forum last year in Washington, in which he spoke of the extraordinary potential of young people and challenged them to reach for their highest aspirations.

“What we’ve seen in country after country is an undeniable trend that, in places where women are in power, the societies are more prosperous and democratic. And so, we believe that it’s a very important message to send that the empowerment of women and girls in Africa and around the world will help foster greater peace and prosperity,” Rhodes says.

Rhodes also says the Obama administration has not backed away from its commitment to fighting HIV/AIDs in Africa.

“We have actually increased resources for HIV/AIDS.  Not only did we maintain the resources that made such a huge contribution under PEPFAR under President Bush, but we’ve actually gone over and above that in terms of the resources in combating HIV/AIDS on the continent,” Rhodes says.

From South Africa, Obama will visit Botswana, which Rhodes describes as another African country that is making great strides in building the long-term foundations of a stable democracy and pursuing an economic model that can deliver for its citizens.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid