U.S. President Barack Obama has arrived in Senegal, the first stop of a three-nation African trip focused on supporting democratic progress, and increasing U.S. trade and investment.
Senegal is the starting point for what is only Obama's second visit to sub-Saharan Africa as president.
It is an opportunity to speak directly to the large French-speaking population in Africa and voice support for emerging democracies and institution-building.
"In Senegal you have a country that is an emerging democracy, that is a partner with us in situations like Mali, that we want to invest in, on issues like food security, and the development of civil society," said Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes.
After talks Thursday with President Macky Sall, Obama goes to Senegal's Supreme Court to meet with judicial leaders from across the region.
He is then joined by his wife Michelle for a visit to Goree Island, to tour the museum about the history of the slave trade.
Obama also will meet there with Senegalese civil society leaders.
On Friday, Obama joins private and agricultural sector leaders from Senegal and West Africa to discuss steps to enhance food security, one of his key policy priorities.