U.S. President Barack Obama heads to South Africa Friday, continuing a three-nation African tour aimed at expanding U.S. engagement on the continent.
President Obama is first wrapping up a visit to Senegal, where he will meet with West African business and agricultural leaders at an event focusing on food security.
On Thursday, Mr. Obama met with Senegal's president, Macky Sall. He also made an emotional visit to Goree Island, the departure point of African slaves headed across the Atlantic.
It is not clear whether the South African leg of Mr. Obama's trip will include a visit with anti-apartheid legend Nelson Mandela, who is critically ill in a Pretoria hospital. White House officials said Thursday any such visit would be up to the Mandela family.
Later in his trip, President Obama plans to visit Robben Island, the prison where Mr. Mandela spent most of his 27 years behind bars. President Obama paid tribute to the ailing former South African leader Thursday, calling him a "hero for the world."
The president is on a week-long visit to Africa, saying he wants ties with the continent based on trade and partnership, instead of aid and assistance.
He will finish his tour next week in Tanzania before heading back to Washington.