News / Africa

Obama to Kick Off Africa Tour in Senegal

Artist Ouzin puts the finishing touches on a painting honouring the upcoming visit by U.S. President Barack Obama to Dakar, Senegal, June 24, 2013
Artist Ouzin puts the finishing touches on a painting honouring the upcoming visit by U.S. President Barack Obama to Dakar, Senegal, June 24, 2013
Anne Look
U.S. President Barack Obama and his family arrive in the Senegalese capital of Dakar late Wednesday to kick off a week-long, three-country Africa tour aimed at reinforcing democratic institutions and spurring American investment on the continent. The first family is traveling with a large delegation of American economic officials, business executives and journalists.  

Obama starts his visit Thursday with bilateral talks with Senegalese President Macky Sall at the presidential palace in downtown Dakar.

The presidents are expected to discuss trade issues and security concerns in Africa's Sahel region, which has seen a spike in militant Islamist activity.

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Obama's choice to visit Senegal, a small, French-speaking West African country, is seen as a nod to Senegal's democratic track record and its recent efforts to crack down on corruption.

Senegal's presidential spokesman, Abou Abel Thiam said Senegal is hoping for more than just a pat on the back.

He said what they want to see is Obama launch more economic initiatives for Africa that will help the continent take off and realize its vast potential. He said Obama is an American president, not an African one, but Africans still have a certain attachment to him. The Africa of today, he said, is a potential partner for the world. He said Obama is in his second mandate now and perhaps has a bit more freedom to do more for Africa.

Presidents Obama and Sall will hold a press conference before Obama heads to Senegal's Supreme Court to meet with regional justice officials.

Analysts say Dakar is a fitting place for this meeting. Senegal opened a special African tribunal this year to try ex-Chadian president Hissene Habre for crimes against humanity.  It will be a first - an African court judging an African leader on African soil.

President Obama and his family spend Thursday afternoon at Goree Island, which was a final transit point in the Atlantic slave trade.

The island has become an important pilgrimage site for world leaders and African-Americans.

The first family will visit a small fort on the island called the Slave House [Maison des Esclaves]. Visitors can enter the cramped, poorly-ventilated cells where slaves were held while being fattened up to survive their grueling Transatlantic journeys.  They can also stand in the infamous "Door of No Return" from which one can practically tumble into the blue waters of the ocean.

The president's visit to the island will be largely private, due to what one Senegalese official called "the emotional nature of the experience."

President Obama attends a state dinner Thursday night and then wraps up his visit to Senegal on Friday morning with a meeting on food security before heading to South Africa and then Tanzania for the remaining two legs of his trip.

You May Like

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs