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 Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid