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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid