News / Africa

US Presidents Seek Broader Ties to Africa

US Presidents Seek Broader Ties to Africai
X
June 28, 2013 11:10 PM
President Barack Obama is on a three-nation visit to Africa designed to reinvigorate America’s relationship with the continent. As VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports from Washington, Obama is following in the footsteps of recent U.S. presidents who have focused on Africa, even after leaving office.
US Presidents Seek Broader Ties to Africa
Meredith Buel
President Barack Obama is on a three-nation visit to Africa designed to reinvigorate America’s relationship with the continent. Obama is following in the footsteps of recent U.S. presidents who have focused on Africa, even after leaving office.

Obama’s trip to Africa is the latest in a list of visits by American presidents going back 70 years.

Allan Lichtman is a presidential historian and professor at American University.
 
“So by going to Africa, presidents demonstrate that Africa is not forgotten; that the African people and the African nations are important to the American people and to American policy makers,” he said.

While many presidential visits have focused on humanitarian aid, Obama is focusing on trade, investment and democracy.

Jennifer Cooke of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said Obama is looking to the future.

“Moving beyond some of that long-time commitment on humanitarian issues to a much more upbeat and forward looking engagement that a lot of young people in Africa are looking for,” said Cooke.

President Franklin Roosevelt made trips to North Africa during World War II to meet with allies, including British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

In 1943 the leaders met in Casablanca and later that year in Cairo to discuss strategy for the wars in Europe and the Pacific.

President Jimmy Carter visited Nigeria and Liberia in 1978.

As a former president, Carter has made many trips to Africa, focusing on diseases, such as river blindness and malaria. The Carter Center’s campaign to eliminate Guinea worm disease is hailed as a major success.

Another former president, Bill Clinton, used his foundation to sponsor humanitarian projects in Africa.

“So you can actually, immediately and directly see the results of your initiatives in Africa. That is more difficult in other parts of the world,” said Professor Lichtman.

Health care experts say George W. Bush’s initiative to fight HIV and AIDS in Africa has saved millions of lives. Since leaving office, Bush and his wife Laura have remained active in African health issues.

Helping people in Africa resonates in a positive way at home.

“It is not only the presidents, it is the U.S. public and U.S. Congress, I think, that sees itself as doing those kinds of things in the world - a moral force for good,” said Cooke.

And that is a legacy many leaders seek.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: walla Richard from: Douala Cameroon
June 29, 2013 8:31 AM
we need more aids to Africa and not empty visits. The continent is faced with a lot of problems especially, wars, diseases, dictatorship etc. Is should not be that he is come to introduce Gay marriages in our belove continent Africa.

by: dr3yec from: USA
June 28, 2013 9:33 PM
I would love to have economic ties with Africa , but this admin would screw it up somehow , like they do everything else.

by: freeda from: new york
June 28, 2013 9:13 PM
This is unbiased and enjoyable reporting

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs