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

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs