(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama next week will travel to sub-Saharan Africa for the second time. During his first term, the president traveled to Ghana, however on this trip he will make stops in the west, south and east.
The administration says Africa is “one of the most important emerging regions in the world” and President Obama is hoping the trip will help with U.S. business development and building economic ties in the continent, which lags behind China -- already a major player in the continent.
The visit will focus on increasing engagement in business, economic opportunity, trade and investment, and democratic progress; as well as the “key pillars” of his development agenda: economic growth, food security and global health. He also will focus on the young people of Africa as nearly one in three are between the ages of 10 and 24, according to the White House.
The president's trip, scheduled to take place June 26 to July 3, will begin in Senegal, move to South Africa where he will visit Johannesburg and then Cape town, and draw to an end in Tanzania. There will be bilateral meetings in each country and state dinners, according to the White House.
While President Obama's trip will be packed with stops throughout Africa, including The House of Slaves and its Door of No Return -- a memorial to the Atlantic slave trade on Goree Island, Robben Island -- where Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years and the site of the U.S. Embassy bombing while in Tanzania, he will not be visiting Kenya, his father’s birthplace and an area that has “deep personal and familiar connections,” the White House says. The Kenyan President is currently under indictment for war crimes by the ICC.
A White House staffer said “in aftermath of their election and a new government coming into place…it’s not the best time for the president to travel to Kenya.”
When it comes to visiting the ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela, the Administration said they “want whatever is in the best interest of his health,” and a decision to visit will be deferred to the Mandela family discretion.
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