By Jane Nambi
President Barrack Obama has started his Africa tour beginning with Senegal.
The tour comes in the wake as the world, especially South Africa, awaits upon the death announcement of South African former president, Nelson Mandela who is at the moment on life support according to officials.
The African tour includes only three nations, Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa. According to the Washington Post, the White House had cancelled Tanzania from the African tour but it seems they reconsidered and now he will visit the country. White House spokesman Jay Carney talked about the president’s trip saying, “Presidential trips to regions of the world like Africa bring enormous benefits in terms of our relationship with the countries visited and the countries in the region,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters traveling with Obama on Air Force One. “The trip itself will not be the end point of our engagement, but will enhance it, deepen it and further it.”
President Obama, the First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia and Sasha flew into Senegal’s capital Dakar.
Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, said the president’s planned encounter with young people, including a town hall meeting in Soweto later in the week, signaled US’s “commitment to investing in the future of African youth.”
White House economic advisers and US business leaders are also traveling with President Obama.
Obama’s visit to South Africa is most significant as the life of former president, Mandela fades away. South African president, Jacob Zuma has already canceled a planned trip to Mozambique in which he was supposed to attend a summit today, Thursday on infrastructure investment. The decision to cancel the trip put the country on more tension as the country men and women await announcement on the health of Madiba.
Mr. Obama’s main purpose in Senegal is seen as highlighting Senegal’s democratic culture. The visit will thus offer a partly sanitized vision of this chaotic African metropolis.
“The Senegalese are fed up, and we are hungry,” said Fatoumata Ndiaye, a housewife in the Ouakam district said. “We are asking him to help us. There’s no work here.”