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Obama Chooses Ghana for First Africa Trip

Saturday, May 16, 2009


May 16, 2009, 6:28 pm

President Obama this summer will make his debut trip to Africa since taking office as the first African American president, a visit that promises enormous historic and symbolic resonance for his own country and the continent of his father’s family.
Mr. Obama will travel to Accra, the capital of Ghana, on July 10 for an overnight stop at the end of a trip that will first take him to Moscow to meet with Russian leaders and Sardinia for the annual summit of the Group of Eight major powers, the White House announced Saturday.
By making his first presidential trip to Africa a quick one-night, one-stop visit, Mr. Obama might avoid the spectacle of a longer journey to the continent dedicated to showcasing his family roots. His trip to his late father’s home country of Kenya while a senator in 2006 generated international attention even before he began running for president.
In choosing Ghana, the administration is rewarding one of America’s best friends in sub-Saharan Africa and a small outpost of stability, democracy and civil society in an often-volatile part of the world. By contrast, Kenya has endured a period of great strife and political violence since Mr. Obama’s last visit.
“The president and Mrs. Obama look forward to strengthening the U.S. relationship with one of our most trusted partners in sub-Saharan Africa, and to highlighting the critical role that sound governance and civil society play in promoting lasting development,” the White House said in a written statement.
Ghana is a bipartisan favorite. Former President George W. Bush visited Accra just last year, and Ghana named a major new highway after him. Mr. Bush reciprocated with a rare state dinner at the White House for Ghana’s then-president, John Kufuor.

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