This week it was announced that the President and First Lady will be visiting Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania June 26-July 3. Apparently the trip will focus on :
#OBAMAinSA Trip will focus on economic growth through trade and investment, engaging the next generation of African leaders, and democracy.
— US Embassy Pretoria (@USEmbPretoria) May 20, 2013
Aside from wondering if Pres. Obama will pronounce Tanzania correctly, my initial reaction was why? Why these three countries? Why Tanzania over Kenya? Why Senegal instead of Niger? Etc., etc.
Of course, these sites are all strategic. And aside from the likely photos of the Obamas at Île de Gorée and on safari in TZ, I have a feeling we’re going to see a lot of meetings with defense attaches and leaders.
A few links for background reading:
AFRICOM et USAID en atelier à Dakar sur la sécurité au Sahel (French): article criticizing recent meetings in Dakar and pondering a future AFRICOM base in Senegal.
Senegalese Media Delegation Visits U.S. Africa Command Headquarters: from 2011, but important to keep in mind AFRICOM has been wining and dining media delegations from around the continent
It should also be noted that Senegal is included in the US’ Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative
And let’s not forget criticisms of Bush‘s relationship with the continent, whose strategic underlying’s remain true today.
Lastly, Africa is a Country‘s astute prediction:
10 Things Obama won’t do on his Africa trip (3): Mention the drones.
— Africa is a Country (@AfricasaCountry) May 24, 2013