United States presidential visits to Sub-Saharan Africa

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President Edwin Barclay (right) and President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II, 1943
President Jimmy Carter and Liberian President William R. Tolbert, Jr. wave from their motorcade during a visit to Monrovia in 1978.

This article concerns trips of a sitting United States President to Sub-Saharan Africa. [1]

Highlights[edit]

  • The first presidential trip was an offshoot of the secretive World War II trip of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943. The trip to Africa was a direct result of the technology of aircraft of the day. The shortest path across the Atlantic Ocean was from Brazil to Africa. On his return trip when secrecy was less important, Roosevelt made a formal visit to Liberia.
  • Jimmy Carter was the first U.S. President to have made a state visit to Sub-Saharan Africa, making his trip in 1978. He also returned to Liberia 35 years after Roosevelt's first visit.
  • Bill Clinton's 1998 tour initiated the modern era of formal visits to Sub-Saharan Africa. Clinton's entourage required 5 passenger airplanes, and scores of heavy lift aircraft missions. The cost of this trip was the subject of a GAO report.
  • Barack Obama made a deliberate attempt to change the paradigm in 2009, when he included a stop-over to Sub-Saharan Africa at the end of his trip for a G8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy. Instead of seven trips from earlier presidential administrations, more regular trips to Africa starting with Obama are considered possible in contrast to frequent presidential trips to Europe. In Ghana, Obama visited the dungeons of Cape Coast Castle, where many enslaved Africans died and others were loaded onto slave ships en route to the Americas and the Caribbean.
  • Because Obama is the only president with ancestry from Sub-Saharan Africa, his visit to his father's native Kenya was particularly highly anticipated by that country. At the time Kenya was not included in Obama's 2013 tour, the country had reportedly omitted due to Obama's discomfort with the International Criminal Court charges pending against Uhuru Kenyatta.[2][3]

List of trips[edit]

President Start End Country Cities Reason
Barack Obama 26-Jun-2013 28-Jun-2013 Senegal Dakar Met with Macky Sall, elected in 2012[3]
28-Jun-2013 1-Jul-2013 South Africa Johannesburg, Pretoria, Soweto, Cape Town Speech on trade and investment, development, democracy and security partnerships; visit to Robben Island[3]
1-Jul-2013 2-Jul-2013 Tanzania Dar es Salaam Trade and investment discussions; accompanied by business leaders[3]
Barack Obama 10-Jul-2009 11-Jul-2009 Ghana Accra Met with President John Atta Mills. Delivered a speech to the Ghanaian Parliament. Toured a former departing point of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the Cape Coast Castle.
George W. Bush 16-Feb-2008 16-Feb-2008 Benin Porto Novo Met with President Yayi Boni.
16-Feb-2008 19-Feb-2008 Tanzania Dar es Salaam, Arusha Met with President Jakaya Kikwete, signed Millenimum Challenge agreement
19-Feb-2008 19-Feb-2008 Rwanda Kigali Met with President Paul Kagame and dedicated new embassy.
19-Feb-2008 21-Feb-2008 Ghana Accra Met with President John Kufuor.
21-Feb-2008 21-Feb-2008 Liberia Monrovia Met with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
George W. Bush 8-Jul-2003 8-Jul-2003 Senegal Dakar, Goree Island Met with President Abdoulaye Wade.
8-Jul-2003 11-Jul-2003 South Africa Pretoria Met with President Thabo Mbeki.
10-Jul-2003 10-Jul-2003 Botswana Gaborone Met with President Festus Mogae. Toured Mokoldi Nature Reserve.
11-Jul-2003 11-Jul-2003 Uganda Kampala Met with President Yoweri Museveni.
11-Jul-2003 12-Jul-2003 Nigeria Abuja Met with President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Bill Clinton 26-Aug-2000 28-Aug-2000 Nigeria Abuja, Ushafa Met with President Obasanjo and addressed the National Assembly.
28-Aug-2000 29-Aug-2000 Tanzania Arusha Met with former South African President Nelson Mandela to promote a peace agreement for Burundi; also met with President Benjamin Mkapa.
Bill Clinton 23-Mar-1998 23-Mar-1998 Ghana Accra Met with President Jerry Rawlings; visited a Peace Corps project.
23-Mar-1998 25-Mar-1998 Uganda Kampala, Kisowera, Mukono, Wanyange, Entebbe Met with President Museveni and with the Presidents of Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
25-Mar-1998 25-Mar-1998 Rwanda Kigali Met with President Pasteur Bizimungu; delivered a public address.
25-Mar-1998 29-Mar-1998 South Africa Cape Town, Johannesburg Met with President Nelson Mandela; addressed joint session of Parliament.
29-Mar-1998 31-Mar-1998 Botswana Gaborone, Kasane Met with President Quett Masire; visited Chobe National Park.
31-Mar-1998 2-Apr-1998 Senegal Dakar, Thies, Goree Island Met with President Abdou Diouf; visited Senegalese peacekeeping troops; delivered several public addresses.
George H. W. Bush 31-Dec-92 2-Jan-93 Somalia Mogadishu, Baidoa, Baledogle Visited international relief workers and U.S. military personnel.
Jimmy Carter 3-Apr-78 3-Apr-78 Liberia Monrovia Met with President William R. Tolbert, Jr..
31-Mar-78 3-Apr-78 Nigeria Lagos Met with President Obasanjo; first State visit of a U.S. President to sub-Saharan Africa.
Franklin D. Roosevelt 26-Jan-43 27-Jan-43 Liberia Monrovia Informal visit; met with President Edwin Barclay.
25-Jan-43 25-Jan-43 The Gambia Bathurst Overnight stop en route from the Casablanca Conference.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "State Department Web Site: Historian's List". 
  2. ^ Raghavan, Sudarsan, "In snub to Washington, Kenyan president visits China, Russia first", Washington Post, August 17, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
  3. ^ a b c d Epatko, Larisa, "Why Obama Is Visiting Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania But Not Kenya", PBS NewsHour, June 25, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-18.