It's about damn time, since I've argued that he has been ignoring Africa and the Caribbean. Barack Obama, the first black U.S. president, will visit Ghana in July, on his first official trip dedicated to African continent (hopefully trade and not aid will be on the agenda).
"While in Ghana, the President will discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues with Ghanaian President Mills," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement. "The President and Mrs. Obama look forward to strengthening the U.S. relationship with one of our most trusted partners in sub-Saharan Africa," the statement said.
President Obama also looked forward to highlighting the critical role that sound "governance and civil society play in promoting lasting development," Mr. Gibbs said.
While President Obama will set foot as president on the African continent during his visit to Egypt on June 4 to give a speech to the Muslim world, his Ghana trip will be his first foreign voyage specifically targeting the African continent.
Why Ghana? The New York Times theorizes: "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."
President Obama has yet to flesh out his Africa policy. However, he has appointed a special envoy to Sudan and Darfur and has been critical of President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. President Obama also this month said he would ask Congress for $63 billion over six years to battle chronic global health crises, including AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, which will be heavily targeted towards Africa. The initiative, which officials said would increase levels of spending already pushed to historic heights by his predecessor George W. Bush, will also target neglected tropical diseases, infant mortality and other health threats.