No sitting US President has visited Kenya. President Barack Obama follows in his predecessor’s footsteps as he skips his ancestral land.
He last visited Kenya as a Senator in 2006. A visit by such a high profile global figure invigorates nearly all sectors of a country due to its significance.
It would have been a great chance for the business community to jump at the opportunity provided by the hordes of executives accompanying Obama. Obama arrives in Africa with a delegation of 1,200 people, including hundreds of business executives and a coterie of economic advisers. Officially, the three-country tourfocuses on three key objectives: improving continent’s economic growth and promoting international trade; support for open governance and democratisation and building deeper connections with Africa’s burgeoning population of young people.
The trip comes as America’s chief international competitor China has made major political and economic inroads in the continent.
Obama’s main goal will be to spur trade and investment, which will benefit Africans and Americans alike. Bilateral trade in goods reached $100 billion last year, and America’s foreign direct investment in sub-Saharan Africa was around $3.1 billion in 2011. But considering Africa’s fast growth and China’s footprints in the region, those figures need to be higher.