President Obama will use his trip to South African to engage Nigerian youths about the security challenges facing Nigeria and the fundamental importance of Nigeria Africa, the United States has said.

Speaking at a media call on Mr. Obama’s trip to Africa next week, Ben Rhodes, the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication, indicated that despite the fact that the president will not set foot on Nigeria soil, it would engage in bilateral talks with the country.

From June 26 to July 3, President Obama will visit three African countries: Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania.  He will be accompanied by First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters, Sasha and Malia.

The White House said that the trip was the United States engagement with Africa as they considered it an important region in the world.  According to Mr. Rhodes, the trip would reaffirm the US’s commitment to peace, security, development, and prosperity across the continent, tapping into trade and development, economic opportunities, as well as investing in youths who are considered to be the key pillars of the development agenda.

During his first stop, in Senegal, Mr. Obama will address the Supreme Court on the rule of law in the region. He will also visit Goree Island and the House of Slaves where he will speak to civil society groups.

In South Africa, President Obama is expected to travel to Pretoria and Johannesburg, and discuss security issues regarding South Sudan. He will meet with the AU chairperson, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, before hosting a town hall meeting in Soweto with the Young African Initiative (YAL).

He will also travel to Robben Island and then to a community center where he will discuss the challenges of HIV and other health issues with Bishop Desmond Tutu.  During a visit to the University of Cape Town, he is expected to lay out his vision for the world.  

Asked if President Obama will visit ailing Nelson Mandela, Mr. Rhodes said President Obama, will be “deferential” on what would be in the best interest of the former South African President and his family. He added that his thoughts and prayers are with Mandela.

In Tanzania, President Obama will hold bilateral talks with President Jikaya Kikwete and participate in a roundtable business leadership forum on what the US can do to increase trade and improve economic growth. He is also expected to visit the site of the embassy bombing in Dar es Salaam before he leaves the country.

At the briefing, it was revealed that President Obama has no plans to meet up with his grandmother, Sarah Obama because the two met in Berlin, Germany during his recent European tour.

A reporter asked why the president does many frequent African trips since it was a place for economic growth Ben’s response was that the trip was sending a signal of the U.S integration by bringing along an economic team of experts and bringing in young people to help send that message of US interest in African youth and economic growth.

On why there is an increasing military presence in Africa that involves the use of drones, a member of the panel answered that the African Command of the US military “AFRICOM”  is building African capacity, helping in the effort to capture Joseph Kony, supporting Uganda against the Lords Resistance Army and supporting Mali in its conflict with the rebels there.

Numerous media houses, including SaharaReporters, joined the media call.

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