Unlike his immediate predecessors, his primary focus will not be human rights violations, AIDS or aid. This president will be taking care of business. The weeklong trip with his family includes stops in Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania, each representing a different region of the continent and chosen for very strategic reasons. The goal is for the “U.S. to significantly increase our engagement in the years to come,” said Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security adviser for strategic communications.
New York Rep. Gregory Meeks, who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told BET.com that Obama is developing the next phase of the nation’s relationship with Africa.
“The trip shows a new direction and attention, and instead of focusing on aid or hunger, which are important, he’ll be talking about business, economic development and how we can get the Export-Import Bank involved in Africa with American and African businesses,” Meeks said. “And he’s bringing along a number of business folks, including African-Americans, to make these kinds of contacts.”