International

President Obama Begins Weeklong Africa Trip

President Obama reviews an honor guard on Wednesday outside the presidential palace in Dakar, Senegal. i i

hide captionPresident Obama reviews an honor guard on Wednesday outside the presidential palace in Dakar, Senegal.

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
President Obama reviews an honor guard on Wednesday outside the presidential palace in Dakar, Senegal.

President Obama reviews an honor guard on Wednesday outside the presidential palace in Dakar, Senegal.

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Arriving in Senegal on Wednesday night, President Obama kicked off a weeklong trip to Africa. NPR's Ari Shapiro, who is traveling with the president, tells our Newscast desk that Obama will emphasize democracy and security during his visit.

Ari filed this report from Dakar:

"The streets here in Dakar are full of posters proclaiming, 'Welcome Obama.'

"They show the U.S. president next to Senegal's recently elected president, Macky Sall. The posters almost make it look like the two are running mates in a campaign.

"The images are plastered on walls, trees, fences, even statues. President Obama's visit here provides credibility to the Senegalese government.

"The international community regarded Senegal's elections last year as a model of good democracy. In addition to governance issues, President Obama will discuss West African regional security today.

"Senegal borders Mali, where violent Islamic extremism has been a growing problem."

USA Today reports that after a bilateral meeting with Sall at the presidential palace, Obama will head to Goree Island, where men, women and children were kept in cells before being shipped to the Americas as slaves.

"As well as the thousands African-Americans who come to Goree each year to honor their ancestors, the island has previously been visited by former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, as well as South African President Nelson Mandela," USA Today reports.

Obama also will visit South Africa and Tanzania.

Update at 11:00 a.m. ET. A Behind The Scenes Look:

NPR's Ari Shapiro, who is traveling with the president, has also launched a blog on Tumblr about the trip.

Check it out.

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