Obama on last leg of African tour in Tanzania

Obama with Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete durng a welcoming ceremony at Julius Nyerere Airport, Dar es Salaam
Obama with Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete durng a welcoming ceremony at Julius Nyerere Airport, Dar es Salaam

US President Barack Obama and his predecessor George W Bush are to lay a wreath Tuesday in Tanzania at the site of the 1998 bombing of the US embassy, the White House said.

Obama touched down in Dar es Salaam on Monday, for the last leg of his three-country tour of Africa. Bush has been in Africa since last week promoting causes linked to cancer awareness.

On August 7, 1998, twin bomb attacks by Islamist militants on US diplomatic missions in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam killed more than 200 people.

Obama is due to meet his Tanzanian counterpart, Jakaya Kikwete, and then visit a power plant, following up on his announcement that Washington will invest 7 billion dollars in expanding power networks in Africa.

Shortly after touching down in the East African nation and receiving a 21-gun salute at the airport, the president announced new US support for tackling poaching, in particular rhino and elephants.

Obama said poaching had become an “international crisis that continues to escalate”. The administration set up a task force to aid African governments in combating the illegal trade in animals while also seeking to curb the demand for items such as rhino horns.

The horns are most in demand in Asia, where some people believe they have medicinal value, although there is no science to back the claim.

The president is being accompanied by first lady Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha. Numerous trade and business officials are travelling with Obama, who is drumming up support for deepening commerce links between the United States and the continent.

The president announced that he would invite African heads of government to the US next year to take part in a summit to relaunch relations between Washington and African nations.

During his visit to South Africa and Senegal, the US leader urged for better governance in Africa, to match the fast pace of economic expansion.

Obama has been criticized for not engaging enough with the continent and ceding ground and influence to China and other emerging powers.

Much of the president’s trip has been overshadowed by the continued ill health of Nelson Mandela, who remains in critical but stable condition in a Pretoria hospital.

Obama has lauded the former South African president throughout the trip and met with his family privately. – dpa