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In Photos: Moment When Africa’s Political Visitors Became Special Tourists

They come to pursue political, economic and diplomatic interests between their countries and different African nations.

While many restrict their visits to bilateral meetings and signing of agreements, some use the occasion to enjoy the cultural experiences that their hosts have to offer.

In this article, we look at several world leaders that have come to Africa in 2018, and look out for those that actually left the continent as ‘political tourists’ having experienced the delights that the African countries they visited have to offer.

France’s Macron visits Lagos nightclub

France’s president Emmanuel Macron in July visited the West African nation of Nigeria.

While he and president Muhammadu Buhari jointly addressed regional security, the gist of Macron’s visit was cultural.

On a mission to ‘show the vitality of Africa’s cultural sector’, Macron spent a night at the New Afrika Shrine, a previously notorious nightclub founded by the late Afrobeat king, Fela Kuti.

Macron danced, played traditional African instruments and enjoyed fashion and art showcases.

Russia’s foreign minister swaps jeans for Ethiopian necktie

When Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov wore blue jeans to the red carpet laid out for him upon his arrival in Ethiopia in March this year, he was ridiculed by the country’s vibrant online community.

He then won them over the next day, when he wore a necktie decorated with the Ge’ez (Ethiopic) alphabet, which is unique to the country.

Visitors from the United States: Tillerson, Obama, Mrs. Trump

In the same week that Lavrov was rocking the Ethiopic alphabet, the United States Secretary of State at the time, Rex Tillerson was beginning his Africa trip in Addis Ababa.

He mixed business with pleasure, when he tasted Yirgacheffe coffee sreved by a farmers cooperative union that is supported by aid from Washington.

READ MORE: Ethiopian coffee for Tillerson, Ethio-themed tie for ‘casual’ Lavrov

Former US president Barack Obama also visited Kenya and South Africa in July.

He visited his ancestral village of Kogelo where he launched a sports and vocational training centre before heading off to Johannesburg where he delivered the annual Nelson Mandela lecture.

Melania Trump, the first lady of the United States will be visiting Ghana, Kenya and Egyp next week, in her first trip to the continent.

The dancing prime minister from the United Kingdom

Last month, the United Kingdom prime minister, Theresa May visited Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya to promote a new trade partnership with Africa, as the country shapes it post Brexit future.

May however made more headlines for her awkward ‘robotic’ dance moves in South Africa and Kenya.

She was also lauded in Nigeria for wearing a custom made Akwete jacket made by a Nigerian fashion designer.

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I was delighted to meet @emmykasbit who designed the jacket I wore in #Nigeria #UKAfrica #MadeInNigeria

A post shared by Theresa May (@theresamay) on

A tour of Addis Ababa

Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed visited Ethiopia in June, and while the headline of the trip was a pledge of $3 billion in aid and investments from United Araba Emirates, the trip had a touristic highlight.

Ethiopia’s premier Abiy Ahmed got behind the wheel of a white car and personally gave Sheikh Mohamed, sitting in the passenger seat, a tour of Addis Ababa.

The ‘Strictly Business’ club: China, Germany, Turkey, UAE, India

While the leaders of Germany, China, India and Turkey visited several African countries at different occassions this year, the visits were mostly restricted to business and dipplomatic settings.

India’s prime minister Narendra Modi did however donate 200 cows to families in Bugesera District, Eastern Province of Rwanda.

Intra-Africa political tourism

African presidents and political leaders also conduct several visits to their counterparts acrioss the continent.

Indeed some of these visits involve significant cultural exchanges and gift giving, that goes a long way in promoting awareness and potential of these countries as tourism destinations.



Written by How Africa

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