Former President Barack Obama’s memorable eight years as America’s Commander in Chief and leader of the free world finally came to an end Friday. Obama was elected as the 44th U.S. president in a groundbreaking election in 2008, when he defeated Republican Senator John McCain, becoming the first U.S. African-American president in history.
Born in Hawaii to a Kenyan immigrant Father and a White Mother, Obama’s African ancestry is well-documented.
- Egypt: June 4, 2009
Five months after his inauguration on January 20, 2009, Egypt became the first African country to welcome newly elected President Barack Obama, when he made a state visit to Cairo on June 4, 2009.
Obama held talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and delivered an epic speech, entitled “A New Beginning,” at Cairo University.
2. Ghana: July 9-10, 2009
When Airforce One landed in Accra on July 9, 2009, Ghana became the first sub-Saharan country visited by President Obama. Ghana is considered a beacon of democratic ideals on the African continent, and Obama’s choice of Ghana for his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa was an open endorsement of Ghana’s democracy.
President Obama was received on arrival by Ghanaian President John Atta Mills. After giving a memorable speech at Ghanaian Parliament, he then toured Cape Coast Castle, a former departing point of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
Watch President Obama’s speech in Ghana here:
3. Senegal: June 26-28, 2013
Following President Obama’s re-election in 2012, Senegal became the first African country visited by both him and his wife, Michelle. The Obamas arrived in Dakar on Wednesday, June 26th, for a state visit. Later on Thursday, Obama held bilateral talks with Senegalese President Macky Sall.
Obama’s itinerary included visits to Senegal’s Supreme Court to meet with judicial leaders, a visit to the Maison des Esclaves on Gorée Island, and a meeting with farmers and other members of Senegal’s agriculture sector to discuss food security. Mrs. Obama, for her part, visited an all-girls middle school with the First Lady of Senegal.
Watch students perform for Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Sall here:
4. South Africa: June 29-30, 2013
South Africa was the next point of call during President Obama’s 2013 tour of Africa. President Obama arrived in South Africa on Saturday, June 29th, where he met with South African President Jacob Zuma for bilateral talks to discuss development, peace, and security. President Obama also delivered a speech at the University of Cape Town, infusing his message with the powerful refrain that Africa is indeed on the rise.
Watch President Obama’s Cape Town speech here:
Obama also visited members of the Nelson Mandela family to express his well wishes to the 94-year-old former President who was severely ill at the time. Afterward, the Obamas visited Robben Island, where Mandela was held for his anti-Apartheid activities.
5. Tanzania: July 1-2, 2013
President Barack Obama wrapped up his 2013 African tour with a visit to Tanzania, arriving in Dar es Salaam on Monday, July 1. President Obama met with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete for bilateral talks and then attended a roundtable meeting with American and African business leaders.
Watch Tanzanians receive the Obamas here:
First Lady Michelle Obama met with Tanzanian First Lady Salma Kikwete, visiting the memorial for victims of the 1998 embassy bombing. She then attended a performance of a local dance troupe before joining the President for a state dinner.
6. South Africa: December 10, 2013
President Obama would return to Africa for 13 hours in 2013, but this time it was for a sad occasion: South Africa’s first Black president, Nelson Mandela, death. Both Mr. and Mrs. Obama would attend the memorial service, with the President delivering a eulogy for the icon.
Watch President Obama’s Eulogy to Nelson Mandela here:
7. Kenya: July 24-26, 2015
While President Barack Obama made several visits to Kenya in the past, his is three-day state visit to Kenya in July was special, because it was the first visit he made as president; he was also the first sitting U.S. president to visit Kenya.
It was more than just another state visit, though; instead, it was a homecoming of sorts for the most powerful man in the world who traces his direct ancestry to Kenya. President Obama arrived at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, in Nairobi, to a warm reception from his half-sister Auma and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. Later in the day, Obama dined with other members of his paternal family at a restaurant in his hotel.
President Obama’s itinerary in Kenya included a summit on Global Entrepreneurship held at the United Nations Office in Nairobi. He also visited an innovation fair organized to promote his “Power Africa” initiative of promoting electric power and renewable energy in Sub-Saharan Africa and visit a memorial honoring the victims of the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings. Obama also held bilateral talks with President Kenyatta at the state house.
On Sunday, July 26th, President Obama delivered a speech addressing the Kenyan people at the Safaricom Indoor Arena. He later met with members of civil society at Kenyatta University and toured Nairobi National Park.
Watch President Obama’s speech here: