Michelle Obama's coming to visit

United States first lady Michelle Obama will visit South Africa and Botswana later in June on an official visit, accompanied by her daughters Malia and Sasha, the White House said on Friday.

The major trip between June 21 and June 26 will focus on “youth leadership, education, health and wellness” and will underscore US President Barack Obama’s support for democracy and development in Africa, the White House said.

“This visit to two critical countries will underscore that the United States has an important stake in the success of Africa’s many nations and underscore the historic connections between the American people and those who live on the African continent,” a White House statement said.

“South Africa is a vital global partner for the United States, as [a] political leader and economic engine on the continent, and a historic example of democratic transition in Africa and around the world.

“Botswana’s enduring democracy, bolstered by its commitment to using its vast natural resources to invest in its people and grow its economy, models the potential for good governance, and strong institutions to advance prosperous and stable societies.”

Obama, who will also take her mother Marion Robinson on the trip, will visit Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa and Gaborone in Botswana.

Though a detailed run-down of her trip was not available, the White House said that the first lady would deliver the keynote address to a US-sponsored Young African Women Leaders Forum in South Africa.

Malia (12) and Sasha (9) occasionally accompany their parents on official visits abroad, though the White House takes pains to keep them out of the political spotlight.

Although he is the son of a Kenyan and has referenced his African heritage as he carries out his foreign policy, the president has so far only visited sub-Saharan Africa once since taking office: in Ghana in 2009.

“Africa’s future will be shaped by its growing and dynamic youth population,: the White House said, setting the thematic framework for Michelle Obama’s trip.

“Building stronger and more enduring relationships with Africa’s emerging young leaders, tapping into the strength and potential of African women, and investing in the health and wellbeing of its children upholds core American values and advances American interests.”—AFP

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