Barack Obama’s visit to Senegal, South Africa and to Tanzania was the President’s second visit to the continent of Africa during his five-year tenure till date. The first visit being in the first year of his presidency, in 2009, when he visited Ghana to enhance better relationships and trade ties between the two democracies.
Although being the first black president of the United States of America, and having his roots from Kenya, the fact that he has not yet visited Kenya, the place of origination of his forefathers, since he got on the presidential seat, puts at question the promises made by the president to make a visit to his ancestral homeland during his first tenure. However, the President of the United States simply put down the numerous questions arising in the nation of Kenya, by stating that maybe this was not the time to visit Kenya, backing this statement by stating the current political problems in the country, as the East African nation struggles to resolve its issues with the international community. Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta and the Vice President, William Rotu, are both facing charges of stimulating ethnic violence in 2007.
Nevertheless, speaking about the first Tanzanian visit of the President Obama since his presidency, the visit itself is seen as one major event to bring Tanzania to light, which otherwise has maintained its status as a politically neutral country, struggling to better its economic status under the presidency of Jakaya Kikwete. Tanzania, throughout its history of 52 years, has only made slight appearances in the international media. However, this visit of President Obama has brought to light the numerous unexplored resources of the country, inviting US investors to consider making business in this part of the world as well.
Prior to the two-day visit to Tanzania, which was solely based on the purpose of enhancing trade relations, a lot of online forums and news reports spoke of how the US president’s first visit to Tanzania might, as a result, further strain the US-China relationships; since China became one of the major investors in Tanzania in 2009. The rich oil and gas resources, along with precious stones like Tanzanites that are only found in this part of the world, Tanzania is a country with rich natural resources. Having all these resources in abundance at one place, there isn’t any doubt why both of these superpowers of the world are seeking opportunities to invest in Tanzania.
During his brief two-day visit, the American President paid a visit to a US-owned power plant, and announced his investment of $7 billion to help generate better electricity in the continent of Africa. Moreover, the President also encouraged developing nations of Africa like Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria and Libya to enhance trade ties within themselves as well as with the United States of America. He further stated that the United States of America would like to help these countries make business within themselves, by financing them to make better roads and reduce the hassle of transporting goods between the countries.
Moreover, President Obama, along with his predecessor, George Washington Bush, placed a wreath in memory of the eleven victims of the 1998 US embassy terror attack in Dar es Salaam.
Prior to the two-day visit of Barack Obama, the small city of Dar es Salaam had been preparing to build better roads since more than a month. When finally, the big day for Tanzania arrived, the city came to life, displaying posters of the US president and his diplomats, welcoming him to Tanzania for the first time. The US and Tanzanian flags were seen fluttering across the city of Dar es Salaam, which only spoke of building better relations between the two nations. While living in this beautiful country for a few months now, I hope that this visit of Obama to a developing country like Tanzania only helps to stabilize the country politically and economically.