U.S. President Barack Obama has landed in Nairobi, Kenya for the Sixth Annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2015 and bilateral talks with his host President Uhuru Kenyatta.The President’s Air Force One touched down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport two minutes past eight, under tight security from both local and U.S. security services.
Upon arrival, President Obama was received by his host President Kenyatta and the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec among other dignitaries.
President Obama, who traces his ancestral roots to Kogelo village in Siaya County, becomes the first ever sitting U.S. President to visit Kenya which is perceived as an economic hub for the East African region.
The visit ends years of speculation over whether Obama would visit Kenya before his term as President ends in 2016.
Obama has travelled to Africa more than any other sitting U.S. President, having visited Ghana in 2009, and follow up visits to Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania for meetings with leaders from government, business, and civil society from June 27th to July 2nd, 2013.
Obama was in South Africa again in December the same year for the memorial service of the country’s first President Nelson Mandela.
The President, born of a Kenyan father (Barack Obama Sr.) and a Hawaiian mother (Ann Dunham), will be in the country from Friday night to Sunday evening where he will depart for Ethiopia.
While in Kenya, President Obama will co-host the GES2015 summit with President Kenyatta before holding bilateral talks at State House in Nairobi on Saturday.
On Sunday, Obama will then hold a public address at the Safaricom Indoor Arena at the Kasarani International Stadium before making a stop at the Kenyatta University.
He will head to Ethiopia on Sunday evening where he is set to address trade and regional security issues and visit Africa Union headquarters in Addis Ababa.
The last time Obama was in Kenya was in 2006 when he was Senator of Illinois, a visit that saw him travel to his home village, Kogelo. US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec has however confirmed that Obama will not visit his home village this time round due to “tight schedule”.
Uncertainty over Obama’s visit was orchestrated by the infamous “choices have consequences” maxim with former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer.
The interpretation of Frazer’s statement was that the United States cannot interact with Kenya because the country’s President Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto were facing allegations of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands.
President Kenyatta’s case has since been thrown out while Ruto and Radio personality Joshua Sang’s cases re still on.