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Obama to close historic Kenya visit with national address

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    President Barack Obama, third from left, stands before the playing of the National Anthem during a state dinner at State House on Saturday in Nairobi, Kenya.
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NAIROBI, Kenya » President Barack Obama is closing an historic visit to the land that considers him a local son with an address to the people of Kenya.

Obama also planned to speak with Kenyan youth and meet with civic leaders before he arrives late Sunday in Ethiopia, the second and final stop on his latest trip to the continent. The president’s late father was born and is buried in Kenya, and its people have waited for years for the chance to welcome Obama back as president.

He made history by becoming the first sitting American president to visit Kenya when he arrived late Friday.

Obama’s address to an audience of thousands packed into an indoor arena is expected to focus more on his vision for Kenya’s future and the broad themes of U.S.-Kenya relations than on his personal reflections about his first trip to his ancestral home since a visit in 2006 when he was a U.S. senator.

Kenya has one of the fastest-growing economies on the continent and is the commercial hub of East Africa, but is also struggling to overcome challenges to its prosperity that are posed by widespread corruption and the threat of al-Shabab militants based in neighboring Somalia.

Obama will also highlight efforts to support African youth by dropping by a regional center for his Young African Leaders Initiative, a program to help cultivate the next generation of African leaders. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Saturday at a news conference with Obama that Obama will remembered in Africa for focusing on the continent’s young people.

Nearly 1 in 3 Africans are ages 10-24, and about 60 percent of Africa’s total population is younger than 35, according to the U.S. government.

In Ethiopia, another Horn of Africa nation that will be getting its first visit by a sitting U.S. president, Obama planned meetings with the president and prime minister.

Obama will also speak to the continent from the headquarters of the African Union, which plays a role in peace and security on the continent.

It will be the first time an American president addresses the AU.

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