WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is making his first trip to his father’s native Kenya as president this summer, the White House announced Monday.
Obama will travel to Kenya in July for bilateral meetings and the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit, an annual conference that connects entrepreneurs with business leaders, international organizations and governments.
“His trip will build on the success of the August 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit and continue our efforts to work with countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya, to accelerate economic growth, strengthen democratic institutions, and improve security,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.
This will be the president’s fourth trip to Sub-Saharan Africa. His last trip was in December 2013 for the funeral of Nelson Mandela. He also traveled to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania during summer 2013 for a series of events on the United States’ commitment to African economic growth, democratic institutions and young leadership development.
Obama famously traced his family’s roots in his 1995 memoir, “Dreams From My Father.” His father, Barack Obama Sr., was born and raised in Kenya. He lived in the United States in the 1950s and 60s, and ultimately returned to his home country, where he died in a car accident in 1982.
Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz told reporters additional details about the trip are forthcoming, and he did not yet know whether the president would visit with members of his extended family.
Obama Sr.’s native country has also spurred controversy on the president’s birthplace and citizenship — a simple “Obama Kenya” google search turns up countless conspiracy theories, which the president himself poked fun at earlier this month at the Gridiron Club’s annual dinner.
“If I did not love America, I wouldn’t have moved here from Kenya,” Obama, who was born in Hawaii, joked.