WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is making a long-anticipated return to Africa, with the health of former South African leader Nelson Mandela hanging over the visit.
The first family departed today for a weeklong trip to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania to promote democracy and economic opportunities. Obama has only visited sub-Saharan Africa once before as president, a brief stop in Ghana in 2009.
White House advisers say they will defer to Mandela’s family on whether he’s up for a visit from Obama.
Missing from the itinerary is Kenya, the home of Obama’s late father, where many of his relatives reside. Kenya’s new president is facing war crimes charges, making it an awkward time for a visit.