Obama Arrives In Ghana (VIDEO, SLIDESHOW)
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UPDATE: The Obamas arrived in Ghana on Friday evening, AP reports.
President Barack Obama has landed in Ghana on his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa.
He landed soon after 9 p.m. local time and met a group of dignitaries, led by President John Atta Mills. An ethnic African group danced and banged drums for Obama's arrival.
After traveling to Russia and then Italy for a meeting of major industrial powers, Obama is making the last stop of his overseas trip in Ghana, on Africa's west coast.
Obama will make a speech to lawmakers there and tour an oceanfront fort once used to ship slaves to the Americas.
Ghanaians are planning to welcome President Obama and his family who arrive in the West African country this evening. The Obamas will be coming from Italy, where the president attended the G-8 Summit and met with the Pope.
Obama will meet with the president and address parliament. He and Michelle will visit a former slavery outpost, Cape Coast Castle, on Saturday, according to GroundReport. "The Cape Coast Castle was the main point of departure for many slaves captured from the hinterlands and sold to slave merchants who transported them to America," it states.
Read the full GroundReport story here.
Obama will be the third sitting American president to visit Ghana, CNN reports.
Bill Clinton was the first U.S. president to visit Ghana, in 1998, as part of a six-nation Africa tour. Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, stopped there during a four-nation Africa tour during his last year of office that largely focused on U.S. aid programs.
As the United States' first African-American president, Obama's trip has broader significance as well. Obama's father is from Kenya and he expressed concern about the political situation in that East African nation.
The visit of the first black American president to a mostly black African nation has caused great excitement in Ghana, AP reports.
In Ghana, officials expect a tumultuous reception for Obama, whose father was from Kenya. Because the first family arrives rather late Friday night, the main ceremony in Accra will occur Saturday, before he departs for Washington after a weeklong trip that started in Russia.
It will involve drumming groups and Ghanians "putting their best foot forward in terms of the cultural richness of an incredibly diverse country," White House adviser Michelle Gavin told reporters Thursday. To help accommodate the many who cannot attend, U.S. and Ghanian officials have scheduled "watch parties," radio broadcasts and video coverage in theaters, parks and other places.
"I do not believe that there is a way in which we could ever fulfill or assuage the desires of those in Ghana or on the continent on one stop," said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.