Visiting Kenya as private citizen more meaningful: Obama

Visiting Kenya, the land of his father, as a private citizen is more meaningful as this would give him an opportunity to move around freely without security, US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday ahead of his trip to the African country.

PTI| Last Updated: Jul 16, 2015, 07:59 AM IST

Washington: Visiting Kenya, the land of his father, as a private citizen is more meaningful as this would give him an opportunity to move around freely without security, US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday ahead of his trip to the African country.

"With respect to the visit to Kenya, it's obviously something I am looking forward to. I will be honest with you, visiting Kenya as a private citizen is probably more meaningful to me than visiting as president, because I can actually get outside of the hotel room or a conference centre," Obama said at a news conference.

Just the logistics of visiting a place are always tough as president, he said.

"It's obviously symbolically important, and my hope is, is that we can deliver a message that the US is a strong partner, not just for Kenya, but for sub-Saharan Africa, generally.

"Build on the progress that's been made around issues of health and education, focus on counter-terrorism issues that are important in East Africa because of Al-Shabaab and some of the tragedies that have happened inside of Kenya, and continue to encourage democracy and the reduction of corruption inside that country that sometimes has held back this incredibly gifted and blessed country," Obama said.