UNITED STATES President Barack Obama “will travel” to Africa, US Secretary of State John Kerry declared Wednesday in remarks to a US congressional committee.
He offered no details regarding the timing and itinerary of the trip.
As concern grows in Washington about China’s role in sub-Saharan Africa, pressure has been mounting for President Obama to pay more direct attention to the continent.
The first African-American President spent less than one day in Black Africa during his first visit in office four years ago. President Obama had made a stopover in Ghana six months after his inauguration in January 2009.
Some Africa specialists in the United States suggest that Mr Obama is unlikely to visit Kenya as long as President Uhuru Kenyatta remains under indictment by the International Criminal Court.
US-based Kenya scholar Joel Barkan told the Kenya’s DailyNation newspaper last month that the chances of Mr Obama travelling to Kenya in the coming year are “relatively remote.”
Ms Jendayi Frazer, who held the State Department’s top Africa post under President George W. Bush, agreed in March that an Obama trip to Kenya was unlikely to occur soon.
Secretary Kerry meanwhile announced on Thursday that he will attend the African Union summit in Ethiopia next month.
“We have a lot to do” in regard to US-Africa relations, Mr Kerry added in his comments to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“China is now significantly out-investing the United States in Africa,” he told the senators.
China’s growing presence is having an impact on business practices “”that has not been a positive one in some regards,” Mr Kerry added.
He made reference to “bribery” and “support for the wrong people,” but did not offer specifics.