Obama Africa tour ends with Tanzania bombing tribute

President Barack Obama was joined by his predecessor George W Bush for the ceremony

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President Barack Obama is on his way back to the US after visiting Tanzania, the last leg of his Africa tour, which also included Senegal and South Africa.

Earlier he laid a wreath for the victims of the 1998 US embassy bombing in the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam.

Eleven people were killed in the al-Qaeda attack, which coincided with a bombing in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, which left hundreds dead.

The president was joined for the ceremony by predecessor George W Bush.

Mr Bush was in Dar es Salaam for a conference on African women sponsored by the George W Bush Institute.

While he and Mr Obama attended the ceremony at the US embassy memorial, their wives took part in the African First Ladies Summit.

'Modernise customs'

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete walked Mr Obama and his wife down a red carpet to the Air Force One at the international airport in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday.

A guard of honour saluted and marching bands played as the couple boarded the plane.

Barack Obama (2 July 2013) During his Tanzanian visit, President Barack Obama demonstrated a football with internal electronics, designed by Harvard students to generate electricity

The US president had arrived in Tanzania on Monday.

During his stay, he also visited a US-owned power plant, following his announcement over the weekend of a multi-billion-dollar electricity initiative.

Analysis

In a rare joint appearance, President Barack Obama and his predecessor, George W Bush, bowed their heads as a marine laid a wreath at a memorial for the 11 victims who lost their lives in the bombing of the US embassy in Dar es Salaam in 1998. The brief ceremony was a reminder of the challenge still faced by the US and its allies, 15 years later, from Islamist militants in East Africa.

In Somalia, al-Shabab, a group with links to al-Qaeda, continues to battle the US-funded Somali government and African Union forces.

But the focus of Mr Obama's six-day tour of Africa was not on security, nor on the past.

In 2009, during Mr Obama's first term in the White House, China overtook the US as the world's biggest investor in Africa. So now, as he made his first extended visit to the continent, President Obama's message was in essence: "Let's do business."

The $7bn (£4.6bn) five-year initiative is intended to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, in partnership with African countries and the private sector.

"We're starting with countries that are making progress already with reforms in the energy sector - Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Mozambique and Liberia," he told a business leaders forum in Dar es Salaam.

"And with a focus on cleaner energy, we will initially add 10,000 megawatts of new electricity generation, which expands electricity to 20 million homes and businesses."

At the same forum on Monday evening, Mr Obama launched a programme helping Africa's eastern nations of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda trade both with each other and with the US.

"We'll work with the countries involved to modernise customs, move to single more efficient border crossings, reduce bottlenecks, reduce the roadblocks that stymie the flow of goods to market," he said.

Mr Obama's second tour to sub-Saharan Africa since becoming president began in Senegal where he called on African governments to give gay people equal rights by decriminalising homosexual acts.

The US president excluded from his week-long itinerary Kenya, where his father was born, and Nigeria, Africa's biggest oil producer which has been hit by an Islamist insurgency.

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