The US president has arrived in Nairobi for this first visit since his election in 2008 to the country where his father was born.
At the start of his first presidential visit to Kenya, his father’s homeland, Barack Obama sat down to a private dinner with extended family members.
They included his half-sister Auma and step grandmother – “Mama Sarah”, or “Granny” as he calls the woman who helped raise his now deceased father.
The occasion added a personal touch at the start of a politically important trip.
— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) July 25, 2015
Earlier, President Obama landed in Nairobi late on Friday night on board Air Force One for a visit that is aimed at boosting trade and security cooperation.
A virtual lockdown had preceded the president’s arrival, with thousands of police and US agents on the streets.
Obama’s personal link to the African country, and the fact that he’s America’s first black president, have made the visit highly symbolic.
— US Embassy Nairobi (@USEmbassyKenya) July 24, 2015
Euronews asked Kenyans about their expectations.
“He’s the first African-American president (that) was foreseen by Martin Luther King, and the “dream” has come true,” said one man.
“We (are) really looking forward to some policy statements that you (Obama) are going to make, to the effect that the US government is going to support Kenya more in the fight against terrorism,” added another.
A third man hoped the visit will boost Kenya’s economy and relations with the US.
“Maybe he’ll sort out about visa(s) – if you want to visit America you can go there very easily, instead of the way now, things are very hard there,” he said.
President Obama with half-sister Auma Obama at start of his historic visit to #Kenya !
POTUS</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/WhiteHouse">WhiteHouse… pic.twitter.com/oEHKlJCR7M
— TRENDING KENYA (@TRENDINGKENYA) July 25, 2015
In Nairobi talks will focus on counter-terrorism and the battle against the Somali Islamist group al Shabaab.
The al Qaeda-linked group was behind an attack on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre in 2013, killing at least 67 people, as well as an attack in April at a university in Garissa near the Somali border that left 148 people dead.
Obama will also co-host a conference on boosting entrepreneurs in Africa, before travelling on to Ethiopia on Sunday.