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Monday, June 24, 2013

Vice President Biden, Dr. Jill Biden to Travel to India and Singapore

 
Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden will travel to India and Singapore in late July 2013.  In India, the Vice President will meet with key leaders to discuss the full range of bilateral, regional and global issues, with a focus on advancing the prosperity, security, and shared values of our two countries. 
 
The Vice President and Dr. Biden look forward to opportunities to engage with India’s people, including leaders in business and civil society.  In Singapore, the Vice President will consult with leaders on a range of shared priorities, including implementing the Asia-Pacific rebalance, and highlight America’s continued engagement with a key partner in Southeast Asia.
 
The First Family will begin their travel to South Africa, visiting Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania later this week.
 
Per the White House, this is the President’s second trip to sub-Saharan Africa.  He previously went to Ghana in his first term. 
 
This trip will focus on the "growing economic opportunities there for increased trade and investment and increased engagement by U.S. businesses."
 
Agenda focus, per the White House, as provided in a press briefing by: 
 
DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR BEN RHODES,
SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR AFRICAN AFFAIRS GRANT HARRIS,
AND SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR DEVELOPMENT AND DEMOCRACY GAYLE SMITH
 

Trade and investment and the economic opportunities on the continent are going to be an important part of the agenda; also democracy and democratic institution-building.  Each of the countries that we’re visiting are strong democracies, and the President has made it a priority to support the consolidation of democratic institutions in Africa so that Africans are focused not just on democratic elections, but institutions like parliaments, independent judiciaries, and strengthening of the rule of law -- both as necessary elements of a democratic government, but also as necessary elements of development. 
 
The president plans to also focus on young people during his visit.  Africa has an extraordinarily large youth population, and it’s important for the United States to signal our commitment to investing in the future of African youth.  And this, too, is a part of unleashing development on the continent because if you have young people who are able to access opportunity and able to shape the direction of their countries, that’s going to be in the interest of Africa and the United States as well.
 
Additionally, the President will speak to the key pillars of  the adminstration's development agenda, which has focused on economic growth and also on issues such as food security and global health.   
 
While on the continent, First Lady Michelle Obama will visit Dakar, on June 27th, where she will have a tea with the First Lady of Senegal.  Then the First Lady will travel with Mrs. Sall to the Martin Luther King Middle School, which is an all-girls school in Senegal, where she’ll have a chance to see that school and speak to the girls. 
 
The President will host a town hall at the University of Johannesburg while in Soweto.  This is going to be a continuation of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative. The President launched this initiative when he hosted African leaders from across the continent at his town hall meeting at the White House, with the idea being that we need to reach the next generation of African leaders in civil society, in entrepreneurship, in journalism. 
 
The First Family also plan to meet with ailing former South African president, Nelson Mandela, who is listed as being in critical condition with a prevailing lung infection.

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