Michelle Obama in Africa to Address Youth

Posted June 20th, 2011 at 3:50 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. first lady Michelle Obama is in Africa for a week-long trip focused on youth empowerment.

Mrs. Obama and her daughters Malia and Sasha arrived in Pretoria, South Africa Monday night.

The first lady said she will encourage young Africans to become leaders in solving the continent's problems, such as poverty, disease, and climate change. She also said she will highlight the importance of health and education.

Mrs. Obama plans to meet with South African President Jacob Zuma and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

She will visit the Mandela Foundation and the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg and meet with groups fighting AIDS. Mrs. Obama will speak to young women at a U.S.-sponsored forum focusing on social and economic initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa.

She will close her trip with a two-day visit to Botswana.

International analysts say the visit comes as the United States seeks to strengthen and improve ties with Africa, especially with South Africa.

South Africa, the continent's wealthiest nation, has been at odds with the United States over NATO's intervention in the Libyan conflict.