NAIROBI, Kenya, June 25 (UPI) -- Nairobi, Kenya, is preparing for the visit in July of President Barack Obama with a $2 million beautification project.
Trash has been collected from the city's major streets, replaced with hastily-planted flowers. The country hopes Obama's visit will stir its tourism industry, which has fallen 25 percent in the first half of 2015 in part due to negative publicity arising from terrorist attacks, notably the April attack on Garissa University college, which killed at least 147 people. The attack has shaken an important element of Kenya's economy.
While it is unclear if Obama will visit the village of Kogelo, where his father was born in 1936 and where relatives still reside, the impoverished community has received electricity and the paving of its only road, and has embarked on a clean-up campaign of its own.
The trip to Kenya is Obama's first since becoming president, and likely his last visit to Africa as a world leader. He will speak at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, and will meet with with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who was charged with crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for 2007 post-election ethnic violence until the ICC withdrew the charges because of a lack of evidence.
Obama will then visit neighboring Ethiopia, where the ruling party recently won re-election with 100 percent of the vote.
"Conferring the honor of President Obama's office on such thoroughly questionable leaders would do little to strengthen our own role as a promoter of good governance and the rule of law," wrote Robert Rotberg of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, suggesting the visit should be postponed until after Obama leaves office.