Politics

Senator Ed Markey to visit Africa with Obama

WASHINGTON — Senator Edward Markey will accompany President Obama on Air Force One for his weeklong trip to Africa beginning Thursday night, giving him a front-row seat on a history-making moment for America’s first African-American president.

Markey, the top Democrat on the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will travel to Kenya and Ethiopia with Obama, along with other members of Congress whose names the White House has not yet released.

“Though issues of democracy, governance, and human rights remain areas on which we will continue to engage our African partners, this trip is an important moment to highlight for the world the gains that Africa is making,” Markey said in a written statement.

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Markey is expected to champion human rights, including the rights of gays and lesbians, along with entrepreneurship and renewable energy during the six-day trip, said a spokeswoman. He will attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, a conference bringing together policy makers and business owners from around the world to focus on economic development.

Obama, whose father is Kenyan, is the first sitting president to visit either Kenya or Ethiopia. This will be his fourth visit to sub-Saharan Africa as president.

Tracy Jan can be reached at tracy.jan@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @TracyJan.