Kenya

Obama urges Kenya to use tough past to guide its future

Closing out a historic visit to the land of his father's birth, Obama said Kenya has come so far in just his lifetime, but can go even further.

"You can choose the path to progress, but it requires making some important choices," he said in a speech to several thousand Kenyans packed into an indoor arena here in Kenya's capital, a normally bustling place that largely has been on lockdown during Obama's stay.

The Latest: Obama says US, Kenya working for direct flights

Obama says eliminating multiple legs of travel to get from one place to the other would be a boon for business and tourism.

Kenya's $1 billion tourism industry has suffered in the wake of mass assaults carried out in recent years by the al-Shabab extremist group, which is based across the border in Somalia.

Obama in Kenya: 'Africa is on the move'

"Africa is one of the fastest growing regions of the world," Obama said. "People are being lifted out of poverty."

Obama's visit to Kenya — the first by a sitting U.S. president — has been highly anticipated in a nation that views him as a local son. The president's late father was born in Kenya and many family members still live here, including his elderly step-grandmother.

"This is personal for me," Obama said. "There's a reason why my name is Barack Hussein Obama."

Obama returns to Kenya, reunites with father's family

The president spent the evening reuniting with his Kenyan family, including his elderly step-grandmother who made the trip to the capital of Nairobi from her rural village. U.S. and Kenyan flags lined the main road from Nairobi's airport, and billboards heralding Obama's trip dotted the city.

"I don't think that Kenyans think of Obama as African-American. They think of him as Kenyan-American," said EJ Hogendoorn, deputy program director for Africa at the International Crisis Group.

VIDEO: Airport security ahead of Obama's visit

Both Kenyan and American security personnel were in the process of securing the airport in the afternoon.

Local media have set up their live trucks in anticipation of Obama's arrival.

Kenyan security on high alert ahead of Obama visit

Ahead of Obama's arrival Friday evening, large numbers of security forces patrolled in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. Several U.S. military aircraft were spotted flying around the city. There have also been significant military attacks on Islamic militant targets in Somalia in recent weeks.