First lady Melania Trump is heading for Africa on her first solo international trip to the continent, aiming to make child well-being the focus of a five-day, four-country tour that will take her to every corner of the vast and impoverished continent.
Mrs Trump who departed on Monday, opens her first-ever visit to Africa on Tuesday in Ghana in the West, followed by stops in Malawi in the South, Kenya in the East and Egypt in the Northeast.
Days before the first lady was to board a U.S. government airplane for the flight across the Atlantic, Trump declared at the United Nations that he and his wife “love Africa.”
Mrs. Trump’s five days on the continent will feature a mix of visits to hospitals, schools and shelters as she focuses on the well-being of children. Child welfare is a top issue for Mrs. Trump, who is the mother of a 12-year-old son. She focuses on the issue in the United States through an initiative she launched this year named “Be Best.” This week’s trip will mark her first extended period promoting the program and its goals abroad, separate from an event she held during a stop in London with the president in July.
Immediate predecessors Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama all made multiple trips abroad without their spouses during their administration’s two terms. Former first ladies’ Clinton, Bush and Obama also made repeat solo trips to Africa.
Melania is a former fashion model born in Slovenia and now a naturalized U.S. citizen. The 48-year-old Mrs. Trump has travelled extensively with the president, including to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy, Brussels, France, Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom. She was in Finland for the president’s July summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin but did not go to Singapore for Trump’s June meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.