The first extended trip by US President Barack Obama to sub-Saharan Africa later in June is expected to cost American taxpayers between $60 million to $100 million, a report says.
The exorbitant travel expenses are due to the immense logistical challenge including elaborate security provisions, making it one of the most expensive trips during Obama’s tenure, according to a classified document obtained by the Washington Post and revealed on Friday.
Obama is expected to travel with his family, making stops in Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania, from June 26 to July 3. US officials will be providing nearly all the resources instead of relying on foreign assistance.
The colossal preparations are similar with those of previous executive travels, including the deployment of hundreds of Secret Service agents, a medically-staffed aircraft carrier or amphibious ship on full standby, the use of numerous cargo planes transporting 56 support vehicles and supplies, as well as fighter jets on 24-hour watch, among other expenses, the Post said.
The trip may also include a safari excursion, which would require a special counterassault team outfitted with snipers who would eliminate any wayfaring wildlife such as cheetahs, lions or other potentially dangerous animal that dare wander too close to the visiting family.
Obama is expected to hold meetings with leaders from each respective country.
The trip will take place at a time of China’s growing influence in Africa and severe economic distress in the United States with across-the-board spending cuts.
After the budget sequestration took effect on March 1, some $85 billion in automatic budget cuts to federal spending caused major problems for the public and private sectors in the United States.
Meanwhile, the manufacturing growth contracted to its lowest reading in four years in May, as the US economy shrank by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 – casting doubt on the strength of economic recovery in the country.