In Kenya, his father’s birthplace, the former US president met with both President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Obama applauded efforts by Kenyatta and Odinga to work together, after a prolonged and disputed presidential election in 2017.
Obama also urged Kenyans to move past the ethnic tensions that have fueled violence during past election cycles and root out corruption that limits Kenya’s economic growth.
It means no longer seeing different ethnicities as enemies or rivals but rather as allies and seeing the diversity of tribes not as a weakness but strength, he said.
Obama noted the corruption scandals that have blighted Kenyatta’s administration, saying graft held back economic development and undermined public faith in the government.
It means making sure that economic growth reaches everyone, and not just a few at the top, that’s broadly shared across regions, he said.
On Monday, Obama inaugurated the Sauti Kuu Foundation, a sports and vocational training centre set up by his half-sister in the small western Kenyan town of Kogelo, his father’s birthplace.
The former president last visited the village in 2006 when he was a US senator.
Obama’s next stop is South Africa, where he’s scheduled to speak at an event honoring the late Nelson Mandela this Tuesday.