Obama praises Senegal democracy


US President Barack Obama lavished praise on Senegal as a paragon of democracy on Thursday and said it was leading a drive to good governance in Africa.

"Senegal is one of the most stable democracies in Africa and one of the strongest partners that we have in the region," Obama said at a media conference with Senegal President Macky Sall in Dakar.

"It is moving in the right direction, with reforms to deepen democratic institutions. I believe Senegal can be a great example," Obama told reporters at the presidential palace.

Obama noted that Senegal had never suffered a military coup, and there had been free and fair elections and repeated peaceful transfers of power.

He also hailed the "amazing" progress that Africa as a whole was making in democratic governance and empowering its people, also specifically singling out Ghana and Ivory Coast, at the start of a week-long continental tour.