[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/13/art.2hclinton.gi.jpg
caption="Clinton's trip is designed to show U.S. commitment to Africa."]
MONROVIA, Liberia (CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived Thursday in a dark and rainy Liberia, where she planned to hold a bilateral meeting with the country's pro-American president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Liberians have a historic fondness for Americans and view Clinton's visit as a show of support and affirmation of the special relationship between Liberia and the United States, said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to Liberia.
"Women in Liberia are pleased to welcome the secretary for her meeting with the first woman elected head of state in Africa, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf," Thomas-Greenfield wrote in a State Department blog. "After the ravages of the conflict here, which affected women and children very heavily, Liberians are proud of their progress in women's empowerment and inclusion in government. Secretary Clinton has emphasized the link between women's empowerment and social and economic progress throughout her seven-nation trip."
Clinton's trip is designed to show U.S. commitment to Africa. Wednesday, Clinton visited Nigeria and met the country's president and senior politicians.
In a town hall meeting in the capital, Abuja, Clinton talked about the importance of democracy and warned the country that it could be a target for al Qaeda.
Nigeria has been wracked by violence between Christians and Muslims, and hundreds have died in riots over the past several years.
"Al Qaeda has a presence in Northern Africa," Clinton said. "There is no doubt in our mind that al Qaeda and like organizations that are part of the syndicate of terror would seek a foothold anywhere they could find one, and whether that is the case here or whether this is a homegrown example of fundamentalist extremism - that's up to the Nigerians to determine."
Clinton opened her 11-day Africa trip in Nairobi, Kenya, then went to South Africa, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo before going to Nigeria. After Liberia, she plans to visit Cape Verde.
The Obama administration is also using Clinton's tour to promote development and good governance, the State Department has said.