[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/09/art.obama0709.gi.jpg caption="President Obama will depart the G8 summit Friday for Ghana."](CNN) - A street vendor in Ghana's capital sells small American flags with an image of President Barack Obama on them, in front of a billboard that proclaims "Akwaaba" - or "Welcome" – next to a smiling image of the U.S. leader.
When Obama arrives in Accra on Friday night, he will be the third sitting American president to visit the West African nation of Ghana. But unlike Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Obama is only visiting Ghana and no other country in the continent.
He said he picked Ghana as the first African country he would visit as U.S. president partly because of the "democratic commitments" demonstrated by President John Atta Mills, who took office in January after a close election.
"By traveling to Ghana, we hope to highlight the effective governance that they have in place," Obama said Tuesday in an interview with AllAfrica.com.
During his 24-hour visit to Ghana, Obama will meet with the president and address parliament before he and First Lady Michelle Obama tour the Cape Coast Castle, which was used in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.