Barack Obama serenaded with surprise 'Happy Birthday' at Young African Leaders Summit

President No 44 turns 54 today

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The president of the United States was there to give a substantial address to young African leaders following his recent trip to the continent - but the audience could not help making proceedings get off to a more light-hearted start.

As Barack Obama took to the stage at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC on the eve of his 54th birthday, the US President was serenaded by the enthusiastic audience with a round of "Happy Birthday." The president smiled as the audience sang, with Mr Obama calling on the gathering to sit down after they'd finished and chiming, "This is a good crowd here!"

The Young African Leaders Summit assembles individuals identified as Sub-Saharan Africa's "most promising young leaders," with 500 people invited by the US State Department to the three-event in the US capital.

Watch Obama's birthday serenade below:

Obama was speaking after his recent trip to the African continent that saw him openly clash with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta over the issue of gay rights. Obama, who was the first sitting US President to come out in support of same-sex marriage and who has over seen the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the legalisation of gay marriage during his presidency, criticised the African leader for his record on LGBT rights.

Mr Kenyatta responded: "I repeatedly say that for Kenyans today the issue of gay rights is really a of now the fact remains that this issue is not really an issue that is at the foremost minds of Kenyans and that is a fact."

Mr Obama told the audience of young African leaders that anti-gay discrimination was exactly the same as racial discrimination. When responding to a Kenyan woman stating that albino individuals were being killed in her country for ritual purposes, Mr Obama said that violence against people because of skin tone was "foolish" and had to be stopped.

He then said that "the same, by the way, is true for sexual orientation. the truth of the matter is, is that if you’re treating people differently just because of who they love and who they are, then there’s a connection between that mindset and the mindset that led to racism, and the mindset that leads to ethnic conflict. It means that you’re not able to see somebody else as a human being."