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Melania Trump opened her first big solo worldwide trip as US first lady on Tuesday with a wave, a smile and a baby in her arms, aiming to promote child welfare during a five-day tour of Africa.

Ghana's first lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, welcomed her American counterpart.

Mrs Trump, 48, began her trip touring an open air baby clinic in Accra where she handed out blankets and teddy bears before holding a six-month old baby who had arrived for a check up.

There's an overall sense of skepticism that exists around her trip and her motivations-and rightfully so.

She is expected to emphasize the health and education of children as part of her "Be Best" platform that she launched in May.

A spokeswoman for Mrs. Trump said the first ladies exchanged gifts: a White House tray in a signed leather case for Akufo-Addo and Kente cloth and traditional artifacts for Mrs. Trump.

Mrs Trump announced her visit at a reception for spouses of world leaders, held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, in NY recently. She'll also visit Malawi, Kenya and Egypt.

She is the first naturalized and second foreign-born United States citizen to become the First Lady, after Louisa Adams, wife of the sixth president, John Quincy Adams. Several Ghanaians interviewed said they knew little about it. "I don't think I have ever heard her name, Melania". Akufo-Addo was at the airport to welcome her.