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Last Updated: Friday, 22 February 2008, 16:57 GMT
Bush in Africa: Your views
US President George W. Bush (C) and Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete review the troops during an arrival ceremony at Julius Nyerer International Airport in Dar se Salaam

President George W Bush has visited Africa for the second time as president. His tour included state visits to Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana and Liberia.

During the trip President Bush pledged more money to fight HIV/Aids, malaria and other diseases.

He also promised further American investment to boost African economies.

But critics say his visit to West Africa in particular was more concerned with securing US oil interests than helping the continent.

Here are the views of people living in the five countries on his itinerary.

EDITH YEHOUESSI, COTONOU, BENIN

Edith Yehouessi
Name: Edith Yehouessi
Town: Cotonou
Age: 42
Job: Communications worker

The long awaited visit of President Bush took place last Saturday and the atmosphere was frantic.

People were very impressed by the security arrangements - the well dressed bodyguards, the F16 planes and Air Force One in the sky - we are not used to seeing such sights in Benin.

I think the American president's visit gave hope to people.

His vow to help us fight against malaria was really a relief for us. We are keen to know what measures will be taken to combat this disease.

He also promised that the US would help us transform our cotton industry to sell it better.

This is wonderful news because our cotton was never bought at the right price on the world market, and the US was paying high subsidies to its cotton growers.

Now I feel reassured that relations between our countries will be positive and that it will accelerate our development.

I have great faith that our democracy will keep gaining the support of other countries.

President Boni Yayi is a perceptive man and he knows how to make America stick to its promises.

But to maintain our side of the bargain we will have to work too.

ROBERT MNG'ANYA, DAR-ES-SALAAM, TANZANIA

Robert Mng'anya
Name: Robert Mng'anya
Town: Dar-es-Salaam
Age: 31
Job: Banking specialist

When President Bush came to Tanzania he signed an agreement to give our country $700m towards energy, roads, infrastructure and water.

This money is very important to us because for example our roads need to be improved.

By the time fresh food arrives from some parts of the country, it has taken so long to get here that it has gone rotten.

Everyone was very excited in our office in Dar es Salaam because we could see President Bush in the distance. We were trying to open our windows to get a better view.

It was the talk of the town. I was very excited and proud to see him.

The only problem was that the centre of town was closed off so there were a lot of traffic jams.

MAP

But what was good with this occasion compared to other state visits, was that there was not too much noise coming from sirens - which we usually have to put up with when African leaders come here.

His visit made a good impact in Tanzania. What touched me was that he also visited Arusha and he was wearing casual clothes.

His route was lined with posters of Mount Kilimanjaro so our country's tourism was promoted.

It moved me when President Bush said he was proud to call our president, Jakaya Kikwete, a friend.

I think he was impressed by the tough measures President Kikwete has taken to root out alleged corruption, such as the recent scandal concerning the former prime minister.

INNOCENT TUMWINE, KIGALI, RWANDA

Name: Innocent Tumwine
Town: Kigali
Age: 26
Job: Civil servant

When President Bush visited the genocide memorial site in Kigali, some people complained because there was a big traffic jam.

All the vehicles had to give way to allow his convoy to get past.

But I was very pleased that Mr Bush visited the memorial site. It means a lot to our country that he recognised what happened in 1994 and paid tribute to the victims.

Before he arrived I was hoping that President Bush would apologise on behalf of the international community for not intervening to stop the genocide.

It was a bit disappointing that he did not give us a full apology but in a way, what he said was a kind of apology.

Politically the visit was very important to us, especially in terms of security.

He pledged $14m to fund Rwandan forces who are part of the international mission in Darfur in Sudan.

However I was hoping that he would offer money towards health and education which we badly need, rather than just military assistance.

MCKYNTOSH AIDOO, ACCRA, GHANA

Mckyntosh Aidoo
Name: Mckyntosh Aidoo
Town: Accra
Age: 22
Job: Journalism student

When President Bush said that reports about him wanting to build an African command centre in Africa were 'baloney' I thought that was a very insulting thing to say.

When he said he was not just here to exploit oil, I did not believe him.

There were some good things about his visit though.

He has offered $17m to fight malaria which is much appreciated. We can definitely use this money. But when you think about the total budget of the United States, $17m is not very much.

I think his visit to Ghana itself would have cost us a lot of money.

For example when President Bush arrived, the streets of Accra were completely closed for four hours. So we lost a lot of business in that time.

The president and his entourage also slept in expensive hotels. If the US paid for it, then that is ok, otherwise it is a lot for Ghana to pay.

It is like when we held our 50th anniversary of independence - we spent about $50m on that and could have spent it on better projects.

One good thing was that President Bush managed to get President Kufuor and former President Jerry Rawlings to shake hands when they attended the state banquet.

It is the first time in years that these two have got together so I applaud George Bush for that.

ORFINA HENRIES, MONROVIA, LIBERIA

President Bush and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete review the troops at Julius Nyrere Airport in Dar se Salaam
Name: Orfina Henries
Town: Monrovia
Age: 35
Job: Day care centre administrator

Like many people here I was glad that President Bush finally came to Liberia.

It proves to the world that our country is stable and I hope it will open the doors to investors.

I was impressed that George Bush said he would stand by Liberia in rebuilding the country.

So I'm very grateful that he came here.

I hope that future US presidents will also place Liberia on a priority list so that our relationship with America is not just one on paper but a substantial one.

It is good to get financial assistance from the US but I hope it reaches the grass roots level to those who really need it most.

I believe he enjoyed the welcome that we gave him in Liberia.

I was personally impressed by George Bush. Before he came I did not have a good impression of him.

I always thought he was a tough guy who always got his own way.

But when I saw him speaking on television here, I felt that he was sincere and had the interests of others at heart. So I now seem him in a good light.

It shows you that there is a difference between what you think of someone from afar and how you feel about them when you are close up to them.


Your comments

George W. Bush's African visit is another high sounding nothing! Save for being the President of the highly developed USA, the man has not been known to be a harbinger of good things. His visit to Africa would mean much if he was the right type of human being. He has been to my country, Uganda, before but never did I feel that he meant much good!
Turyaheebwa Satu Johnmary, Juba, South Sudan

I think president Bush's visit to east Africa will inspire the people of this region and make them feel appreciated by the United States. I think he may also want to know about the disputed elections in Kenya and how it has affected the economy of east Africa. In west Africa, I think he will also be very concerned about the economy of these countries as a whole.
Erastus Anyasi, Nairobi, Kenya

If it is a pleasure trip, it is just fine. He can find many more friendly donkeys and elephants there than in the USA. Any thing beneficial to come out for Africans from this trip by a lame duck president? I doubt it very much. It’s too late for that.
Shahid Shahid, Chicago, USA

As for my country, Tanzania, the trip will promote poverty reduction, tourism, strong trade relations with rich countries, democracy, good corporate governance and direct foreign investments. But what is required for Tanzanians, is to prepare themselves for this opportunity.
Rodney Andrew, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

I am very sceptical about this man's visit to Ghana and sub-Saharan Africa. All he has ever thought about since he came into office really has been war, arms, defence and war - basically anything that will bring peoples lives to an end. With only ten months left in his reign as President, I hope African leaders realise that his trip here is not a holiday, but an excuse to offer Africans more loans which will leave us heavily indebted to America, and to sell us more arms to fight and kill each other. Africans should realise that Western leaders coming to Africa come to steal something for their countries in the pretence of helping us out of poverty and developing our country. Neo colonialism is real! Open your eyes to the ploys of the west.
Bernard, Accra, Ghana

America comes to Africa to safeguard its interest. It is the same talk - poverty,terrorism and development. Yet for all the years of President Bush's leadership, Africa has gained less than just the aid which comes with strings attached. The Chinese, unlike America, have been very pragmatic in dealing with issues central to Africa's development. They have engaged Africa in trade and constructive aid, research and Education. The Bush visit will make little if any difference to Africa. East Africa should reassess its relationship with 'development partners'. Kenya is in great turmoil and the Bush visit does not include any plan for it. Africans should handle their problems alone.
Kipsang, Nairobi, Kenya.

President Bush, we Ghanaians welcome you (Akwaaba!) to Ghana. This is a good sign of economic growth.
Felix Tweneboah, Kumasi/Ghana

President George Bush has a hidden agenda for this visit. If he wants to help Africa, let him go to Chad and Kenya to solve their problems. But President George Bush comes instead to Benin, a country which has no political problem! You will see how their political problem will start there. If I was in that country, I would not allow Bush to visit us.
Lauren Soro, Abidjan, Ivory Coast

We welcome Bush to Africa, but he should not tell us that we should not have sex anymore. Why does he want the population of Africa to decrease? His aim is to give Africa a Marshall plan in order to make Africa developed, as the US did for Europe. Exploitation must stop. Africans should be entering the US without visas. We want equal treatment like Europeans in Africa. World injustice must stop. Eradication of poverty in Africa. Welcome Bush, the warrior.
Adigun Olosun, Ostbevern, Germany

President Bush’s visit to Africa will have a major effect on my country. Already we have witnessed our President trying to keep his house in order before the visit. It may sound conspicuous but I believe that was triggered by Mr. Bush’s visit. It’s widely speculated that poverty, development and security would be the major topic points, though we expect the Americans will stress only security and will check out to see if its true that we have any oil! But credit to the yanks, they have got USAID and other NGOs which are doing a tremendous job in Tanzania. Lets hope this may continue.
Majebele, Nshimba, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Yes, the US president is now returning to Africa. I think this is a good idea. Besides it will promote a close relationship between the US and Africa as a whole. G.W.Bush, Ghana welcomes you.
Emmanuel, Koforidua, Ghana


SEE ALSO
Bush urges end to Darfur 'evil'
20 Feb 08 |  Africa
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16 Feb 08 |  In Pictures



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