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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 July, 2003, 08:29 GMT 09:29 UK
Has Bush's visit to Africa made a difference?
George W Bush  meets with Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo
President George W Bush has completed his five day tour of Africa in Nigeria.

Mr Bush met the Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo in Abuja to discusss trade, the fight against Aids as well as the current situation in Liberia.

During his visit to the continent, the American president pledged to spend $15bn on tackling Aids across Africa over the next five years.

However, he also warned that terrorists would not be allowed to operate out of the continent.

Has President Bush's visit made a difference to the fortunes of Africa? Will the extra money help the fight against Aids?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:

The poor are not going to gain anything from Bush's visit. The money to be donated by the US government to fight AIDS will benefit only the bureaucrats and those who are in power. I'm sure only a small percentage of the amount is going to reach the target group.
Albert P'Rayan, Rwanda/India

Yes it will make a huge difference
Rob, Zimbabwe/ Australia
Yes it will make a huge difference. The USA and the West working behind the scenes will force the result which is demanded in terms of human dignity and human rights
Rob, Zimbabwe/ Australia

It is the hard earned money of Americans that make up that 15 billions. Money, more affordable drugs, and debt relief all can help. However, the responsibility to make real changes rests on the shoulders of African countries, their people and their leaders.
Carrie, USA

The US did not create the problem in Africa; the French and the British did. It was not the US which ruled over Africa; it was the French and British. And it is the French and British who should be held accountable. Many seem to be gripping about the aid the US will be sending, well then fine tell your government not to accept the US gesture of friendship.
John Crane, Houston, Texas, USA

To all his detractors - give the man a chance
Robert, USA
Won't his trip make more difference than not going at all? Isn't his $15bn promise better than ignoring the AIDS issue altogether? To all his detractors - give the man a chance. Of course this trip is political - he's a politician. But it might do some good.
Robert, USA

President Bush's visit to Africa has done nothing to help the people of that unfortunate land. All that has been accomplished by this visit is that Bush is now able to make a case in the upcoming election that he cares for the world's poor. This however could not be farther from the truth and he has aggressively attempted to pursue a policy of privatising industry and ignored Africa's major concern at the moment of genuine land reform. All this visit serves to accomplish is to make him look good as well as all of the African leaders that he has visited.
Robert, Flint, Michigan, USA

What Africa needs is a fair trading field with the rest of the world
H. Okoronkwo, USA
President Bush's pledge of $15 billion will definitely help the Aids fight if fully funded by Congress. The spotlight has been placed on Africa by his visit but it remains to be seen what will be achieved as a result. What Africa needs is a fair trading field with the rest of the world, cancelled Third World debt, and corrupt-free leaders who work to improve the lives of the masses. Until then Africa will continue to be the forgotten continent.
H. Okoronkwo, USA

Mr Bush does not care the least about anyone, including Africans. I have seen how the dumping of US maize in Malawi has deprived poor farmers in Niassa in Northern Mozambique of their natural market. Mr Bush is a disaster.
Bosse Hammarström, Mozambique

Although President Bush's visit to Africa is a pleasing gesture of goodwill, when wealthy African Americans begin to form pilgrimages and missions to salvage Africa, then we can all believe in "the promise" and realise "brotherly love".
Merrily McCarthy, America

For Mr Bush, this is just a tour of "assets" and "potential assets". A lot of nations such as Nigeria, Chad and others have large volumes of oil, diamonds, uranium and many other valuable resources, and a lot of US companies "working" them. The timing is brilliant, Pax Americana, striding through bestowing alms with an iron fist in a kid glove. The people of Africa can and will one day find their way but not as a result of this visit.
Pat, Australia (Nigeria 7 years)

I doubt he will ever deliver
Emmanuel Solomon, Ethiopia, by way of USA
Do not hold your breathe; this visit will change anything. It is a pure PR move (5 days to 5 countries, a good portion of it spent in the air) to show the 'compassion' of the American Right. The West (including the EU) spends $300 billions a year in agricultural subsidies. African farmers can compete with their US/EU counterparts but not against grains grown for 'free'. He has promised $15 billions for AIDS but I doubt he will ever deliver.
Emmanuel Solomon, Ethiopia, by way of USA

Bush is just like any other Western leader who has visited Africa. President Bush wants to gain more support from the black community, this is why he is in Africa. He makes no difference. Why is he taking a long time to sent troops to Liberia when all the parties in the war including President Taylor wants him to come and take over the country?
Oscar S.D. Blehsue, U.S.A

Bush should not be blamed for our own home-grown African problems
Patrick , USA/Malawian
It is a very positive thing that Bush came to Africa and pledged money to fight Aids. Bush should not be blamed for our own home-grown African problems, like electing corrupt leaders. .Africans need to be serious about electing leaders and developing our continent
Patrick , USA/Malawian

I am very optimistic that Bush's visit to Africa will make a different specially on espousing the cause of democracy in countries with long serving presidents.
Daniel Samosse junior, Angola

$15billion over 5 yrs for AIDS translates to $3billion a year. I don't think he is serious about Africa and its problems. I consider his trip to Africa purely as a political stunt for his up coming elections as well as a financial trip to see how much further he can exploit us.
Martha Banda, Zambia

The only good thing Bush will do in Africa is to highlight the dangers of aids. Everything else is propaganda. Mbeki has to support Mr Mugabe. They both fought long bloody guerrilla wars with former governments.
Joseph E. Odiase, CA.USA

We as Africans have to shoulder the responsibility for the continents many woes
N Human, South Africa
President Bush's visit to Africa will make no real and significant long term difference and is probably an election ploy on his part. We as Africans have to shoulder the responsibility for the continents many woes. Most of the wars, disease, poverty and general malaise can be attributed to power hungry individuals and groups whose actions over the past decades have crippled reasonable economies. We Africans have to rise above these situations and create proper democracies to ensure the growth potential and distribution of the boundless natural wealth that Africa possesses.
N Human, South Africa

President Bush is wasting his time if he thinks he will convince President Mbeki to put pressure on President Mugabe. Mbeki and other Southern African leaders fears Mugabe so much that they cannot just act against him. The multitudes of hungry Zimbabweans are looking forward to President Bush to act alone without wasting time talking to Mugabe's friends like Mbeki.
Nyamupfukudza Kudzai, Zimbabwe

George Bush will bring very little help to Africa. He is actually marketing the genetically modified foods on behalf of American corporations. As for those other African brothers and sisters who are continually lamenting about the slave trade I would urge them to reflect on the positive side of the event. Note that I am a Black African myself. The descendants of the slaves today in the Americas and everywhere else are making a better representation of the black people in all spheres of life.
Matsauso Zulu, Zambia

It will make a very big difference because it has come at a time when Africa most needs such humanitarian help.
Thomax Monday Mwimanzi, Zambia

Most African countries are deteriorating at a faster pace now than they were under colonial power
Tafirenyika Mwanawevhu, Zimbabwe
I feel these visits will not make much difference to Africa as the problem of Africa lies in the fact that our leaders once in power get so engrossed with issues of how they can financially empower themselves at the expense of the people who put them there. Most African countries are deteriorating at a faster pace now than they were under colonial powers.
Tafirenyika Mwanawevhu, Zimbabwe

Of course it will make a difference. He is a good man trying to help people who are still fighting slavery and exploitation. He sees the potential for excellence in the African and is reaching out to them right now.
D. Killian, US

From a positive standpoint, I do believe that Bush's visit brings to the forefront the problems plaguing Africa. However, I firmly believe that this trip to the countries that attended the G-8 is a way to massage these oil-producing countries in an effort to secure other markets from which to get oil. Africa's oil reserves are significant enough to warrant the attention of the United States. All the leaders need to learn to do is use the AU as a tool to dictate Africa's future and agenda.
Grace A. Owuor, Kenya; living in US

His visit won't make a bit of difference because he doesn't visit where he is needed the most. Fighting factions in countries such as Liberia, Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo would have postponed their fights during his visit had he chose to visit them. To my surprise the US president visits relatively peaceful countries. This makes me question the motives for his visit to Africa.
Stephen K M, Canada

Mr Bush's handouts to American farmers are impoverishing a whole continent
Marcus Courage, UK
As every African leader will tell you, trade is more important than aid. What Africa really needs is a sharp cut in rich countries' farm subsidies. Last month's lamentable EU Common Agricultural policy reforms and Mr Bush's handouts to American farmers are impoverishing a whole continent. Without the successful completion of the Doha round of world trade negotiations, Africa will never be able to trade its way out of poverty. If Mr Bush is serious about helping Africa, then he must commit his administration to proper reform of farm subsidies.
Marcus Courage, UK

President Bush can bring difference and peace to Africa He can help the poor people.
Fr Jose Antonio da Costa, India

The fact that President Bush, as other leaders from the West, has not asked for forgiveness from Africans for the part his family and country had in what he describes as the greatest crime in history, is a vivid proof that blacks wherever they are, are underlooked upon. It also proves that his honey-tongued promises are just to deceive the blacks. His visit to Africa is making us understand that the calls for racial renewal and repentance are just ways being used by Western leaders to calm the blacks. What a shame for mankind!
Emmenuel Ndingsa Tenjoh, Cameroon

Emmenuel Ndingsa Tenjoh - things will not improve until Africa stops trying to pin all the blame for their problems on white Europeans. The slaves were bought by white slave traders from black African dealers. Until that is acknowledged the slave trade will continue to be pedalled as an excuse. It is corrupt African leaders that are the key problem. Otherwise Thabo Mbeki would have rid the world of Robert Mugabe a long time ago!
John, UK

It is high time African leaders consider putting the people as their number one priority
Batcho, Italy/Gambian
African leaders are the very obstacle to the development and progress of the continent. No one should expect that president Bush have a magic solution to the chronic problems like corruption, mismanagement, self interest and bad governance. It is high time that African leaders consider putting the interest of the people as their number one priority and not building mansions and opening fat accounts in foreign countries. Even if president Bush pumps all the money of the Federal Reserve in the continent, the problem of the common person will still continue to exist because such money will end up only in the pockets of few individuals at the mercy of the ordinary man. It will just be like taking a spoon of water from the ocean.
Batcho, Italy/Gambian

Change in Africa either economically or politically should come from Africa. Not the US or other Western countries. Mr Bush's trip to Africa should be considered as just statesman's visit. I remember three or four years ago Mr Bill Clinton visited these African countries, but nothing come out of it. He apologised for not interfering in Rwanda in 1994. We see the same thing happening with Mr Bush. The thing is apologies are good, but not enough. There is a lot of things they could do for compensation.
Gamta Kumsa, Saint Paul, USA

President Bush did not make an apology for slavery; I've got yet to see an American or Western President or leader make an apology for slavery. I've got yet to see African leaders also make apologies for the transatlantic slave trade. If President Bush was serious about helping African countries, then he would have used the money which he is spending on this trip to help Africa. The almighty dollar determines and shape the morality and policies of the US, it seems. It is yet to be seen whether Mr Bush truly has altruistic intentions with regards to Africa; if he does this would at first seem shocking but yet soothing.
Eddie Lee, Liberia

Be cautiously optimistic and give Mr Bush the benefit of the doubt
Dawi Dibal, Nigeria
I don't think it is possible to know what kind of impact Mr Bush's trip will have on Africa (whether it is going to make a difference or not). I guess we'll all have to wait and see. My only advice to fellow Africans would be to be cautiously optimistic and give Mr Bush the benefit of the doubt. Hopefully he will do the right thing and not disappoint Africa.
Dawi Dibal, Nigeria

Will Bush's visit to Africa make a difference? Yes it will, it will make matters worse.
Charles Calvert, Costa Rica

I love these comments stating that everyone should just forgive Africa's debts. Why? So the leaders of those countries can run those debts up again while ignoring the problems of their own people?
Jason Savelsberg, USA

Africans should not be fooled by the strategically chosen words of Mr Bush. What he is after is Africa's new found oil and wealth. If he can get a source of oil from Africa why is he wasting the time and efforts by going to Middle East?
Duale, USA

I am a Sierra Leonean currently living in the US, and I believe that Bush have some great ideas. His coming to Africa should not just be a trip but an economic trade task, infrastructure development and so forth, so let's stay focused and look at the bigger picture than just having an American president showing up in Africa - we have passed the admiring stage now we need dollars not smiles.
Bernard Blake, Delaware, USA

Am I supposed to apologise because a free, peaceful, and prosperous Africa is in my best interests? I would like to ask the critics exactly what they are doing for Africa? Many Americans are convinced the US should not provide any more international aid to anyone. They say we're hated no matter how much good we try to do, and the recipients generally waste it anyway. They think President Bush should use our money to pay down our own stratospheric debt. I'm beginning to think they have a point.
Tara, USA

Bush needs to back up what he says with action
Chris, UK
George Bush has made an admirable speech, but, at this point, these are only words. Bush needs to back up what he says with action, with aid. He needs, as the leader of the richest country in the world, to put his money where his mouth is. If he does, I shall never say a bad word about him again. George - please prove me wrong.
Chris, UK

Bush's visit to Africa can only make a difference if the Africans themselves are willing to make changes that will make a difference. I don't see that coming so soon. When you see African leaders shielding criminals like Charles Taylor and Mugabe who have murdered their own people and fuelled wars in their sub-regions. Instead of these African leaders facing up to the challenge of ridding these brutes of the continent, they instead blame "foreign conspiracy" for what is going on.

Is it foreign conspiracy that made Mobutu wealthier than his nation or Charles Taylor killing his own people or the religious and tribal killings in Nigeria? Or is it foreign conspiracy that Mugabe raised his salary by 600% while his people starve to death? It is just bad and very bad governance and greed for power. Until the me, myself and I attitude change in Africa, even if Bush brings the White House and his Texas ranch there no difference will be made.
Cillaty Daboh, USA/Sierra Leone

President Bush's visit to Africa will be as significant as previous US state visits to Africa, which will be token pronouncements and gifts to alleviate the African problem. The fact is that until Africans themselves want to make a difference by ridding themselves of despots like Taylor, Mugabe or reforming quasi democracies like the Nigerian experiment, Africa will continue to remain the backwater of the world whilst other developing area like Asia, Eastern Europe and the Mid East develop. The fact is that as soon as the terrorist threat reduces and the world comes to terms with increased American presence in the Middle East, and another US election looms nearer, the African question will be put to the backburner once again.
Shola Oke, UK

We should be prepared for change and George Bush is spearheading this
Takorera Maenzanise, UK-Zimbabwe
George Bush's visit is most welcome. The world order is changing and moving to a more tolerant society. We should be prepared for change and George Bush is spearheading this. However, some cling on to historical events for the sake of history and try to crash whatever new developments are coming. These people are dangerous. George Bush should go ahead with his visit. After all he is doing much for Africa more than any other before. The African politicians who hate his visit are dictators trying to create a smokescreen of their inhuman behaviour.
Takorera Maenzanise, UK-Zimabwe

America has no responsibility to us, and we have no right to expect them to solve our problems. We are a country already deep in financial debt, and still we are asking for more foreign aid. The US has already proffered the $15bn for the fight against HIV/Aids; wanting even more is a prime example of the African habit of taking a mile when anyone is willing to give an inch. This is a bad policy - we need to realise that we are responsible for our own welfare, and that we cannot expect other people to do all the work while we reap the benefits.
Nikki Peyper, South Africa

The first and foremost thing is that debt should be cancelled
Wilberforce Majaji, Zimbabwe/US
Africa's problems are so complex but can be solved. The first and foremost thing is that debt should be cancelled. The budget for Africa's debt every year exceeds that of both education and health combined. This in itself speaks large volumes. If Bush is really serious, he should lobby other Western nations to cancel the debt rather than tip toeing in Africa.
Wilberforce Majaji, Zimbabwe/USA

Bush's visit to Africa is nothing more than a pre-election stunt and part of the US's drive for global dominance. The US has never expressed interest in any country/region unless there was something to gain (just ask the Iraqis). What did the US do in Rwanda? Nothing! And the DRC? Nothing! The hypocrisy and double standards of the US government and George Bush are something to behold. At this very moment they are violating the rights to fair trial of six al-Qaeda suspects with their plans to try the men in a military court! It is for this reason and many more that I personally would not listen to someone like Bush preaching to me about good governance and democracy.
Tiseke, UK

Tiseke in the UK is correct in that we did not intervene in Rwanda and the DRC when many of us believed we should have. But as an American and a registered Democrat, I feel it only fair to remind Tiseke that these atrocities happened not on George Bush's watch, but on Bill Clinton's. And when the US does choose to intervene - and for what most Americans consider humanitarian reasons, not for oil, contrary to what most of you seem to believe - we are roundly criticised by the rest of the planet. Honestly, what do you folks want?
Tammy, USA

I get very fed up with people moaning about Mr Bush only coming to Africa for American interests. For whose interest should he come? He is after all the President of the United States! If only more African leaders would do enough to be called selfish for looking after their country's interests rather than the interests of their pockets. Maybe the continent would not be in as much mess as it is in now! Still, one can only dream of such a time!!
Ayo Ogunsanlu, London, UK

This is just another PR circus with the only winners being Bush and the greedy African politicians he will shake hands with. Still, it is progress, considering that not so long ago, Bush called Africa a country!
Cathy Kahima, Ugandan in Germany

It's pure hypocrisy
Godwin Ogwuche, Nigeria
In 1998 and later in the year 2000, former President Clinton paid "historic" visits to Africa. This week, President Bush is on another "historic" visit. It's an open secret the world over that the US does not pursue non-interest issues. The underlining question on the mind of Washington is "What's in it for us?" I am a Nigerian who is presently suffering from the effect of the removal of oil subsidy by the government. The US farmers are enjoying massive subsidies from their government. The same US is supporting my government to remove subsidies and does not bother about how I can afford paying for fuel and its spill over effect on the other sectors of the economy when my income does not increase. It's pure hypocrisy and complete lip-service.

I blame African leaders for handing over the continent's future to the hands of the new colonial masters. The South East Asian countries with whom we gained independence almost at the same period are now enjoying the fruit of maintaining real independent which lies both in political and economic fronts. Africa! Let us keep praying and waiting for real salvation from our fake leaders and their masters in the Bushes and Blairs of this world. Aluta Continua!
Godwin Ogwuche, Nigeria

President Clinton, Queen Elizabeth and even Kofi Annan had been to Africa and what difference did it make. Unless Africa today sees Bush as its messiah but personally I will stress, unless the leaders and people of Africa change our mentality and put on the coat of hardworking at the same time stripping off the clothes of laziness and ignorance we will never have anyone to save our dear continent.
Evans Arthur, Ghana/Malaysia

These problems are much more intricate and cannot be solved by mere aid, grants or state visits
Sigismond Wilson, Sierra Leone
Africa's political and economic problems have been in existence for a considerable period of time without any real solution from the Western powers. These problems are much more intricate and cannot be solved by mere aid, grants or state visits. A much more meaningful solution to Africa's economic problem would be to ensure that a 'level playing field' exists in the processes of globalisation.
Sigismond Wilson, Sierra Leone

Bush has not done enough for descendants of Africans here in the states. What do people think he can do for Africans in Africa? Give them the same hollow promises of equality?
David, USA

Mr Bush's visit to Africa is more for American interests than it is for Africa. His chosen countries of visit are strategic. Senegal for geopolitical reasons to cater for the American military as the last port when leaving the African continent in the west. Nigeria for oil, South Africa for both geopolitical in southern hemisphere and economic reasons. The same for the other 2 nations to be visited.
Eddy Ukorah, Lagos, Nigeria

It will bring attention and a focus on Africa that the world may take advantage of. The West wants stability as it's in our best interests politically, economically, and ethically. Bush going to Africa means that more may be done to help with the issues plaguing Africa, although not as much as many hope. It's clear that anything the US does will require additional support from the former colonial powers. It's them that really owe Africa.
Christopher, USA

African problems cannot be solved by the US
Pascal Bessong, France
I am glad that Mr Bush will visit presidents Wade, Obasanjo and Mbeki in their homes. These are leaders who command some respect abroad and are trying to forge a new era for Africa through the African Union. However I would be disappointed if President Bush does not raise the problem of corruption and mismanagement by the majority of African governments when he meets this trio independently. African problems cannot be solved by the US.
Pascal Bessong, France

If the West, and particularly America are really determined to solve the world's poverty problems and particularly those in Africa, the Third World debt could always be cancelled. But that isn't going to happen, and the only reason that Bush is in Africa is because the US is coming up to an election year and he wants to secure a big enough percentage of the African-American vote.
Natasha, France

Seeing as how Bush is still ignoring the real issue in Africa - the slaughtering of thousands in the Congo - I doubt this is much more than a PR photo-op.
Max Kimbrough, USA

Does the US president need to visit Africa to tackle well known problems? The continent needs practical help and not pledges that are never met. As it is President Bush will be in Africa for the usual media fanfare, oil and imperial interests.
Gogo, South Africa




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