Bush fires up Africa

Good morning. George Bush is wrapping up his five-country African tour today in Liberia. We’ve already asked you if the US president deserves praise for his policy in Africa. It’s fair to say the response has been mixed (which is probably far better than if we’d asked you if he deserves praise for anything else).

And after emphasising health and humanitarian issues in earlier stops, the US military presence in Africa has become the focus. In Ghana, Mr Bush called the idea that he was looking for sites for US bases “baloney”, a view echoed, if slightly less colourfully, by Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in an interview on The World Today.

So what has George Bush actually done for Africa? Here are some statistics:

  • Since Mr. Bush took office, U.S. development aid to Africa has tripled, funding for HIV programs has vaulted from less than $1 billion to more than $6 billion per year.
  • Twelve of the 15 countries receiving funding from the five-year, $15 billion President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief are in Africa.
  • Nine African countries are among the 16 drawing grants from Mr. Bush’s Millennium Challenge Corp., which provides support to nations that have reached benchmarks from stemming corruption to investing in immunizations.
  • By 2015, Washington expects that 25 per cent of the oil it imports will
    come from Africa.
  • Benin, where Bush’s trip will begin Saturday, received a $307 million grant from the Millennium Challenge Corporation two years ago for its commitment to democracy.
  • Two-way trade between the United States and sub-Saharan African countries increased 17 percent in 2006 over 2005, reaching almost $71.3 billion, with both U.S. exports to and U.S. imports from the region growing.

So, should we applaud President Bush? If not, please have the stats to prove your point.

Now, we always talk about being an open programme, and you are invited to join our editorial meeting, but we also host students as part of the BBC’s work experience scheme and one of our next students suggests this idea:

“The EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini recently announced all non-EU nationals entering the EU may have to do a biometric test, leaving their finger prints, an iris scan and a biometric photo. With this data all EU member states will be aware of who gets in, for how long, who gets out and whose visa expired.”

The suggested questions “What are the limits of immigration policies?” and “What are the limits of state surveillance systems?”

It fits pretty well with the UK government proposing that “Foreign brides who plan to live in Britain ‘must speak English’” – which would be for their own good. Should ruling on who you can fall in love with be part of immigration policy?

Send us your thoughts.

3 Responses to “Bush fires up Africa”

  1. 1 steve
    February 21, 2008 at 11:14

    Please, enough with the Bush bashing. It’s old and boring now. There are many newsworthy events going on right now in the world. If we must discuss this, I ask the knee jerk bush bashers, what are your countries doing for Africa other than whining that the US isn’t doing enough?

  2. 2 Brett
    February 21, 2008 at 12:41

    “He said the new command, Africom, was to provide African states with military training and assistance so they could handle Africa’s problems better. ”

    – Oh, like we were/are supposed to be doing with Iraqs army and police right? Yes… thats going well.

    “”It is a command structure that is aiming to help provide military assistance to African nations so African nations are more capable of dealing with Africa’s conflicts – like peacekeeping training,” he said. ”

    – I think its safe to say the US idea and way of using brute force and killing for peace is accomplishing little elsewhere in the world. Africa seems to need mediation mentoring, not military assistance to end conflicts. Besides, we have a body who should be helping with that, its called the UN.

    But wait, here is the comment that is starting to make sense of the whole bit…

    “By 2015, Washington expects that 25 per cent of the oil it imports will
    come from Africa. “

    – Ah yes… We learned from the middle east on this one, don’t wait until its too late to ‘democratize’ (invade) oil rich countries, that causes too many problems. Forcast the future and buy your way in via aid and mesquito nets. At least as many people aren’t dying in this peaceful occupation strategy.

    Kudos to Ghana and the rest of the countries for rejecting the idea of foreign military installations on their land. These are countries which graciously accept contributions from the United States, yet even they are smart enough not to let (or at least be wary of) US bases be built on their soil. If the US is so amazing and everyones argument is that Africans love the US, why then are they against US military ‘assistance’. I think its safe to say even they have seen what effects our military ‘presence’ has had on other parts of the world.

    As far as ‘bush bashing’ goes. When you conduct yourself and your country in the manner of our current president, what is left to do? I certainly can find little to praise him on. As such any ideas or plans he has are certainly going to be met by scepticism by anyone not brainwashed by Bush & Co. or terrorized by his constant threats of turrists. Its all about looking at his record in office and deciding “What are the real inentions of Bush and his venture in Africa?” What were his real intentions in Iraq vs. what he told the American public and the rest of the world?
    I find NOTHING wrong with questioning our current administration. In fact given its track record of lies it would be almost unpatriotic to not do so and blindly follow along.

    Is Bush doing good for Africa? Right now, yes, he is, congratulations Mr. Bush. But what is in it for him? Well, now we see that the US would like military bases throughout Africa. So then, what comes next?

    Step 1: help and aid to soften them up
    Step 2: peacefully install military bases on their soil
    Step 3: Profit?


    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  3. 3 maryb
    February 23, 2008 at 21:20

    At least he should know where the countries are now. As for the bush-bashing, he should be standing in the dock of the International Court of Justice in the Hague with Blair, Cheney, Perle and all the others who have waged the illegal wars.

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