Bush Says Trip to Africa Among ‘Most Exciting’ of His Presidency
President Bush on Thursday said that his trip to Africa this week was "one of the most exciting" of his presidency and that it offered a "chance to herald courageous people in their efforts to deal with hopelessness," the Los Angeles Times reports (Gerstenzang, Los Angeles Times, 2/22). Bush and first lady Laura Bush on Thursday ended a five-country tour of Africa in part to highlight programs funded by the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the President's Malaria Initiative (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/21).
On Thursday in Liberia -- the last stop of the president's tour -- Bush said the U.S. would provide one million textbooks, as well as desks and chairs for 10,000 students, by the next school year. Bush during a speech at the Barclay Training Center, where the U.S. is helping train a Liberian army, said Liberians "must understand" that the U.S. "will stand" with them as they "rebuild" the country (Stolberg, New York Times, 2/22).
Bush also said that "what really made" him "happy" during his trip was learning that "the people of Africa have come to appreciate the generosity of the American people." Bush added that the U.S. has had a "very active foreign policy, whether it be liberating people from tyranny in order to protect ourselves or liberating people from disease, we've been active and strong and bold" (Agence France-Presse, 2/22). During his trip, Bush also visited Benin, Ghana, Rwanda and Tanzania (Los Angeles Times, 2/22).
The Washington Post on Friday examined how although Bush received praise throughout Africa for U.S. efforts to fight HIV/AIDS and malaria on the continent, some Africans expressed disappointment that Bush did not "support their struggle for more just and open societies" (McCrummen, Washington Post, 2/22).