It was AllAfrica.com, not NBC, CBS or the New York Times, that recently acknowledged that President Bush's policies "have saved millions of [African] lives and lifted others from abject poverty." It wasn't an American, but Irish rock star and African activist, Bob Geldof, that said Bush "has done more than any other president so far", though it was "unexpected of the man". He talks about "the triumph of American policy", but chides the American media for ignoring the Bush legacy in Africa.
The African public and media, however, have noticed Bush's commitment to helping Africa, as we saw as thousands lined the route all the way between the airport and Dar es Salem, in Tanzania. Some danced wearing "Bush" shirts and waving American flags.
Why does Bush get so much more respect in Africa than elsewhere?
Bush's aid programs have targetted AIDS and Malaria, two of the biggest killers in Sub-Saharan Africa. The massive 5 year, $15 billion AIDS relief drive has increased the number of people on anti-retrovirals from 50,000 to 1.3 million.
The 5 year, $1.2 billion anti-malaria project has provided 25 million Africans with insecticide- treated mosquito nets, an effective yet simple solution to what is still the the biggest infectious-disease killer in Africa.
The Millenium Challenge Corporation started under Bush has approved $5.5 billion to 16 countries, 9 of which are in Africa. The assistance is limited to countries that support democracy and a free market economy, invest in health and education, and fight corruption.
Bush increased developement and humanitarian assistance to Africa from $1.4 billion his 1st year in office, to $4 billion per year currently.
In tiny Benin, his first African stop, Bush has promoted an anti-malaria program, the training of 1000's of teachers, as well as judicial, financial, and port reform. Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, and Liberia are also being visited by Bush. These countries , though poor , are making progress in regards to economic growth, better living conditions, and the rule of law, all with U.S. aid.
Bush says " My trip here is a way to remind future presidents and future Congresses that it is in the national interest and in the moral interests of the United States of America to help people."
Please pray for wisdom for our President and his staff, and for these nations in Africa, that the money, medicines, and training provided, will have lasting impact into future generations. May we as individuals and NGO's, also do whatever we can to help, as we pray for God's leading.