President Bush To Promote HIV/AIDS, Malaria Initiatives During Upcoming Trip to Africa
President Bush and first lady Laura Bush on Friday are scheduled to leave for 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, Reuters reports. The trip will be President Bush's second to Africa since taking office and Laura Bush's fifth visit to the continent. They plan to visit Benin, Ghana, Liberia, Rwanda and Tanzania (Zakaria, Reuters, 2/14).
The president likely will highlight his PEPFAR reauthorization request, America.gov/AllAfrica.com reports. The president and Laura Bush will begin their trip in Benin. They plan to meet with Benin's President Thomas Yayi to discuss the progress of PMI and Millennium Challenge Corporation programs in the country. According to White House National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, Benin in October 2007 launched "one of the largest anti-malaria campaigns, designed to reach all children under the age of five" with support from PMI.
The Bushes then are scheduled to visit Tanzania. They plan to meet with President Jakaya Kikwete and sign a MCC compact that will affect nearly five million people, according to Hadley. They also will travel to Arusha, Tanzania, to visit several facilities, including a factory that manufactures insecticide-treated nets for the prevention of malaria. In addition, President Bush will participate in a discussion about PEPFAR programs in the country (America.gov/AllAfrica.com, 2/13).
Bush and the first lady will then travel to Rwanda, Ghana and Liberia, where they plan to discuss several issues, including the President's International Education Initiative, peacekeeping efforts and economic development, Hadley said during a White House news conference Wednesday (White House briefing, 2/13). Stephen Morrison, co-director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Africa program, said, "This is not a conflict-resolution trip," adding, "There's a preference in these trips ... to put the emphasis on things that make you happy and to avoid talking about things that make you sad" (Loven, AP/Google.com, 2/13).
President Bush is scheduled to give a speech on Thursday highlighting how he has "fundamentally changed America's approach to Africa," the White House said on Wednesday. According to the Washington Times, the Bush administration wants to "shine a light" on what it regards as a transforming shift in how foreign aid is distributed, from throwing money at a problem to "performance-based" monetary aid. Bush administration officials hope the next president will continue the MCC and debt relief efforts, the Times reports (Ward, Washington Times, 2/14).