International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

July 17, 2003

July 17, 2003





**  Bush's trip signals a "U-turn" toward Africa due to its vital role in the war on terror.


**  Optimists are impressed by the U.S.' renewed commitment to the "troubled continent."


**  Skeptics fear Bush has "overpromised" and have doubts that "deeds will match words."


**  Cynics dismiss "whistle stop tour," suggesting administration has "ulterior" motives.   




Bush lauded for a 'sound and impressive' attempt to help 'weak' African states--  Global observers conceded that Bush "deserves praise" for his efforts to engage Africa, and saw his pledge to fight HIV/AIDS along with the AGOA initiative making a "deep impression" throughout the continent.  These writers concluded that the U.S. has a stake in building "a stable and more prosperous" Africa because the region was a vital part of the post-9/11 "chessboard."  Pro-government dailies in Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe credited Bush for his "change of heart," and a South African columnist avowedly critical of the administration decided the president was "serious about forging a meaningful relationship."  Optimists joined Kampala's New Vision in asserting that "we trust that the Americans are changing their attitude...and that they will make good their promises."  Euro papers agreed that helping Africa is "a justified American self-interest" due to the continent's vulnerability to terrorism.


Doubts prevail over depth of U.S. commitment and ability to deliver on promises--  A broad array of voices cast doubts on whether the U.S. was "genuine" about its Africa commitment, invoking a common mantra that "America's deeds rarely match its words."  Apprehensive African dailies cautioned that there "was no reason to jump for joy," with Ghana's pro-ruling party Accra Mail claiming there "is no guarantee that Mr. Bush's visit can change Africa."  Advising Bush not to "repeat the mistakes of his predecessors," papers urged the administration "to demonstrate that the Americans are not only after Africa’s riches, but the welfare of the Africans as well."  Papers called upon the U.S. to opens its markets, which is the "only way,"  Kenya's investigative People insisted, "to make these countries self-reliant."


Critics say visit was just a 'political trip' and 'photo op' to improve Bush's image-- Bush critics in all regions dismissed the Africa tour as a cynical exercise aimed at "winning over" African-Americans to "vote Republican."  They accused Washington of pursuing "a hostile policy of intimidation and blackmail."  Capturing the typical resentment, Mozambique's independent Zambeze observed that Bush's visit did more to satisfy "his strategic and electoral objectives than actually help the countries visited."  Morocco's independent Al-Ayyam contended that "no matter how Bush tries to dress up his visit in a humane manner, he cannot hide his true intentions," which were to win in 2004, "at any cost."  These observers also criticized the decision to "skip" Kenya and Tanzania, "countries directly affected by terrorism," while concentrating only on the continent's "success stories." 

EDITOR:  Irene Marr

EDITOR'S NOTE: This report is based on 92 reports from 39 countries, July 8-17.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




SOUTH AFRICA:  "Bush's Africa Spin Will Not Heal All Ills"


Anso Thom argued in the liberal Star (7/15):  "The clock is ticking--a detailed plan setting out how the White House expects to achieve the clinical goals of its AIDS program is long overdue....  I can't see any serious development assistance coming from his visit.  He was more interested in photo opportunities, and talking about terrorism and oil.  Amid all spin, one fact was certain.  Once the Bush entourage completed its victory lap around Africa and the drums had fallen silent, several hundred Africans would have died of diseases that affordable drugs could have cured."


"President Bush's Visit"


The liberal Natal Witness editorialized (7/14):  "The positive aspects of American involvement in the developing world were emphasized.  Even those who have serious reservations about it must again have realized that for better or worse, the welfare of this continent is inseparable from the goodwill and assistance of the world's only superpower....  The rich cannot sleep easy when the poor are starving and dying outside their gates, so they are moved to do something about it.  The poor need help, but in ways that do not insult their dignity and independence.  It is a complex and sensitive situation....  The visit of the president gave a personal dimension to American aims, to American influence in the world, and to the United States' acceptance of the burdens that come with enormous power.  It is easier to talk with a president than to rail against a nation."


"African Leaders Queue Up To Fawn Over Bush"


Liberal Sunday Independent commented (7/13):  "Most African government officials welcome Bush because they know that they need the U.S. more than the U.S. needs them....  But for ordinary people, Bush evokes deep feelings, mainly negative....  The U.S. president's mission is to rally Africa to support him in his campaign against terror.  He has realized that unstable states are breeding grounds for terrorists and his motive to help end wars is self-serving....  If Bush had genuine respect for Africa, surely he would have attended at least one session of the AU in Maputo....  The reality of the AU: it's a big organization with noble goals bust scant resources.  And he who pays the piper calls the tune.  That is why Bush was welcomed by the continent's leaders but not necessarily by ordinary Africans."


"At Last, Africa Gets The Respect It Deserves"


Eddie Maloka wrote in pro-government, Afro-centric Sowetan (7/14):  "Bush's visit to Africa is the victory of the world over those who see history in terms of the 'us' and 'them'; over those who despise the consensus approach that multilateralism imposes on international politics; and over those who thought the solution to poverty is in shooting the poor.  The world, with its institutions, can't be ignored.  Our power is in our silence, our strength in our resilience.  We can't be wished away.  It is now up to the American people to pronounce themselves next year.  Bush will be remembered for the three things:  God, war and oil!"


"SA Must Look Past Bush's Antics"


Balanced Business Day stated (7/9):  "The question that South Africans are grappling with is whether or not to welcome Bush.  There is no doubt that Bush has made his mark on history....   Given that the Yanks are here, and that they are not likely to be put off by our less than warm welcome, the question remains: is it a good thing for us?  I think so, because SA is in a unique position to renegotiate its trading relationship with the U.S....  Bush's tour of Africa is a sign that the U.S. is serious about forging a meaningful relationship, albeit skewed, at a time when its options (other than military action) are rapidly declining.  If we have the maturity to look beyond the antics of Bush, and to focus on the US, then there is merit in engaging them.  Welcome to SA, Mr. Bush (this from a self-professed Bush-basher)."


"Stable Africa Fits U.S. Strategic Interest "


Rupert Cornwall contended in the independent, Durban-based Natal Mercury (7/8):  "Ahead of the trip, the message in Washington has been relentlessly upbeat....  Scratch a little deeper however and the reality is less impressive....  U.S.-Africa trade actually fell by 15% last year, while U.S. aid to the continent is down....  America's deeds have rarely matched its words....  So why should a five-day whistlestop tour, protected by the White House security bubble from the brutal realities of Africa, make any difference?  The answer to that question--as to so many others--is 9/11....  Africa has become a vital part of the chessboard....  For governments and societies which are already weak and vulnerable, AIDS could be the tipping point into anarchy.  And if the U.S. is ever to reduce the dependence on imported Middle Eastern oil which locks Washington into the turbulent politics of the Gulf, Africa is an unavoidable alternative.  Suddenly a stable and more prosperous Africa very much fits into America's national strategic interests....  Africa will not be remade overnight. The question, as usual, is whether the U.S. has the patience and the focus to see the job through."


NIGERIA:  "Campaign Tour"


The Lagos-based, partly government-owned Daily Times editorialized (7/15):  "United States President George W. Bush has completed his five-nation tour of Africa, the first of its kind by a Republican president....  But in reality, it is no more than a campaign tour for the American leader, who is facing a re-election battle next year."


"Ensuring That Aid Is Given"


The independent Guardian editorialized (7/13): "While Africa is ready to support America in its war against terrorism, Mr. Bush should appreciate that 'terrorists' are often jobless and frustrated people who need jobs other gainful engagements to rehabilitate them....  He should ensure that the massive aid he promised Africa is given and fully implemented."


"More Than Just Words"


The independent Guardian held (7/12): "The last American president to visit Nigeria was Bill Clinton.  All we got from him consisted of more words than deeds.  On the contrary, President Bush's... promise of 15 billion dollars of aid for the fight against HIV/AIDS is making a deep impression throughout the continent.  His undertaking to provide some logistic support to help restore peace and foster an atmosphere of reconciliation in Liberia appears good enough."


"Bush's U-Turn"


Lagos based independent Saturday Champion argued (7/12): "In truth, the current U.S. president is not a widely popular man across the African continent, principally because of his war in Iraq and his policies in the Middle East.  Republican presidents, unlike their Democratic party counterparts, [are perceived by Africans to have a] lack of commitment to the continent....  But since the tragedy of 9/11, Bush has virtually taken a U-turn.  He now seems to recognize Africa's prominent role and relevance in the U.S.-led war against international terrorism."


KENYA:  "Africa’s Masses Have Spoken"


The Independent, intellectual weekly East African judged (7/14):  “Bush was in Africa for a first-hand experience of the plight of the continent.  The visit gave him the opportunity to see for himself the devastating impact of America’s policies on the continent’s economic growth and the health of its people....  It was not lost on observers that President Bush’s visit was not without incident.  First, former South African president Nelson Mandela...apparently snubbed him, preferring to be away in Europe.  In East Africa, President Mwai Kibaki did not travel to Kampala to meet the leader of the world’s most powerful nation, opting instead to attend the African Union summit in Maputo, Mozambique...  Thousands of anti-Bush demonstrators, especially in Senegal and South Africa, but also to a lesser extent in Uganda, made it clear that the U.S. was increasingly being perceived as an enemy of the African masses.  Anti-Aids activists, among others, were aware of the fact that Bush’s tour would yield little for Africa, merely serving as a public-relations platform to prop up the U.S. administration’s dented image in geopolitics....  In a nutshell, the reception given to Bush showed him that Africans are not going to sell their sovereignty and dignity, regardless of the discriminatory global policies championed by the U.S. that continue to hurt the continent."


"Donors’ Aid Won’t Help Africa"


Investigative,sometimes sensational People held (7/14):  “America would do us proud if it opens up its markets for goods produced from African countries.  This is the only way to make these countries self-reliant.  They will be stopped from overrelying on the West for development assistance."


"Hold On, Who's The Lion Here:  Us Or Bush?"


Charles Onyango-Obbo contended in the independent, intellectual weekly East African (7/14):  “The second summit of the African Union has just ended in Maputo, Mozambique, but it was overshadowed by U.S. President George Bush’s whistle-stop tour....  If Bush had dropped in on the Maputo summit, it would have been a welcome morale booster.  But then, on the other hand, it might have helped to  highlight how daunting the African crisis is....  Just at the hour when Africans were supposed to be making history...the West is stealing the moment....  Whatever the case, AU leaders shouldn’t leave Bush to roam the continent unrivalled as if he were the king of its jungles.  It’s time for Africa to walk the walk.”


“Hypocrisy Galore In Bush Africa Trip”


The independent pro-business Standard observed (7/9):  “Although terrorism is on top of [Bush's] agenda...he will not be visiting the country most affected by international terrorism in the region--Kenya.  The reasoning is that American Intelligence does not consider Kenya a safe host for the U.S. president.  Although Bush has himself been described as a 'terror-monger' he is by-passing Kenya because he is afraid of terror.  Although international anti-Americanism has placed Africa at the center of the U.S. war against terrorism, Bush is on record as dismissing Africa as being 'outside U.S. security interests.'…  Although the visit is meant to package Bush as more than a cowboy and a gunslinger even as it helps to scoop lost credibility for America, it is just another trip--an afterthought, guided by the realization that Africa also matters for Republicans.”


"Bush And Americanism In Africa"


Gitau Warigi wrote in the independent left-of-center Nation (7/6):  “Africans respect power, of course.  But there is something they respect more.  Wisdom.  They are not sure what they are seeing in the White House respresents anything close to that.  Especially not when it comes to the circle of advisors Bush keeps.  People like Dick Cheney, or Donald Rumsfeld, or even that pitiable African-American, Condoleezza Rice.  Probably with the sole exception of Colin Powell, the rest of the Bush team is made up of extremists.  Sure, we are poor.  Yet all we demand is a little respect.  Bush already has a nasty spat with Europe over genetically engineered food, which he wants to give away to Africa..... Africa needs a level-playing field when it comes to international trade.  It needs better prices for its primary products.  It needs better access to global markets.  It doesn’t want to be looked at only through the prism of terrorism.”


GHANA:  "Now That Mr. Bush’s Africa Tour Is Over, What Next?"


Pro-ruling party (NPP) sponsored Accra Mail opined (7/14):  “Clinton's visit was seen as the major breakthrough Ghana was waiting for that would open the gates to economic paradise.  This time round Ghana was not used as a 'gateway' by Clinton’s successor and some Ghanaians even groused about that.  He chose Senegal, which we believe had only six hours of his time, and then went off to four other countries.  We are told that he spent only four hours in Uganda, and then flew off to Nigeria, from where he flew back home to Washington.  To honor him, the Ugandan and Nigerian presidents hurriedly left the African Union Summit in Maputo and rushed back to their respective countries.  Now that he has finished his 'African' tour, what next?  Certainly Clinton’s visit to Africa, which was widely greeted as a 'landmark' visit did not change the continent, and there is absolutely no guarantee that Mr. Bush’s visit, (with the U.S.' $15 billion HIV/AIDS money), can change Africa.  Africa can only be changed by Africans and that is what they must have been trying to accomplish in Maputo."


"Opposition’s Jumbled Moves"


Steven Larbi remarked in the Daily Guide (7/14):  “President Bush does not impress me the least bit with his arrogant posturings regarding our continent.  Instead of thinking of developing a Marshall Plan to elevate Africa and extricate her from her present quagmire, America is pursuing selfish and Mafia interests in the oil regions.  In order to invade Iraq, Bush had to look for $75 billion, why come to Africa to talk about a paltry $15 billion to fight a devastating disease like AIDS?”


"Bush In Africa"


The avowedly socialist in outlook and editorial content biweekly Insight editorialized (7/11):  "President George Bush...has arrived in Africa to parley with our leaders for reasons which are not in the best interests of the African people....  Bush’s stunt has become necessary because he has failed to pay any meaningful attention to the effects of capitalist development on the world’s disadvantaged and poor in Africa, Asia and Latin America.  Indeed, as a direct representative of American big business, Bush has whipped the leadership of countries like Ghana into accepting terms of international trade which have further impoverished their people.  The arrogant insistence of the U.S. and its allies in Europe that all the countries of the world should toe the line of free enterprise is largely responsible for the economic mayhem in Ghana and on the African continent.  Beyond the state rhetoric of free enterprise and 'democracy,' Bush has nothing good to offer the people of Africa.  He will insist on more of the deadly Structural Adjustment Programs either in their raw forms or disguised as NEPAD and HIPC.  Quite rightly, the masses of Africa are rising up in protest against this useless visit of an arrogant and power drunk American leader.  The demonstrators in South Africa and Senegal speak for all of us.”


MOZAMBIQUE:  "Bush Visit Disturbs Africans"


Rui Miguel wrote in independent Imparcial (7/11):  "U.S. President George W. Bush, who lied to institutions in his own country and the rest of the world about the supposed existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is taking an unfortunate time to visit five nations of our continent.  George Bush's visit at this time disturbs Africans....  The U.S. is pursuing a hostile policy of intimidation and blackmail toward poor countries and is ostracizing those most insubordinate....  Africans already don't accept continuing to be subjected to the pseudo-'double digit' development that is only viewed and appreciated by international financial institutions....  Yesterday, like today, the fight continues against economic, cultural, technological and social backwardness imposed on our countries by new colonists, represented by local corrupt governments."


"Bush's Visit To Africa!"


Independent weekly Zambeze opined (7/10):  "Bush chose the path of exhibiting his superpower status, capable of altering any African agenda.  Bush chose the road of showing his economic power to say to Africans that what is most important at any time is not actual African issues. More important is that Africans show that they can set aside what is most pressing to them to run en masse to welcome the illustrious American visitor....  We feel that George Bush's visit to Africa is more important for Bush himself than for the African countries visited; the visit satisfies more his strategic and electoral objectives than actually helping the countries visited.  Worse yet, the visit is an authentic show of a superpower pushing its agenda upon African heads of state at such an inappropriate time for George Bush to be visiting Africa, during the AU summit....  One day, when Africa has a new generation of leaders, presidents like George Bush will have to think harder about interrupting the internal discussion of African problems by Africans themselves to (interrupt them) to go to the airport to receive 'show off' visitors."


TANZANIA:  "Africa Denies Bush A Smile"


Privately-owned, anti-government Majira opined (7/14):  “At the start of Bush’s trip to Africa, U.S. officials had said that this would be an opportunity for Africa to experience the president's true friendship.  What I can say is that, this trip has failed to generate the excitement that was expected by many.... I am led to believe that Bush’s eye in Africa was more focused on winning allies for issues that serve U.S. interests. The $15 billion program to fight AIDS (although Congress has already slashed the amount for this year by a third) is candy to ‘bait’ Africa into the American camp.  The U.S. policy of pressurizing countries to choose between being for them or against them (terrorists) is an uncivilized way of trying to get support through coercion.  Stopping military aid by invoking Article 98 is tantamount to oppression.  President Bush has reaped what he sowed in Africa.  I don’t see any new agenda for Africa through his trip, and I can say that his popularity has sunk on the continent.  He had nothing new to tell Africa, and that is why Africa failed to show him a smile.”


"President Bush In Africa: The Beginning Of Change?"


Ansbert Ngurumo opined in privately-owned, independent Mwananchi (7/13):  “Our question as Tanzanians is: Why did Bush skip Tanzania and Kenya, countries that have been directly affected by terrorism?...   What did Bush come to do in Africa? What did he bring with him and what did he take with him?  Was this a political trip, an exercise in winning over African Americans to vote Republican in the coming U.S. elections?  We know that a third of the 25 million people that have died of AIDS so far are Africans, and that more than 3,000 people die of AIDS in Zimbabwe every week.  This continent is waiting to see the $15 billion promised by the Bush Administration being put to use, and not to just keep hearing about it.  Bush talked about the numerous military conflicts raging on the continent.  Unfortunately, the involved countries continue to receive weapons from rich nations, the U.S. included.  All peace loving people in Africa call upon the U.S. to stop distributing weapons across the continent....  Before coming to Africa, Bush said: 'I am ready to discuss with anyone.  I am not moved by opinion polls or people that are against me.  My decisions are based on solid principles.'  He added: 'When they realize the truth that we care very much about Africa, they will say that this is a very good country.'  Let us now ask him: Has his trip made Africans to know and like America?”


"Bush's Uganda Visit Fails To Impress"


Stephen Ouma stated in privately-owned weekly Sunday Observer (7/14):  "U.S. President George Walker Bush's visit to Uganda on Friday did little to help the lives of the poor Ugandan citizens in the the countryside.  Apart from announcing that he would strengthen security in East Africa which is becoming a home to groups linked to Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaeda, to curb terrorism, the visit lasted for less than the planned four hours.  Bush reaffirmed his offer of 15 billion dollars to fight AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean....   The U.S. president thanked Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni for his role in restoring peace in the Great Lakes region, and while he was talking, people in Burundi and DR-Congo were dying.  But to the consternation of all Ugandans Bush did not say anything about democracy in Uganda....  Uganda is one of the five states picked by Washington for a 100 million dollar scheme to help governments in the region tighten security to curb terrorism.  But the country's success in fighting AIDS has helped legitimize Museveni who came to power on January 26 after fighting a five year protracted war against Milton Obote." 


"Bush Will See Africans Suffering:  Will He Act Back In Washington?"


The English-language IPP Media-owned Financial Times declared (7/9):  "Though Bush will not set foot on Tanzanian soil, his first trip to Sub-Saharan Africa marks something of a change of heart....  Since taking office, and in particular after the 9/11 terrorist attacks inside the U.S., the Bush administration is starting to see Africa as a partner in fighting world-wide terrorism, as well as in promoting trade....  Most challenging to Bush's Africa trip is undoubtedly the great promises that his administration has made to Africa, but which has not yet been fulfilled....   We suggest that wherever President Bush lands in Africa, he should be held responsible for his promises so that once back in Washington, he may prod Congress to act on appropriation for the first year of money for the HIV/AIDS initiative....  Africa desperately needs another AGOA III past the 2008 deadline to give room for African nations making serious attempts to reform their economies to exploit the U.S. market...   A number of African countries, including Tanzania, have passed terrorism bills into law, this in part being an effort to support and complement the U.S. global anti-terror struggle.  The various verbal and paper promises that the U.S. has pledged for assisting Africa's fledgling economies, including money for the Congo Basin Initiative that will end unsustainable logging, have to be fulfilled now, not later.  Bush's African trip may reveal whether he is indeed a friend in need, or just a friend on paper."


UGANDA: "A Letter To The President"


The lead editorial in the government-controlled New Vision judged (7/16):  "Dear Mr President, congratulations for successfully hosting U.S. President George Bush’s four-hour stopover in Uganda last Friday aimed at highlighting Uganda’s brilliant success in fighting HIV/AIDS. You have indeed earned the distinction for being one of the very few African leaders to help slow down the spread of the hideous illness.  Yet, Mr President, even as you continue to fight HIV/AIDS and to highlight the need for free trade between Africa and developed countries, you should know that Uganda’s image is crumbling abroad. Increasingly, references to Uganda in the North American and European media seem to focus mostly on the 17-year war in the north and the impact it has had on young children.  The war in the north is likely to cast a long shadow on your other achievements. The time has come for you to call in a neutral third party to help bring about a negotiated settlement."


"Lessons Learned"


The government-controlled New Vision maintained (7/14):  "Hosting the president of the United States even for just four hours is not a simple task as Friday’s visit of George W. Bush showed. But there are many benefits to reap however brief that visit may have been....  It is normally the unending stories of disaster, war and hunger that attract the big media....  It was a big public relations success for government to get George Bush to Uganda where he praised our successful efforts to cut back AIDS, talked about business with the USA and campaigns against global terrorism. We need to capitalize on our successes and the present goodwill of the Americans and other donors to improve our welfare.  The AIDS struggle has put Uganda’s success story in the limelight. We have started exporting to the US markets under AGOA. We have stood firm against international terrorism. Ugandans need to focus now on how best to benefit from the various funds and facilities that the Americans have proposed in these fields.  Questions have been asked as to whether Bush will deliver on his promises made to Africa. We trust that the Americans are changing their attitude to Africa and that they will make good on their promises.  At least they have done so with AGOA."


"And The Winner Is... George Bush!"


The pro-opposition Sunday Monitor declared (7/13):  "Who is the real beneficiary of the president's whirlwind tour? When the State Department or whoever deals with this kind of stuff finally publishes the balance sheet of the president's African tour, who will be the real winners? Will it be the Africans who've had a juicy 15 billion dollar carrot dangled in front of their noses when in reality the said money is to be shared by many other countries, especially in the Caribbean region?....  On the other hand, Mr Bush is going to get his military bases in countries I am not going to name, to help in the war against terrorists. He will probably gain a crucial pocketful of African-American votes during the presidential elections of 2004. He could end up selling genetically modified produce to African countries....  But above all, he will have buried forever the specter of the gunslinging ruffian who scattered Al-Qaida and the Taliban and overran Iraq...coming across instead as a compassionate conservative who cares about the wretched of the earth."


"Welcome, Mr. President"


Presidential Advisor John Nagenda stated in government-controlled New Vision (7/12):  "You sometimes wonder whether Ugandans realize their good fortune. I forget how many nations there are on Mother Earth, but surely amongst the most favored is our own country. It is not even as if we are very large, or have a huge population. There we sit almost in the very center of Africa, having lived through some terrifying times. The presidency of the United States is second to none, and is likely to remain so until overtaken by China--probably not in my lifetime. And yet the two latest presidents...have chosen to visit us....  And this particular visit was made at short notice, due to the chemistry between Our Man and the American. It speaks volumes for Uganda too. It is not pure greed that makes me look at the gifts President Bush brings with him, for AIDS and for security. Some say they are bribes. And if so? Remember what happens at elections: swallow the bribe and vote your way! My only worry would be if the loot is lost in the post." "


"Bush Visit: Is It For Real Or Is It Tourism?"


Peter G. Mwesige editorialized in independent Monitor (7/10):  "Any American president visiting Africa is understandably big news, but Bush visiting the continent is even bigger news.  You will recall that this is the man who said in his 2000 presidential campaign that 'while Africa may be important, it does not fit into the national strategic interests, as far as I can see them.'  And of course back then he did not even know that Africa was a whole continent.  He once called it a country!...  So, should Africans dance and jump for joy?  According to the American newspapers, there is still significant skepticism both here and in Africa about the depth of Bush’s commitment to the continent.  'Is this for real or is this tourism?'...  But ultimately, my own sense is that we should not put all our hopes of turning Africa around in the U.S., Europe or other foreign powers."


"Waiting For George Bush"


Opiyo Oloya opined in government-controlled New Vision (7/9):  "For a president who never knew the world beyond Texas and Mexico, the African continent is suddenly real enough for him to reach out and touch it.  However, George Bush’s epiphany on Africa is not the result of a deeply felt moral conviction...  What has changed is that the U.S. now considers Africa to be of great 'strategic interest.'  Foremost is the reality following the terror attacks on America on 9/11....  Secondly, as President Bush approaches his re-election bid in 2004, he needs to reverse the perception that his America was always on the path to war.... So, to make sure that all goes well according to plan, and no one rains on his parade, Bush’s safari to the 'dark continent' will stay clear of trouble spots, dropping instead on success stories....  Yes, Africa has indeed gained strategic importance for America generally and for George Bush in specific.  But will George Bush even pay attention to the millions of displaced people currently rotting away in northern Uganda?... Will he commit serious American expertise in helping Africa’s teetering education system and land reform?  Let’s wait and see."


"Bush Should Have A Priority Policy On Democracy In Africa"


John Kakande opined in government-owned New Vision (7/9):  "The visit this week of United States President George Bush, to five African nations including Uganda, is a significant development.  The visit helps focus, at least temporarily, the world’s attention to Africa, a continent often forgotten because it is not considered an important actor in the global politics and economy.... There are some who think that the interest of the U.S. in Africa is oil and the war against international terrorism.  The Bush administration has to demonstrate that the Americans are not only after Africa’s riches, but the welfare of the Africans as well.  Mr. Bush should avoid repeating the mistakes of his predecessors. The current hostility against the U.S. is a legacy of its disastrous cold-war foreign policy.... Today, the Bush administration appears to be pursuing a similar foreign policy, allying with undemocratic regimes, as long as they are on the side of the U.S. in the war against international terrorism.  This unprincipled policy won’t lead to a free and prosperous Africa."


ZAMBIA:  "Change Of Heart?"


The government-owned Times of Zambia held (7/10):  "The grumbling about the African visit of United States President George Bush is understandable....  But is Bush such an unwelcome guest?  There are schools of thought that are crediting Bush for promoting the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) open up U.S. markets....  Bush has approved the sinking of $15 billion into...Africa's fight against its number one enemy, HIV/AIDS....  Another $100 million...into strengthening the anti-terror defences in vulnerable African countries....  Perhaps these are aspects that have been overlooked by those opposed to Bush and his foreign policy.  Those who remember his campaign [know Bust said that]...Africa would not be on his priority list.  Does his African visit signify a change of heart?  The AGOA initiative and his commitment to help combat AIDS in Africa are surely evidence that he has reconsidered his position on Africa....  Africa we think has a lot more to gain from dialogue with Bush...instead of expending its energies trying to make him feel unwelcome....  Africa needs American aid... to combat abject poverty and AIDS....  Above all, trade with America will go a long way to helping turn around the economies of many African nations."


"Laying The Basis For Hegemony"


The privately-owned and independent Post editorialized (7/10):  "We surely would have welcomed United States President George Bush's visit to Zambia.  And we agree with President Mwanawasa that it's a pity President Bush is not visiting Zambia.  President Bush should be welcomed in Zambia and Africa.  But as we said last week...President Bush's visit to Africa is not about promoting the economic well-being of the peoples of this continent, democracy and peace...[but] laying the basis for thorough-going and enduring United States military and economic hegemony....  If President Bush had come to our country, we would have pushed our leaders to...convey the overwhelming condemnation of the Iraq invasion,...highlight the crisis of under-development in our country and the continent,... and stress the importance of reinforcing international multilateral forums, especially the United Nations system....  It is President Bush's regime...undermining international dialogue and multi-lateralism...that advances the narrow interests of United States' multinational corporations at the expense of interests of people in developing countries."


ZIMBABWE: "Cyclone Bush Hits Africa"


Deputy editor Barnabas Thondhlana judged in the independent Daily News (7/13):  "Cyclone Bush has come and gone, leaving in its wake the gnashing of teeth!...  'If Mr. Bush is coming to seek cooperation, then he is welcome, but if he is coming to dictate what we should do, then we will say: go back home, Yankee,' Mugabe told his supporters in Chivi last weekend.  We can shout 'Yankee go home' until we are hoarse, but we cannot ignore Bush.  Be afraid, be afraid, Cyclone Bush is here."


"Bush Leaves Africa A Sober Man"


Munyaradzi Huni, political editor, held in the government-controlled Sunday Mail (7/13):  "One just had to follow the Texan as he traveled from Senegal, South Africa, Botswana, Uganda and Nigeria to see how sober Mr. Bush was getting as he came face to face with the stunning realities in Africa....  Despite the excitement, there are two things that are certain to happen after the Texan's visit.  One--this trip to Africa by Mr. Bush will definitely force America to re-think and re-shape its foreign policy towards Africa.  Two--this trip will definitely open up the eyes of the MDC leadership and make them realize that it's a waste of time to think Britain and America will smuggle them into power.  The game has to be played at home, and here in Zimbabwe."


"Bush Must Respect African Leadership"


The government-controlled Herald held (7/7):  "American leader Mr. George W. Bush begins his first visit to Africa...with very dirty hands after his alleged bungling of Iraq.  American and British troops stand accused of slaughtering thousands of unarmed civilians including women and children during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq....  Mr. Bush will be hoping to make the whole world believe that America cares about Africa despite ample evidence to the contrary....  Whatever his real motive for coming to Africa, Mr. Bush had better not dictate things to anyone....  While we know that no African leader worth his salt and who really knows America will accept to be used by the likes of Mr. Bush, we think an opportunity has arisen for the Texan to experience first-hand the rock-solid unity prevalent in Africa."




BRITAIN:  "At Last, Glimmers Of Light On The Dark Continent"


The conservative Times commented (7/8):  "President Bush’s visit to the continent shows that his Administration is aware that things are changing in Africa; that there is a second-generation democratic revolution which, properly handled, holds out considerable promise both for the continent and for the West....  The U.S. wishes to signal its support for the second-generation democrats and clearly wishes to see that group expand.  This is even more important to the strategic interests of the United States than oil.  For in the post-9/11 world three facts stand out.  First, failed states--of which Africa has many--are a breeding ground for terrorism.  Secondly, the U.S. is short of friends in the UN General Assembly--nearly a third of whose members are Africans.  And thirdly, these new African liberal leaders are America’s natural allies not just because they are free-market democrats, but also because they are fed up with the old mantras that have held sway in Africa."


"Bush Tracks"


The conservative Financial Times stated (7/7):  “Bush’s whistle-stop tour of five African countries this week promises to produce more show than substance but both he and Africa stand to benefit from it.  New concern for Africa may help rebuild some of the capital the U.S. has lost in Iraq in terms of international image....  Much more effort is still needed to tackle African poverty and the wars, disease and hunger associated with it....  But the sums pledged by the U.S. are significant enough to make a difference....  Africans are waiting to see how much Bush can actually deliver....  But money is not the biggest problem in Africa.  More important is the shortage of administrative capacity to use it properly.  The results of Bush’s policy will be better measured by the extent to which U.S. leverage succeeds in helping Africa meet its most pressing need, which is more effective government.”


"The African President"


The left-of-center Guardian argued (7/7):  “Bush’s arrival in Africa this week is a historic one....  For many years, Africa barely counted in U.S. foreign policy....  Bush will promote political reform and peace-building....  But Bush’s optimistic view is of an Africa prepared to pull itself out of poverty.  His refreshingly sunny assessments of Africa’s untapped potential are welcome....  [But], Bush has not done enough to make America’s trade and aid policies fairer.  Washington remains the meanest donor in the world....  America needs to present Africa with real opportunities, not just photo-opportunities, to make a difference.  In an interdependent world, America cannot afford to ignore Africa’s problems."


"Give Thanks That Bush Is Now Half Right About Africa"


The centrist Independent editorialized (7/7):  “[Bush] deserves praise for his engagement with the vast problems of the continent....  But nothing will be to long-term avail unless the foundations of Africa’s primarily agricultural economies are built on secure ground.  That would require Bush to pass the hardest test of all for a modern politician, and take on the economic vested interests of American producers.  But, in that, we Europeans have no better claim--and possibly a lesser one--to virtue.


FRANCE:  "Fighting AIDS In Botswana"


Caroline Dumay held in right-of-center Le Figaro (7/11):  "If President Bush has chosen Botswana it is because this South African nation compounds two things that sets it apart: it is a model of good governance and one of the countries with the highest rate of HIV positive cases in the world."


"Bush Is Betting On Africa"


Jacques Amalric opined in left-of-center Liberation (7/10):  “When he stated during the presidential campaign that Africa did not represent a 'strategic interest' for the U.S., George Bush was simply following in the line of his predecessors....  9/11 and the war in Iraq changed everything, by bringing the war on terrorism to the front of the stage, these events brought Africa out of the shadows....  Another concern that motivated President Bush’s trip to Africa was to give a more 'compassionate' image of the U.S. following the unilateral intervention in Iraq that was as unpopular in Africa as it was elsewhere....  Finally the President intends to change his image with African Americans, who only gave him 10 percent of their votes in the last election.”


"Bush The African"


Bernard Guetta told listeners on state-run France Inter this morning (7/10): “In Europe, Latin America, in Russia and Asia, the U.S. has economic and political interests to uphold.... This is not the case for Africa.  Africa is potentially rich, certain states have oil, a lot of oil.  But for a President of the United States confronted with the problem of Iraq, the Middle East, terrorism, the Franco-German dissidence and the rest, Africa is anything but a priority.  And yet George Bush is not there as a tourist....  In Africa George Bush is affirming his concept of world order....  He is showing that despite the U.S. position on the environment, the UN, the ICC, and despite its unilateralism, the U.S. still has supporters including the poorest of the poor countries....  Even if Nelson Mandela refused to meet with Bush and the South African press has been raging against him, it is not important. 'Who cares if they like me as long as they see me?'  After all, Africa represents some fifty countries and as many votes at the UN....  The Iraqi crisis proved that it is not a continent to cast aside....  This trip certainly cannot hurt, the question is whether it will do any good, the jury is out, as the Americans say.” 


"President Bush’s Strange Africa"


Richard Labeviere commented on Radio France Internationale (7/8):  “Oil will be the common thread throughout President Bush’s Africa trip....  Morality or human rights will not come into the picture.  Washington is Equatorial Guinea’s number one partner.  And Equatorial Guinea happens to be Africa's third oil producer, but also one of the most brutal and ridiculous regimes in Africa.  What counts for the U.S. first and foremost, as proven by the war in Iraq, is securing its sources of oil.  This means favoring a useful Africa, the one that borders the Gulf of Guinea, from Nigeria to Angola.”


"Bush’s African Ambitions With Reelection On His Mind"


Christine Holzbauer judged in centrist La Tribune (7/8):  “President Bush’s African program reflects the expectations of America’s public opinion....  Most commentators agree that President Bush’s Africa trip confirms his desire to include Africa as one of his foreign affairs priorities even if he has electoral ulterior motives.”


"Bush To Face African Skepticism"


Caroline Dumay contended in right-of-center Le Figaro (7/7):  “In a region where there has been some criticism of the military intervention in Iraq, President Bush will have to answer those critics who consider that his trip to Africa is essentially triggered by the search for new energy sources and military bases for American troops.  In addition, President Bush will have to deal with increasing pressure urging him to send a peace force to Liberia....  To prove that his only concern is not going to war, President Bush is bringing with him a gift of 15 billion dollars for the fight against AIDS....  But President Bush’s generosity is also triggering skepticism among certain opponents....  The Africans are all the more skeptical because they know that the aid will be tied to their conditional ‘good governance,’ both political and economic.  Pleasing the U.S. means following certain rules....  A check, a carrot and a stick: President Bush would never engage in such a trip without a minimum amount of insurance.”


GERMANY:  “Above All Education”


Center-right Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin commented (7/14):  “One can laud President Bush for his anti-AIDS initiative.  For Bush has achieved with his visit to Africa that the continent is back in the limelight, and one of its most urgent problems is back on the agenda.  The last person to do this was Nelson Mandela when he admitted that the ANC had remained silent on the issue in order not to lose the elections....  At the close of the recent African Union meeting, Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi stated that AIDS was a disease only affecting homosexuals and is used as a pretext to re-colonize Africa.  Therefore, Bush’s aid counts--also as support against stupidity and prejudice.”


"Words And Deeds"


Center-right Ostthueringer Zeitung of Gera observed (7/11):  "With the 15 billion dollars President Bush promised for the fight against AIDS, there are sound and impressive attempts to help the weak African states.  But this aid package must still be approved by Congress.  With respect to other things he has in his luggage, Bush made only promises and announcements, whose compliance is by no means certain.  Time will tell whether deeds will match words.  But even in the government in Washington the insight is slowly gaining the upper hand that poverty and hopelessness in connection with indifference offer the best nurturing ground for international terrorism."


"Goal Will Be Missed"


Center-right Maerkische Oderzeitung of Frankfurt on the Oder contended (7/11):  "Because the superpower dodges and its president is maneuvering, the president's trip to Africa will not reach its goal.  It was planned as a red herring to distract attention from the disastrous situation in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The trip to the Black Continent is turning into the opposite of what it wanted to achieve.  Bush was unable to present himself as benefactor, but had to answer instead unpleasant questions over falsified intelligence reports used to advocate the Iraq mission.  At the latest then it became clear that the president could also become domestically in trouble.  The previously lame opposition is seeing its chance for the presidential elections next year."


"America Discovers Africa"


Joachim Zeppelin commented in business Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg (7/7):  "Bush's words on Africa sound promising--as is required by the image of a political doer.  But with his casual offhandedness, Bush cannot do justice to the problems of Africa.  For instance, Bush did not mention the deeply-rooted corruption which is paralyzing the development of the continent.  And thus far, the U.S. superpower has shown little interest in the bloody civil wars that are being waged in Africa....  The United States is mainly interested in oil from Africa....  African oil offers Washington a strategically precious alternative to the oil resources of the Arab countries."


ITALY:  "Botswana, Hope For Africa"


Nicol Degli Innocenti noted in leading business  Il Sole-24 Ore (7/11):  “Bush, recalling that he has promised to pledge $15 billion in five years in the fight against AIDS, demonstrated that the U.S. ‘is not only a powerful country, but also a compassionate one.’  Both the compassion and financial commitment of the U.S. will once again be in the limelight today when Bush arrives in Uganda, the second to the last stop of his African trip and another country in the forefront in the fight against AIDS.”


"The Economy Strengthens Relations Between U.S. And South Africa"


Nicol Degli Innocenti judged in leading business  Il Sole-24 Ore (7/10):  “While the spotlight is focused on the tight economic relations that bind South Africa and the United States, there is complete silence on the numerous contrasts regarding foreign policy, for example the war in Iraq: following their meeting in Pretoria yesterday, President George W. Bush and his South African counterpart Thabo Mbeki stated that they were in 'full agreement’ on everything.  Bush, on the second stop of his African trip, defined Mbeki a leader who is admirable for his determination to guide Africa towards democracy, good governance, peace and development. The two presidents thusly buried their disagreements on the war in Iraq, which Africa had strongly opposed. Mbeki remained silent, yesterday, while Bush defended his decision to invade Iraq and to oust Saddam Hussein.”


"’I Condemn Slavery As The Worst of Crimes’"


Ennio Caretto commented in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (7/9):  “The picture of George Bush walking through ‘the door of no return’ in Goree, the fortress which saw two million blacks taken to the West as slaves, is a clear metaphor.  The U.S. President seems to be saying that the U.S. has come to Africa as a partner, after the end of colonialism, to stay and to start it off on the road of freedom and justice.  He stated this in public during the first leg of his trip, with a speech in which he commits to fight the endemic evils of war, terrorism and AIDS.  He reaffirmed this at the end of his meetings with the Economic Community of Western Africa, promising that the U.S. will participate in the pacification of Liberia, but without specifying how.  This is also an implicit challenge to Europe, the warning that it intends to subtract Africa from its area of influence....  The redemption of Africa is the superpower’s new mission.”


"Oil And Fight Against Terrorism In Bush’s Africa"


Maurizio Molinari opined in centrist, influential La Stampa (7/8):  “The fight against terrorism and the search for alternative sources of oil are the two undeclared topics of President Bush’s five-day trip to Africa....  The agenda on oil is connected to the fight against terrorism because Vice President Dick Cheney has been pushing, since the day after the attack on the Twin Towers, to reduce energy dependency on the unstable area of the Persian Gulf and in particular on Saudi Arabia."


"Bush The African Challenges Europe"


Ennio Caretto wrote in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (7/6):  "Free of Europe’s colonial past, anxious to prevent the birth of a 'black Afghanistan'...the U.S. hopes to establish a military presence in Africa and to exploit its oil resources without losing popularity among the people....  Bush the African will not be benevolently welcomed by everyone....  But the president is hoping to begin a new chapter in relations with Africa, based on dialogue and cooperation.  He will challenge Europe, and particularly France by underscoring strong accusations against them regarding their opposition to GMOs--which according to Bush would contribute to resolving famine problems in the Third World--and hinders trade to the detriment of African exports."


RUSSIA:  "Africa Included In Orbit Of U.S. Influence"


Alexei Andreyev commented in liberal Nezavisimaya Gazeta (7/15):  "The visit to Senegal where many ancestors of the present-day Afro-Americans lived set quite a 'high note' to the entire trip.  Indeed, until now Africa has been regarded as a continent that is not in the orbit of the geopolitical influence of the U.S.  Bush decided to rectify the situation, and he is quite good at it.  Actually the establishment of a counterweight to Europe's traditional influence on the black continent has been stated....  Among other things, Bush discussed with African leaders the shipments of gas and oil to the market.  The share of oil in the countries of Tropical Africa is not critical but they have traditionally filled certain niches of the world market, i.e., ensuring the stability of that market.  Now many billions will have to be invested in Iraq, as it is necessary to restore and develop the oil industry, but it is a factor of time.  The demand does not wait, however.  One can also look at the oil and gas situation from the following angle: the U.S. has imposed its control on the oil extracting Middle East; has strengthened itself through its companies in the Caspian area and in Uzbekistan; and Russia has also been 'tied up' in the oil shipments process.  Turkey, a major territory in terms of the transit of energy resources, remains a reliable ally.  Now Africa is next in line."


"Bush Was Not Very Eagerly Awaited" 


Vyacheslav Tetekin remarked in neo-Communist Sovetskaya Rossia (7/12):  "The U.S. continues to plunder Africa even today.  Only the technology of plunder has changed.  The Africans are no longer being taken to the U.S.  They are being exploited in Africa itself, forced to produce and supply to the U.S. for a pittance the most rare minerals, including oil.  Thus Bush shed crocodile tears in Senegal, apologizing for slave trade. Strictly speaking, nobody needed his excuses very much.  It was clear that the spectacle was intended for Afro-American voters whose number and influence is growing in the U.S."


BELGIUM:  "Sudden Missionary Urge"


Lieve Dierckx declared in financial De Financieel-Economische Tijd (7/12):  “U.S. President George W. Bush spent the last few days in Africa....  How can one explain the Texan’s sudden missionary urge?....  More than ever the Americans are aware that poor--African--countries with weak governments are ideal soils for terrorism and perfect bridgeheads for terrorists.  Furthermore, the recent war in Iraq confronted the Americans with another old problem: their dependence on the Middle East for their oil supplies....  Alternatives are required.  After a quick examination of the market, they focused on Africa--and Nigeria in particular....  There is also an electoral motive behind Bush’s sudden trip to Africa....  The Texan knows from experience that each vote counts--not only the votes of his conservative electorate but also the votes of the black community."


"President Bush’s African Trip"


Serge Vandaele commented in financial L’Echo (7/10):  “This new image of a President who cares about the Africans’ well-being is probably related to the preparation of the 2004 Presidential campaign.  Faced with a public opinion that has a problem with the almost daily American casualties in Iraq, President Bush wants to appear as a man of peace....  NGOs and human rights defense organizations--which have not forgotten that, not a long time ago, the same President said that Africa did not have any particular interest--are accusing Bush of hypocrisy and manipulation.”


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Africa Again On the Map"


Milan Vodicka observed in the mainstream MF Dnes (7/15):  "Africa and Bush need each other.  It is obvious why Africa needs Bush, but it is less certain why it is also true the other way around....  Dearly paid-for experience tells Bush that failed states can be dangerous for America.  The U.S. also needs allies, even the ones who wear rags, as was shown at the UN this spring....   And there is also one more motive:  Bush already demonstrated in the past that he is sympathetic to people in need....  Nevertheless, he has promised more than he will perhaps be able to deliver.  But he does not deserve strong criticism for that: the important thing is that Africa will at least get something.  And one even more important thing has happened.  It looked as if Africa had become a side casualty of the war in Iraq and the world would turn its back on it.  But now, Africa reappeared on the world map.  However, the test for Bush is yet to come.  It was important to put Africa back on the map, but it will be even more important to keep it there."


"Bush In Africa For The First Time"


Michaela Rozov commented in center-right  Lidove Noviny (7/9):  "Bush is the first Republican President to set foot in Africa.  However, even the current visit...doesn't indicate whether renewed interest in the continent is not merely a pose for TV cameras."


FINLAND:  "President Bush In Africa"


Social Democratic Demari editorialized (7/8):  "Africa is poor, sick and hungry.  The rich United States has plenty to give.  Bush's visit is important and noteworthy but there are also suspicions about the real motives.  Skeptics suggest that in keeping with the all-American traditions, President Bush will merely seek to promote the interests of major American companies and, citing hunger in Africa, dump American surpluses of genetically altered crops there."


HUNGARY:  “Bush’s Five Days In Africa”


Leading Hungarian-language Nepszabadsag maintained (7/12):  "As African analysts already assess: President Bush has put down more on the table than the unambiguously pro-Africa and more liberal ex-president, Bill Clinton.  As a matter of fact, the food products for the assistance in aid are bought from the American and not from the African farmers.  The AIDS program, on behalf of the American conservatives, focuses on 'abstinence,' instead of campaigning for the use of condoms.  The money earmarked for security purposes will be used for fighting against the al-Qaida, which has found East Africa one of its best sites to attack American interests.  We shouldn’t at all be looking for consistency in the American approach [to Africa].  Now Vice President Cheney rejected sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa earlier.  He even vetoed the Congress’s resolution calling for the release of imprisoned Nelson Mandela.  It is also unclear why has Uganda, a dictatorship, finally been included in President Bush’s schedule, instead of the more likely option of Kenya.  Uganda’s army has played a paramount role in the total ransacking of the Democratic Republic of Congo.”


IRELAND:  "Enlightening Few In The Heart Of Darkness"


Marion McKeone argued in centrist, weekly Sunday Tribune (7/13):  “Bush's five-day, five-nation trip was high on feel good factors....  Aside from acknowledgement of the wrong visited on Africa by the slave trade, Bush also acknowledged that the U.S. farm subsidies he ushered in were ‘part of the problem’ facing the African economy.  He didn’t offer any prospect of change however that would leaven the economic playing field....  Bush didn’t address the issue of canceling third-word debt and offered little in the way of concrete help for Africa’s economic woes, other that vague assurances of U.S. sympathy and understanding....  The president appeared to vacillate on the issue of sending U.S. troops to Liberia....  On the AIDS front, the president appeared to offer more concrete help....  The AIDS package ($15 billion) was warmly welcomed when it was first announced but there are doubts about how much of this money is going to materialize and when....  While Bush’s attempts to raise the profile of U.S. involvement in the region and to raise awareness of AIDS are laudable, his efforts are hamstrung by a number of harsh realities; the U.S. pharmaceutical industry has fought for years to prevent people in poor countries from having access to affordable, generic drugs and the Bush administration has been largely supportive of its efforts.”


"The U.S. And Africa"


Center-left Irish Times held (7/10):  "The visit by President George Bush to Africa could be a welcome signal that the U.S. has concluded that the continent's a matter of strategic interest to the world's most powerful nation.  It could be, but many will take some convincing.  The serious engagement by the U.S. in the sort of Marshall Plan for Africa...would make anything possible....  Despite its protestations to the contrary, the U.S. is still devoting only some 0.11 percent of GNP to development aid....  The contrast between that $11 billion a year and the $80 billion committed by the recent U.S. Farm Bill to its farmers speaks volumes....  And then there's the matter of oil....  Some $200 billion in oil revenues is expected to flow into African government coffers over 10 years....  That could lay the basis of Africa's salvation.  But colossal economic and strategic interests are at stake which have as much to do with U.S. hopes to negotiate the establishment of a network of military bases across Africa as do concerns about the spread of Al Qaeda's influence."


"Out Of Africa"

Center-right Independent opined (7/10):  "President Bush's tour of Africa is a welcome opportunity to show the world that America is more than prepared to look beyond its own immediate strategic and commercial fields of interest....  The public snubbing of Nelson Mandela by the Bush administration did not augur well for the tour but yesterday's embracing of South African President Thabo Mbeki by Mr. Bush as ‘the point man’ to resolve Zimbabwe's crisis suggests there is room for bridge building....  Mr. Bush has good reasons to strengthen links with Africa, not all of which are entirely altruistic.  African oil and the possibility that al-Qaida might seek to establish valuable bases will not have escaped his attention.  The pledge to deliver $15 billion to the fight against the AIDS pandemic is, however, a persuasive statement of good intent.  With 800 million people dependent in the world on food aid there is plenty of scope for the world's biggest economy to set an example.”


NORWAY:  "Five African Days For Bush"


Bjarte Botnen editorialized in the Christian Democratic newspaper Vaart Land (7/9):  "Bush needs to show that the U.S. not only hunts down scoundrels in Asia, but also wants to help the poor in Africa - either the starving, or those threatened by AIDS...  Now the USA wants to use 100 million dollars on helping East-African countries with security and control, and the money will surely be useful. But there are so many other things needed, both aid in different areas and trade relief.  It is often the case that American food donations to hungry Africans are also subsidies to American farmers.  But it is not only the Americans who are looking out for Number One, as The Economist never tires of reminding us: In Western-Europe every year more subsidies go to each cow than an African farmer earns.”


"Rescuer And Object Of Hatred"


Tove Gravdal commented in newspaper-of-record Aftenposten (7/8):  "President George W. Bush starts his tour to Africa today, where he will sprinkle monetary gifts and exhortations over a continent plagued by chronic poverty and our the worst plague of our time, the AIDS epidemic....  American citizens matter most to Bush. Everything indicates that the motivation for rescuing African human lives first and foremost is to protect Americans. The vision in Washington is that the fight against poverty also is a fight against terrorism.”


SLOVENIA:  "Concern For Africa"


Avgust Pudgar stated in left-of-center Delo (7/9):  "Before the visit, Washington announced that the United States would earmark 15 billion dollars for fighting AIDS...and 100 million dollars for war against terrorism in eastern Africa....  The 15 billion dollars...will go into the pockets of pharmaceutical multinationals that sell medicines at such high prices that less than 10% of the sick can afford it.... The 100 million ‘anti-terrorist dollars’ will be spent on the protection of America’s interests in Kenya and Tanzania....  Anti-terrorist support is also meant for Uganda, Ethiopia, and the enclave Djibouti....  The American president will offer free trade agreements to the Republic of South Africa and other countries in the south.  The offer is absolutely welcome for weak economies, but avoids something African countries have alerted the superpower and other developed countries to: only for cotton growers, the United States earmarks 4 billion dollars yearly, which destroys African producers....  Washington says that the purpose of Bush’s trip is to spur economic cooperation between the United States and Africa; however, it has to be noted that less than 1% of foreign investments by the superpower go to Sub-Saharan Africa, three quarters of that for the oil industry.  American politicians do not hide that...they are above all interested in oil exporters Nigeria, Angola, and Gabon."


SPAIN: "Africa's Challenge For Bush"


Independent El Mundo held (7/8):  "The trip begun yesterday by George W. Bush to sub-Saharan Africa...takes place in a certain climate of skepticism in which both Western indifference regarding the increasing ruin of postcolonial Africa and Bush's very background play a role.  Today, [Bush] is seen as the 'super hawk' of Iraq, someone who knows no other foreign policy than that of the marines....  For Bush and his government, black Africa has gained in strategic importance since 9/11 for essentially self-interested reasons: that region of the world has a significant Muslim population that is very young, and poor.  It could become a hotbed of terrorism as important as the Middle East....  But the U.S. does not want surgical solutions, rather development....   Many facts remain to be seen before putting aside skepticism....  Africa has been essentially abandoned to its sad fate for years, and if the U.S. decides to lend a hand the sign of its destiny might perhaps finally change."


SWEDEN:  "Demand Democracy In Africa"


Conservative Stockholm-based Svenska Dagbladet remarked (7/8):  "President Bush's travel to Africa is more important than most people may think....  Africa is an inseparable part of the global network.  Developments in Africa have inevitable effects on the rest of the world...and many of the leaders who President Bush will meet can play important roles to help to bring about solutions of the many existing problems.  President Bush should clearly state what he expects from them....  More countries should copy President Bush's position that economic assistance should be linked to a certain level of democracy.  The best contribution by the U.S. and the West would be opening domestic markets rather than increasing economic assistance and President Bush might take the lead in this regard."




ALGERIA:  "Bush In Africa: One Visit Many Questions"


French-language independent L’Expression stated (7/9):  “Since yesterday, the U.S. president has lived as an alien in a foreign continent.  So what could Africans expect from the United States?  Yesterday, U.S. President G. W. Bush arrived in Dakar and took part in a summit along with eight West African Presidents.... The American President acknowledged his intention to promote his country’s efforts to provide assistance in the African war against AIDS and the continent’s attempts to accelerate widespread economic development.  He also expressed his enthusiasm to bolster existing cooperation in the fight against terrorism....  Some observers expressed their surprise in seeing Bush focusing on Africa while Iraq, peace in the Middle East, and North Korea, continue to monopolize his foreign agenda.”




Riyadh's English-language moderate Riyadh Daily stressed (7/12):  "Perhaps no U.S. president has ever been bogged down during a foreign tour over a health issue, as has been George W. Bush....  He made it a point of to highlight the fact he is indeed serious in supporting efforts to flight the disease....  Bush's visit has indeed helped in highlighting the problem.  But solely relying on American assistance will not help....  Individual African countries would need to boost their internal awareness efforts to educate the largely illiterate masses on the dangers of drug abuse and promiscuity--both leading causes of the HIV infection.  Without such concreted efforts, no amount of Western help will really do any good."


"Bush in Africa"

Jeddah's English language Arab News suggested (7/10):  "Africa...matters more to the Americans than Africa may suspect.  Wise governments will use this fact to drive deals with Washington, which do not allow the tentacles of U.S. economic power to re-colonize their countries.  It will not by any means easy.  But it is surely crucial that this new era of closer relations between Africa and the U.S. starts off on the right foot."


MOROCCO:  "What Does Bush Want From Africa?"


Mohamed Kyayrat opined in independent weekly Al-Ayyam (7/10):  "U.S. President George Bush is visiting five African countries, that were carefully chosen in a clear message intended to serve U.S. policy interests....  No matter how Bush tries to dress up his visit in a humane manner, he cannot hide his real intentions.  He wants to win a second Presidential mandate at any cost.  He also wants to sell the U.S. economic and political model, and finally, he wants everyone to embrace his firm conviction in fighting terrorism....  Bush and his decision-makers in Washington will have made a big mistake if they deal with Africa from a cowboy mentality, because President Bush will only garner bitterness and recriminations.  I hope that Bush will recall Nelson Mandela's remarks, when he said that America had become a danger for world peace and that President Bush could not think in a sound manner.  The evidence is the amount of hatred that the average American is feeling and for which he cannot find an explanation."


TUNISIA:  "A Tense Welcome"


Tahar Selmi remarked in independent French-language weekly Tunis-Hebdo (7/14):  “Rather than creating a source of comfort, George Bush's trip to Africa has raised apprehensions....  The promises of the American commitments concerning development on the continent and the struggle against the spread of AIDS have not been taken seriously....  American foreign policy is accused of being ‘led by interests and not by principles.’  Justice, rights, morals and values are notions that the White House has deserted since the arrival of President Bush.  They confirm that Bush’s only preoccupations are ‘his interior security, the expansion of American enterprises and the security of U.S. strategic products, particularly oil.'  This explains his choice of visiting Nigeria, Senegal and Guinea, which are considered as ‘vital for the future U.S. supplies of oil.'”




AUSTRALIA:  "A Continent Full Of Challenge For The U.S."


The liberal Age held (7/10):  “[President Bush’s] interest in the troubled continent has been triggered, according to some analysts, by fears of what Africa might become rather than what has already occurred there.  Mr. Bush might well fear that parts of Africa, with its myriad regimes, could become hot-houses for terrorists who could ultimately threaten the U.S.  Such a myopic vision might accord with a conservative American world view.  A more generous interpretation of Mr. Bush's motives acknowledges that the President has genuine concerns about the wellbeing of Africa's 858 million people....  Many African nations remain deeply skeptical not just of the Bush administration but more generally of American foreign policy.”


"The Challenge Of Saving Africa"


The editorial in the conservative Australian read (7/9):  “Mr. Bush is concerned that Africa could become the next platform for operations by al-Qa'ida, now that its training camps in Afghanistan have been closed down. While his concern is justified, it is lax security and the breakdown of law and order, fed by civil war, that have rendered Africa vulnerable to terrorist infiltration--not Muslim fundamentalism....  Aid must from now on be linked to verifiable benchmarks of reform and governance. And just as multinational non-government organizations have done Africa no economic favors by fostering a culture of collectivism, they have cynically undermined the war on starvation by spreading lies about GM agriculture, convincing African nations not to grow GM crops, and to reject GM food aid. This must be fought.”


CHINA: "Bush In Africa"


Dai Adi commented in official Xinhua Daily Telegraph (Xinhua Meiri Dianxun, 7/14):  "Looking from his words and actions during the trip, and as the first Republican American president to visit Africa, Bush aims at earning  both a good reputation and other benefits.  On the one hand, he held up the  flag of 'helping the poor' to improve the U.S.' international image; on the other hand, he held up another flag of 'anti-terrorism' to stress the cooperation between the U.S. and Africa to insure U.S. strategic interests in Africa'....  However, taking an overall look at Bush's trip to Africa, people can easily find that Bush has talked and committed a lot during the trip, while there are no specific measures and actions....  We have to say that Bush has taken great pains for the trip."


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "African Oil--A Vital U.S. Interest?"


Sunanda Kisor Datta-Ray wrote in the independent English-language South China Morning Post (7/15):  "Generous with funds to combat AIDS, contain terrorism and promote economic growth and political stability, Mr. Bush was outraged when an African journalist asked whether the need to reduce dependence on Saudi Arabia--which accounts for 25 percent of U.S. oil imports--inspired last week's tour.... Domestic sources provide only 2 percent of the oil and 3 per cent of the gas that Americans consume....  America's chief executive would thus be failing in his duty if he did not seek safe new sources of oil....  Massive oil finds have turned the Niger Delta into a hotbed of warring factions....  But 25 percent of Africa's oil revenues simply disappear.  Corrupt regimes are not entirely to blame, for global consortiums pay them huge under-the-table subsidies....  Mr. Bush can help [if]...instead of denying any interest in African oil, he acknowledges that transparent legal measures to further America's legitimate economic interests in Africa would also benefit millions of Africans."


"Bush Must Live Up To Promise Of African Tour"


The independent English-language South China Morning Post editorialized (7/7):  "Much has been promised by George W. Bush in the run up to his five-nation tour of Africa which begins tomorrow.  The U.S. president has sought to underline his administration's commitment to the troubled continent, pledging support in a wide range of areas from combating AIDS to guarding against terrorism.  But his promise to promote democracy, economic growth and an end to human suffering will have to be matched by action if he is even to begin to help Africa solve the many problems it faces....  Mr. Bush will have an uphill task in persuading critics that the U.S. is genuine in its commitment to helping Africa.  He has to show there is more to the trip than just a public relations exercise aimed primarily at tackling U.S. worries about terrorism, helping U.S. companies benefit from trade and boosting his own image."


CHINA (MACAU SAR): "President Bush Politics Embracing Africa"


Independent afternoon Suara Pembaruan commented (7/16): “Bush was warmly welcomed with flowers, traditional dances, U.S. flags and friendly speeches. However, in South Africa a big rally ‘blocked’ President Bush by burning U.S. flags. Many African countries are against U.S. military action in Iraq. President Bush and the U.S. State Department acknowledged the anti-Washington sentiment. Therefore, President Bush sought to ‘embrace’ the heads of the states/governments and the people of the countries he visted… In Abuja…Bush told President Olusegum Obasanja that the U.S. would not allow terrorism to hit Africa and international world. Bush hinted that the fight against terrorism has almost become a stereotype.  But this implicitly has shown President Bush’s ambition and obsession to be consistent with his political commitment to eradicating terrorism.” 


PHILIPPINES:  "Bush Turns His Attention To Africa"


Beth D. Romulo noted in the conservative Manila Bulletin (7/8):  “The only indication prior to this...trip that Bush was looking at Africa was when he called last year for increased funding to fight AIDS....  So someone has got his ear on the enormous problems that infect the African continent, and convinced him of America’s ‘moral need’ to aid them.  Africa has not been a front burner issue for U.S. presidents since it is so remote from America...that it eludes local political pressure.  But now that the tenacious Mr. Bush has focused on Africa and Africa’s problems, who knows what will happen?  Beleaguered African countries may have won their first U.S. presidential advocate.”




PAKISTAN:  "Bush's African Safari"


Maqbool Ahmad Bhatty observed in the Karachi-based center-left independent national English-language Dawn (7/12):  "At a time when thoughts of re-election must be uppermost in his mind, President George W. Bush has started a journey to Africa that would not have been considered a high priority destination for the president a few months ago....  But judging from his first pronouncements, one can see that this is primarily an exercise in image building, presenting America as a world leader and offsetting the adverse global reactions to pre-emption in Iraq.  The also quite relevant to electioneering, given the size of the Afro-American vote in the U.S....  President Bush's tour will be too short to influence the political, economic and social trends in Africa in a significant way.  However, even keeping his priorities of helping Africa fight AIDS, terrorism and poverty and brushing his own and his country's image as the world leader in mind, one hopes that he will help encourage trends and policies that will bring hope and justice to the impoverished and neglected millions of the Dark Continent."


"From The Cradle To The Grave"


Mahir Ali stated in the Karachi-based center-left independent national English-language Dawn (7/9):  "Traveling through Africa can be a mind-expanding experience.  That's probably asking for too much in Bush's case.  And while one would like to think that lavishing such attention on Africa makes a welcome change from past policy, the record of the present U.S. administration impels one to fear for the nations it suddenly begins to heed....  What can the world do for Africa?  Quite a lot, actually.  Truly free and fair trade would be a start--and not so much a favor as simply the right thing to do.  One of the main reasons African farmers cannot compete with their western counterparts is the hefty agricultural subsidies, which not only mean that the European and American markets are effectively shut to them, but also enable the U.S. to dump its agricultural surplus in Africa....  Aid dependence isn't good for Africa, and handouts are obviously no substitute for the sort of investment that could help establish a manufacturing base."




CANADA:  "Heed Africa's Agenda"


The liberal Toronto Star opined (7/9): "Bush faces legitimate criticism that he's not doing enough.  His entire $25 billion African package for the next five years pales beside the $79 billion Congress has already authorized for the Iraq war.  The UN yesterday appealed again for a doubling of global aid to $100 billion, to speed Africa's growth and to fight hunger and disease.  Like most donors, the U.S. has been slow to respond, although it never seems to lack cash to wage war.  Nor has Washington struck down barriers to African trade.  U.S. cotton farmers get three times the aid given to sub-Saharan Africa.  Still, Bush is paying more heed to Africa's agenda than some presidents, and at a time when his attention is tugged elsewhere.  Those who see this trip as an occasion to express their frustration with the U.S. should give him credit for that."


"Missionary Zeal Propels Bush On African Safari"


Columnist Richard Gwyn commented in the liberal Toronto Star (7/9):  "Bush's most important contribution to Africa won't be any policy announcements he makes or any rhetoric that he indulges in this week.  It will be in the investment of presidential prestige in a tour of Africa that will take him from west to east and down to its deep south.  In Iraq these days, Bush can't afford to fail, for obvious national security interests, but also because of the loss of face he would suffer.  In a less dramatic way, the same will apply in Africa once his tour is over.  Thereafter, he will have to keep trying or confirm that this trip was just a diplomatic pleasantry."


ARGENTINA:  "U.S. Purposes In Africa"


Leading Clarin took this view (7/12):  "With very few exceptions, the African continent...has been...the repeated scene of the most terrible exploitation of natural resources, ethnic conflicts and civil wars, a haven for ferocious dictatorships and, at the same time, a passive observer of huge massacres, despite humanitarian efforts and aid.  Accompanied by his main advisors on foreign issues--Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell (both of them of African descent)--Bush placed himself in a good position in history by remembering slavery as one of the most barbaric crimes of humanity.  Nevertheless, the U.S., as well as the European countries that divided black Africa among themselves to establish their colonial regimes...have enormous debts with the African countries that are struggling today to rescue their peoples from hunger, poverty, diseases and general violence."


"The New Emperor Of Africa"


Leftist Pagina 12 contended (7/6):  "Fears that a bad economic and social situation may be a brewing pot for terrorism, but also the region's important oil reserves have fueled the interest of the Bush administration for a continent that the U.S. president will visit for the first time since he took office. A good number of African countries are incipient oil producers and U.S. companies have set an eye on them in their search of alternative energy sources."


BRAZIL:  "The Necessary Help"


Right-of-center O Globo commented (7/11):  "President Bush's trip to Africa is unexpected but not surprising.  It's part of his fight against terror.  More precisely against Bin Laden's al-Qaida.  In an abandoned Africa, extremist groups grow as they did in the Taliban's Afghanistan.  And U.S. citizens and interests become easy targets....  But, Islamic terrorist activities are a lesser problem in a continent devastated by apocalyptic scourges like hunger and war.  In Liberia, for example, a calamitous civil war destabilizes Western Africa....  And why not stimulate African agriculture instead of insisting on packages of humanitarian aid of questionable results?  The agricultural subsidies of rich countries prevent poor African farmers from attaining competitiveness conditions. It's essential that this policy be reviewed....  The truth is that nobody needs help as much as Africa does, and nobody is able to help as much as the United States can.  Africa will only stop being a hot-bed of diseases and atrocities...when one recognizes that Africans are in more need of help than of charity." 


MEXICO:  "George Bush In Africa"


Gabriel Guerra Castellanos commented in independent Reforma (7/14):  "President Bush's trip to Africa was full of choreographed press opportunities, but the President encountered several ghosts.  The most pressing issue has to do with AIDS.  He disclosed an ambitious plan to donate 15 billion dollars in a five-year period to fight the disease.  But his announcement had a flaw: only two of the first three billion in donations has been passed by Congress....  Regarding the war in Liberia, the calls from neighboring nations, regional powers and European countries for the U.S. to participate in a peace-keeping force have not been heard by the White House....  Hunger is another major problem.  What Africa needs is better trade conditions and support for changes in infrastructure, rather than limitations on the part of international organizations -- a cow bred in Europe receives an average of 2.5 dollars a day in subsidies, this is far more than the average African has to survive on.  The last ghost to haunt Bush was his remark in the State of the Union address that Saddam Hussein had tried to purchase uranium in Africa to develop nuclear weapons.  The controversy over this matter follows Bush as a recurring theme, and it is likely to bring about the CIA director’s dismissal and become a campaign issue."


COLOMBIA:  "African Drums"


An op-ed by Economist Abdon Espinosa Valderrama in national El Tiempo asserted (7/15):

“The spectacular trip (of President Bush) has been useful to highlight the sorrows of the areas visited....  Hunger and tribal violence cannot be defeated by democracy and free trade theories alone.... The Presidents of Mali and Burkina claim that cotton, their entry into the world market, is threatened by overwhelming subsidies from the rich nations to their own producers.   Supports and subsidies for Colombian agriculture industry and exporters have been abolish...even while the industrial countries kept and even increased them without considering that this is incompatible with the theory and practice of free trade.”


JAMAICA:  "George Bush Goes To Africa"


Dr. John Rapley opined in moderate, influential Daily Gleaner (7/10):  "I tire of United States presidents who visit Africa, call for justice, but do little to promote it.  During his African tour, Bill Clinton apologized for slavery....  Now it is George W. Bush's turn.  Once again he visited Goree Island and denounced slavery.  But what will he bring to the table to show his government's commitment to righting past wrongs?  Not surprisingly, the cynics are saying that this tour, as did Mr. Clinton's, targets Africa less than African-American voters....  This may be an opportune time for an American initiative to support state-building in Africa.  U.S. aid used to be governed entirely by strategic considerations of America's Cold War interests, thereby propping up a U.S.-friendly dictator like Mobutu.  Today, aid is more likely to support economic development. Mr. Bush has promised a bold new package for some African governments via his initiatives on AIDS and the so-called Millennium Challenge fund.  But as with previous initiatives, we have yet to see the money....  The leaders of the rich countries, who may talk a good line on justice, now need to put their money where their mouths are."




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