President George W. Bush recently gave his farewell speech to the nation. The reaction to his speech on social media, television and radio has been most calling him the “lame duck,” the “dumbest President ever,” etc. While President Bush absolutely gets an F for invading Iraq and leaving a gaping hole in the pocket books of most Americans, when it comes to Africa, he gets a B+ if not A-. President George W. Bush has been good to Africa and arguably, the growth and exodus of African professionals back to the continent has a lot to do with the kinds of trade policies and partnership President Bush instituted during his reign with Africa. We think great minds can agree to, objectively, give credit where credit is due. As such it is only fitting we point out his track record with respect to Africa and let it do the talking.
BUSH’S AFRICA LEGACY/RECORD
- First President to meet with twenty five African head of States in the first two years of office.
- 30% increase in assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa from fiscal year 2001-2003.
- Under his administration and support, debt canceled for twenty seven African states.
- The first and largest contributor to donate over $500 million to Global HIV/AIDS Fund.
- Under his adminstration and support, $34 billion debt cancelled for 27 countries in Africa.
- Very relevant to what we do here at Ladybrille, implemented the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, a trade peference program that provides for beneficial tarriff opportunities for imported products from Africa. 90% of products imported from Africa to the USA are duty free. See Ladybrille’s interview with the United States Trade Office on AGOA.
- Directly responsible for the North-South peace deals in Sudan. Also directly involved in helping facilitate the ending of wars in Sierra Leone and the Congo.
- Initiated the USA Malaria initiative that has halved Malaria in fifteen African countries.
The list goes on and might we add that even on a domestic level, he remains the President with the most diverse cabinet, yet. He was the first President to have a Black Secretary of State, Colin Powell. He was also the first President to have a Black woman as the Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice [First Black woman and second African American to hold the position]. His administration was filled with a very diverse staff, from the Chief White House photographer who is a Black man to the current Chef who is a minority woman, among many.
Again, while we agree that the US had no business in Iraq, it doesn’t diminish the positive and strong work this President has done for the less fortunate in a place that really matters, Africa.
Resources: Center for Global Development
BBC News, ‘Has Bush Been Africa’s Best Friend? ‘[Jan. 16th, 2009]
The Sullivan Foundation, “Bush Record on Africa, Hard to Follow.” [Oct. 2007]
President Bush, Africa Policy, White House Website