Posted by: Lister | January 15, 2009

Bush is popular in Africa

I do not like Bush. Not even a little. But I don’t blame the Africans for liking him. The Independent (Feb 2008):

A recent report from the Pew Global Attitudes Project found that “the US image is much stronger in Africa than in other regions of the world”. At least 80 per cent of respondents in Ghana, Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire were favourable to the US. In all other sub-Saharan African countries polled, there were more “favourables” than “non-favourables”. Part of the reason for that support is money. Lots of it.

When President Bush came to power in 2001, the US spent $1.4bn a year on humanitarian and development aid in Africa. By 2006, the figure had quadrupled to $5.6bn a year. And it is likely to get bigger. The centrepiece of Mr Bush’s aid to Africa is the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Pepfar), a five-year, $15bn Aids prevention and treatment programme launched in 2003. His most recent budget proposes doubling the funding to $30bn over the next five years.

Despite rows over the programme’s emphasis on abstinence and faithfulness to one partner rather than condoms to control Aids, it has helped to fund anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs for 1.3 million people across the continent. Before, the US funded ARV treatment for just 50,000 people.

Taken alongside US funding for malaria prevention, plus the Millennium Challenge Accounts, which provide funding for countries with strong governance records, Mr Bush has done more for Africa than any other US president, according to Joel Barkan, a senior associate at the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies. “I am a very severe critic of the Bush administration,” he said, “but you cannot take away from the president the fact that the commitment of the US, in terms of aid and debt relief, is certainly greater under Bush than Clinton.”

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