Bush began a six-day, five-nation tour of Africa on Friday, hoping to showcase progress on AIDS and malaria and his commitment to economic development on the world’s poorest continent.Bush and first lady Laura Bush will visit Benin, Ghana and Tanzania — three of Africa’s most stable countries — as well as Liberia and Rwanda, which have emerged from civil wars. By all accounts, Bush has done more to combat the AIDS pandemic that has devastated Africa than any other president, and even his harshest critics usually credit him for paying attention to a region often neglected by Washington. His five-year, $15 billion AIDS relief plan is the largest-ever international health initiative devoted to one disease, raising the number of people on anti-retroviral treatments from 50,000 to 1.3 million. And while Much of the world has soured on the United States, a surveys by the Pew Global Attitudes Project show that Africa is one place where it is held in high regard.
The White House says the trip is an opportunity to demonstrate US commitment to these countries and to Africa in general.