- The Washington Times - Friday, June 21, 2002

President Bush announced to a crowd of African leaders and dinner guests last night that he would travel to Africa next year as part of increased U.S. efforts to encourage the continent's development.
Speaking at a dinner in the District honoring the late black development activist Leon H. Sullivan, Mr. Bush pledged to fight what he called the three greatest obstacles to African development by increasing financial aid to the continent by $700 million over the next five years.
His plan earmarks $500 million to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean by funding voluntary testing for mothers, prevention counseling, and what he called "comprehensive therapy." Nearly two million Africans are born with the virus each year, and 2,000 infants die of AIDS each day.
While Mr. Bush also promised to send U.S. health care professionals to train and work with African doctors, he said the continent must be responsible for showing results.
"America will not build this new Africa," Mr. Bush said. "Africans will." He said funding would continue if African health care showed progress.
Building on the $200 million he has already proposed to improve African basic education over the next five years, Mr. Bush also said he would double that amount, providing teacher education, 4.5 million textbooks, and scholarships for African girls.
While he did not specify where he would visit on his African tour, Mr. Bush said it would certainly include Nigeria. He proposed that his trip coincide with the next forum of the African Growth and Opportunity Act on the continent.
Mr. Bush's speech opened this year's Sullivan Summit banquet, which honored Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo with the Sullivan Special Service Award, named for the American leader responsible for pushing U.S. sanctions against apartheid South Africa and with the principles under which U.S. businesses would operate in that country.
The president also reminded Africans of his commitment to stop terrorism on the continent. He warned Sudan against supporting terrorism within its own borders, chiding it for hindering humanitarian food deliveries and promoting slavery.
"Sudan can and must do more," he said. "And Sudan's government must understand that ending its sponsorship of terror outside Sudan is no substitute for efforts to stop war inside Sudan."


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