News Release

Bush in Africa: Photo-Ops vs. Policies

SALIH BOOKER
Booker, the executive director of Africa Action, said today: “While Bush has made much of his commitment to fighting AIDS in Africa, this is becoming a cruel hoax… The president requested no new money this year and only $450 million in new money for 2004. He has virtually sidestepped the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, thus undermining the most important vehicle in the war on AIDS in Africa.”
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MARA VANDERSLICE
Vanderslice is the program director of Jubilee USA Network. She said today: “We are glad that President Bush is traveling to the continent of Africa. However, one of the single most pressing issues to the people of Africa will not be addressed on his tour — Africa’s debilitating foreign debts. Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa pay out $14.5 billion every year in debt service. This is more than the continent receives in foreign aid, around $12 billion, and more than is needed to stem the tide of AIDS, estimated at $10 billion annually…. The legislation on AIDS he signed into law calls on his administration to negotiate for deeper debt relief. President Bush is effectively ignoring the will of Congress.”
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BILL FLETCHER
Fletcher, president of TransAfrica Forum, said today: “Bush’s trip to Africa appears to represent, more than anything else, an opportunity to present a photo-op for the upcoming November 2004 elections.”
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MARK WEISBROT
Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, said today: “The balance of payments for Sub-Saharan Africa shows an annual net drain of more than $12 billion out of the region. This is about 4.4 percent of the region’s income, one of the highest such transfers from South to North in the world…. In other words, some of the world’s poorest countries are transferring a large amount of their income — even after taking into account the new loans and grants that they get for development assistance — to the vastly richer North.”
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NJOKI NJOROGE NJEHU
Njehu is the director of the 50 Years Is Enough Network. She said today: “President Bush’s stance on Africa should be evaluated on the basis of his administration’s policies, not stage-managed trips. For example: The administration’s position in the WTO limits or denies the means to procure HIV/AIDS medications at a reasonable price; the administration includes South Africa in the list of 35 countries to be punished for not exempting the U.S. from prosecution in the International Criminal Court; the promised $5 billion Millennium Challenge Account announced with great fanfare by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury in June 2002, after his tour with Bono, is still nowhere; the ’emergency’ $15 billion announced to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa has been spread over several years with no money available so far; the administration’s farm subsidies to the tune of $100 billion are choking off African farmers…. President Bush has refused to meet with the members of the Congressional Black Caucus.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167