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Bush Looks Up To Nigeria To Keep Peace In Africa

This Day (Lagos), 12 February 2001

Lagos—Bush of the United States has said he would look up to Nigeria to keep apart all the warring groups in Africa and would therefore help Nigeria to achieve this.

Speaking during a visit to the Tree Top Toys and Books Mclean, in Virginia in his effort to garner support for his tax cut reforms, Bush stated, In terms of having a peaceful continent, it is very important for us to work with countries like Nigeria to enable Nigeria have an effective peacekeeping force, to keep warring parties apart on that continent.

He reiterated the statements by his Secretary of State, Colin Powell and National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice that Africa will not be neglected during his tenure as President.

. . .the first place to start on the economic front is to make sure we have free and fair trade with the African continent. There ought to be significant trade back and forth and we ought to explore opportunities for that.

If there are barriers, and some are worried about the textile industry barriers for example, we need to examine them all, and I will instruct Robert Zoellick to do just that, he said.

Bush also said the US will continue to promote freedom, democracy, and opportunity through open markets. But more importantly, he said the major problem with African nations is the inability of the international community to react appropriately and on time to forestall crisis.

Often times on that important continent, things get out of hand, and they could have been prevented in the first place, which means to have the secretary of state and the National Security Advisor pay attention to Africa, which we will do, Bush said.

On his visit to Africa, he said, I’ve got a lot of work to do here, to work with congress, to make sure that the principles that I think are important are inherent in these different pieces of legislation.

I will be making trips, but I’m not exactly sure when I would be going to Africa, he said.

Only last week, Bush spoke to President Olusegun Obasanjo pledging his support for democracy and economic development plans in Nigeria. He has also in his initiative for the relationship with Africa expressed admiration for the Nigerian role in regional stability.

Also in a televised appearance recently, Powell described Nigeria and South Africa as the main pockets of Success in Africa Bush’s present stance on Africa is an improvement over his pre-election statements when he said Africa was not strategic to the US.

However, Bush also last week Tuesday at an economic event at a suburb of Washington stated that his administration would give Africa the same attention that America will pay to other continents including Latin America and Asia.

Giving reasons for this turn around, Bush added it was important not to neglect Africa and noted that his government would rather anticipate problems that could arise from that continent before they broke.

Although Bush received few votes from African Americans, he gave two key positions to them in his cabinet.

Bush’s Secretary of State, Collin Powell and his National Security Adviser, Condoleeza Rice are African Americans.

Former President, Bill Clinton paid significant interest to Africa. During his tenure, he visited several African countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda, Egypt among others.

He also worked very hard to ensure the passage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which is the main basis for the opening of a new economic relationship with the US.