TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Trip to Tanzania to solidify Bush legacy

Wednesday, 06 February 2008

Source: IPP Media

President Bush’s trip to Tanzania and other four African nations from February 15 to 21 trip is going to be „very historic and significant“ because it will „solidify one of the strongest components“ of his legacy: Africa, said the first and former assistant U.S. trade representative for Africa, Rosa Whitaker.

A statement issued yesterday by the American Embassy in Dar es Salaam quoted Whitaker, who is now president and chief executive officer of her own U.S. Africa trade consulting firm the Whitaker Group as saying that when one looks at President Bush`s trip to Tanzania, Benin, Rwanda, Ghana and Liberia, the benefits cannot be measured.

„One, he is bringing the global media with him that will shine a spotlight on the promise of Africa and its remaining challenges. The second thing I like about this trip is he is going to consult with African leaders,“ Whitaker said in the statement.

Under the Bush administration, Whitaker recalled, there have been a number of excellent Africa initiatives such as the President`s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an enhanced African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), and initiatives on education and malaria prevention.

The Bush trip - which is his second presidential trip to Africa, Whitaker recalled is solid evidence that „America is abandoning the traditional tokenism and `parachute diplomacy of U.S. policy toward Africa.

That,“ she said, is now being replaced with a coherent and sustained approach that rewards African nations that are committed to stable democracies and open markets.

„If you look at the countries he has chosen they are all stable democracies and open markets. These are precisely the countries that need to be supported, along with others,“ she said.

All of the countries being visited on the trip, she said, are AGOA beneficiaries.

The U.S. Congress, Whitaker recalled, is now in the process of considering further AGOA enhancements, such as the possibility of making the trade Act permanent rather than having it expire in 2015, expanding its coverage by an additional 1,600 products, and providing tax incentives for American companies that make investment in labour-intensive sectors in Africa.

Whitaker was asked to comment on Bush`s Africa legacy and the fact that his trip coincides with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Department of State’s Africa Bureau.

„If you look at President Bush`s legacy and where that legacy is strongest,“ she said, „it is in Africa. I think we have to thank (Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs) Ambassador (Jendayi) Frazer and the Africa Bureau for a lot of that work.“

Whitaker said she always has believed that „the who is far more important than the what, so it is going to be very important that subsequent administrations have very strong assistant secretaries of state for Africa.Certainly, Ambassador Frazer is a hard act to follow.“

Looking to the future, Whitaker said she hopes to see the next U.S. president be even more focused on helping Africa because, despite the president’s dedication to the continent, „a lot of work remains.“

She expressed confidence that that will happen because there is now a strong constituency for Africa in the United States „like we have never really seen before.“

„Incumbents leaving office (like President Bush) have the opportunity to be very bold, so the Africans should be very bold in really telling the president what challenges remain (and) how some of our U.S. initiatives can be improved. From PEPFAR, to AGOA, to the Malaria Initiative, to our (U.S. Agency for International Development) programmes “we need to have some serious discussions and not merely symbolism and photo ops - as important as they might be.“

US is the largest bilateral donor to Tanzania, providing over $400 million in 2008 alone. Since 2003, the United States has provided $817 million to combat HIV/AIDS in Tanzania.

To combat malaria, the United States has provided $76.5 million. Discussing U.S. assistance to Tanzania, President Bush said, „Our compassion should be manifested in helping people who suffer from disease...

We have a strategy that`s working. It is to support a strategy that has made a difference in over a million people’s lives in a relatively quick period of time.“

The U.S. President’s historic trip to Tanzania will further strengthen the ties between the people of the United States of America and the people of Tanzania.

“ Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on

Click here to view a sector profile of Tanzania’s bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated by total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.

Other regularly updated trade statistics on include: (click each link to view)

  • AGOA-Beneficiary Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Aggregates

  • AGOA Trade by Industry Sector

  • Apparel Trade under AGOA’s Wearing Apparel Provisions

  • Latest Apparel Quotas under AGOA

  • Bilateral Trade Data for all AGOA-eligible countries individually.