DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (AP) — Basking in an exuberant welcome, President Barack Obama on Monday declared a new era in U.S. relations with Africa based on strategic investment as opposed to charitable aid.
Obama’s visit to Tanzania, the last stop on a three-country tour of the continent, offers him a unique opportunity to meet with a fellow U.S. president hailed for his Africa aid programs. Former President George W. Bush plans to be in the same capital city for a conference on African women organized by his institute.
The presidents’ brief meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, highlights how the U.S. philosophy on relations with the developing continent has evolved since the time when Bush was in office.
Obama praised Bush’s funding for AIDS treatment in particular during a news conference with President Jakaya Kikwete, shortly after his arrival to teeming crowds cheering along his motorcade route.
“I think this is one of his crowning achievements,” Obama said of Bush’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. “Because of the commitment of the Bush administration and the American people, millions of lives have been saved.”
But Obama said he wants to change the approach.
“We are looking at a new model that’s based not just on aid and assistance, but on trade and partnership,” he said. For example, he said he doesn’t want to just provide food aid but help for Tanzanians to grow their own.
“Ultimately, the goal here is for Africa to build Africa for Africans,” Obama said. “And our job is to be a partner in that process.”