Get AfricaFocus Bulletin by e-mail!
Print this page
Note: This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published
by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action
from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived
document may not work.
US/Africa: Show Us the Money!
Africa Policy E-Journal
July 9, 2003 (030709)
US/Africa: Show Us the Money!
(Reposted from sources cited below)
According to a July 8 Reuters story from Goree Island after
President Bush's brief visit there, local residents were outraged
as they were removed from their homes and taken to a football
stadium on the other side of the island until the presidential
party had left. "It's humiliating. The whole island was deserted,"
one resident told the Reuters reporter, who noted that on the
normally bustling island, the only people to be seen were U.S.
officials and secret service agents.
It remains to be seen whether the President will have any more
opportunity to listen to non-official African voices on other stops, but
civil society groups around the continent are speaking out with
challenging questions. This posting contains (1) a joint letter from
several continent-wide groups and South Africa's Congress of South
African Trade Unions, (2) two short notes with comments from
Ugandan activists, and (3) a letter from medical professionals
focused on questions about the president's AIDS initiative.
President George Walker Bush
President, United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C.
July 7, 2003
Dear President Bush:
As your plane touches down in Dakar, Senegal, we welcome the
opportunity of your visit to examine the US Africa relationship and
to establish ties that are based on honesty, respect and a clear
commitment to removing the structural obstacles that impede
Africa's development. We would like to raise the following issues
for your consideration. They are not new ones, but there is an
opportunity, with your visit, to act decisively and change the
image and relationship of your Administration with Africa.
The proposed visit to five African countries has been scheduled to
clash with the Second Heads of Summit meeting in Maputo,
Mozambique. It is unclear how the Administration could be so out of
step with African continental institutions by not seeking to attend
this important meeting. As arranged, the trip will rather serve as
a distraction to the African Union meeting.
We notice that your planning team has omitted those countries like
Tanzania and Kenya that have directly suffered from terrorist
attacks against US interests and citizens. This is odd given the
tremendous cost that these countries have borne and continue to
bear as a result of their relationship with the US. Furthermore,
the highly selective programme excludes civil society and the
business communities who could have offered constructive and
prepositional conversation around US foreign policy, aid and trade.
As constructed, the agenda appears to offer little else than a
series of photo opportunities starting with Goree Island and ending
in a Ugandan AIDS clinic with shots of our Presidents in between.
This trip may boost the Republican campaign image among the
African-American community before elections. However, it does very
little to boost confidence on the continent that this is a working
visit that will afford time and space for Africans to share their
aspirations and engage the Administration on the need for the US to
change its policies and practices toward Africa.
There is still time though should you choose to act on the
substantive issues we raise below.
- Delivery not spin on HIV/AIDS is needed:
Two thirds of the 25 million people who have died are Africans. In
Zimbabwe alone, more than 3000 people are dying each week from the
disease. There is no doubt this is one of the gravest issues
confronting the continent, yet the Global Health Fund is short on
resources. While welcoming the public pledge of US$15 billion to a
unilateral US Global AIDS programmes, we note your Administration's
request for 2004 is a miserly $450 million. Mr. Bush, where is the
$15 Billion that you have promised to fight AIDS in Africa and the
Caribbean? Show us the money!
The quality of US health programmes have suffered from the reliance
on patented drugs and the restriction of health programmes that
promote abstinence from sex rather than safe sex. We call on you to
heed the demand of African leaders and women's organisations for a
change in these policies and those promoting health cut backs. The
demand for the right to import and manufacture generic drugs is a
moral imperative. This trip would be an opportunity to express your
support for Africans to access cheap generic drugs and to promote
women's rights to control their own fertility.
- Decrease uni-lateral militarisation, facilitate regional
Several African conflicts are leading to the deaths, displacement
and impoverishment of millions of African women, men and children.
African leaders have tried individually and collectively to respond
to these conflicts despite the debilitating effects of structural
adjustment policies (which the US supports) and debt servicing.
The US needs to provide adequate logistical and financial support
for peacekeeping, peacemaking and peace-building in Sudan, Liberia,
Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Burundi. It can do this
through cooperation and collaboration with existing efforts such as
the ECOWAS-sponsored peace conference in Liberia, the South
African-led peace efforts in Burundi and the United Nations and
French-led operations in the DRC.
At the same time, civil society organizations in Africa would like
to register their unequivocal opposition to the further
militarisation of the continent by the proposed setting up of new
military bases in Africa as well as the expansion of others, i.e.
Djibouti. We are not unmindful of the past US military role in
Africa. In fact a number of Africa's civil wars are products of US
military support, including Liberia, the DRC, and the recently
ended Angolan war. The move to militarize the continent cannot be
justified by US economic interests in our oil or in protecting
Africa from terrorism.
We call on the US to roll back the current plans to create "forward
operating bases" on African soil and desist from promoting
bi-lateral agreements that exempt both US and African citizens from
prosecution under the International Criminal Court. With great
power comes responsibility for one's actions. This should also
apply to the US.
- Why is Iraq's debt different from Africa's?:
It has long been established that Africa's debt burden is a major
obstacle to Africa's development objectives. The servicing of
Africa's debt has made it extremely difficult, if not impossible,
for the continent to invest in the productive sector, health and
Mr. Bush, will you announce US support for the unconditional
cancellation of Africa's debt while in Africa? If Iraqi's debt can
be cancelled, then surely there is nothing to stop you from doing
the same for Africa.
- Dumping is not Fair Trade:
In your pre-visit media briefings, you made reference to free trade
and AGOA as a panacea for Africa's economic woes, yet your
Administration practices protectionist policies, offers tremendous
subsidies and is aggressively promoting patents on all living and
non-living resources. Agriculture is Africa's competitive advantage
and the only form of livelihood for 70% of its population. Africa's
poverty is the direct consequence of the inability to export
agricultural commodities at fair prices and to access US
We call on you to announce a moratorium on subsidies to US farmers,
desist from championing risky GM products and to take measures that
will enhance market access for Africa's agricultural products.
- Democracy is a principle, not a matter of expediency:
African people across the continent are establishing and holding
accountable democratic governments. In these cases, US support like
elsewhere in the world is welcome. The practice of externally
induced "regime change" as we have seen in the recent past is not
welcome. Africans reserve the right to elect and/or recall their
leaders through democratic processes. We view with deep concern,
the pressure that is placed on African Governments to adopt laws
that contravene national constitutions and to act in a manner that
strips their citizens or residents of their fundamental freedoms
and access to the rule of law such as the recent case of four
Moslems in Malawi suspected of being linked to Al Qaeda. This
divides Africa along racial and religious lines.
We would have liked an opportunity to express these thoughts more
directly and hear your responses. However we note with concern that
the space for civil society in the US to comment on and/or critique
your administration policies has shrunk considerably. We are not
surprised that civil society in Africa as well did not feature in
We deeply share the pain and suffering of Americans resulting from
September 11 events and the sense of urgency to bring this
insecurity to an end. However, we think that US-Africa relations
cannot not be driven by the US War Against Terrorism or US
interests in Africa as an emerging market or as supplier of 15% of
We make these appeals because we believe there are obligations that
come with being the world's only super power. Furthermore, the
people of the US and Africa have a history that is intertwined.
Crimes against African humanity were conducted during slavery and
during the cold war. In that sense the US has an ethical burden
to act in ways that exude justice, human rights and a genuine
respect for democracy. We ask not for charity, we seek justice. We
look to your trip to to act decisively and change the image and
relationship of your Administration with Africa.
Coordinator, African Women Empowerment Network (AWEPON), Uganda
Congress of South African Trade Unions,
African Women Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), Kenya
Director, Econews Africa, Kenya
Executive Director, Mwelekeo wa NGO (MWENGO), Zimbabwe
c.c. Hon. Colin Powell, Secretary of State,
Hon. Andrew Natsios, Administrator, USAID.
Co-Director, Foreign Policy in Focus/Institute for Policy Studies,
Executive Director, AfricaAction, US
President, Transafrica, US
Executive Director, Washington Office on Africa, US
Njoki Njoroge Njehu
Director, 50 Years Is Enough: U.S. Network for Global Economic
CIVICUS Citizens World Alliance, South Africa
Tuesday, July 8th, 2003 - The Monitor - Kampala, Uganda
Activist dares Bush on AIDS
By Carolyne Nakazibwe
Renowned HIV/AIDS activist, Ms. Milly Katana, has challenged
President George W. Bush, who is visiting Africa, to leave behind
a signed cheque of $3 billion to fight the pandemic worldwide.
Katana, from the Health Rights Action Group - Uganda, asked Bush to
fulfil the many promises to US government has made.
She said in an email to The Monitor on Friday from Yaounde
(Cameroon), that President Yoweri Museveni needs $63 million (Shs
125.4 billion) per year to treat persons living with HIV and to
stop preventable deaths.
"Therefore, if President Museveni got a cheque, or a firm
promissory note of $315 million, he would be able to disable the
[HIV] that is just ready to grow into another [AIDS] epidemic in a
country that is celebrated for having conquered AIDS," Katana said.
She said that during his stop-over at Entebbe on Friday, Bush
should be clear about the $3 billion needed to fight AIDS worldwide
in 2004 and the need to inject more money into the Global Find to
Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
Bush will meet with President Museveni during his four hour visit
to Uganda this Friday, as part of his first official tour of
According to the State Department Website, AIDS is top on Bush's
agenda in Uganda.
The Uganda Coalition for Access To Essential Medicines
contact: Rosette Mutambi / firstname.lastname@example.org
+ 256 41 270 970 / mobile +256 77 484 075
Rob Mealey <rmealey@SMCVT.EDU>
8th July 2003
Coalition on Affordable Medicines to Question Bush
The Uganda Coalition for Access To Essential Medicines invites
members of the press and other interested parties to join us in the
Green Room at the National Theatre from 10am to 11am on Thursday
July 10th 2003. Members of the Coalition will be gathered to raise
some questions relating US President George W. Bush's plans to
spend US$15 billion fighting HIV/AIDS.
President Bush, who will be in Uganda for four hours on Friday, has
put Uganda forward as the African exemplar in the fight against
HIV/AIDS. As far as prevention work is concerned, we agree Uganda
is a leading example. However President Bush, in his State of the
Union Address this January spoke of doctors turning away patients
because they had no medicines or money to purchase them. He spoke
of people dying because they could afford the most basic of
prophylactic medicines. He was speaking not about prevention there
but about access to essential medicines. In Uganda only 10% of
people needing lifesaving Anti-retroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS can
access them. We hope he is not going to take this an example to
follow and we want to know more about how his plans will address
The speakers will include:
Rosette Mutambi - Coordinator of Uganda Access Coalition Dr.
Florence Mahoro - International Forum of People Living with
HIV/AIDS Arthur Mpeirwe - Legal Counsel for the Uganda Access
Coalition Dr. Lydia Mungherera - Coordinator of the Kampala
District Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS and Chair of
the AIDS Treatment and Empowerment Initiative
The Uganda Coalition for Access to Essential Medicines is a group
of civil society organizations and individuals that have come
together to advocate for increased access to essential medicines.
The Coalition wishes to raise some serious concerns and questions
about the HIV/AIDS policies of US President George W. Bush as he
comes to visit our country.
VENUE: Green Room, National Theatre, Kampala TIME: 10am - 11am
Physicians for Human Rights
http://www.phrusa.org - http://www.healthactionaids.org
Media Contacts: Barbara Ayotte
Tel: 617 695- 0041 ext. 210 (617) 549-0152 mobile
July 7, 2003
As President Bush travels to Africa, leading African health
professionals are urging him to take specific steps to combat the
global HIV/AIDS pandemic. Joined by 63 American colleagues, 31
African doctors and nurses practicing medicine in the age of AIDS
in 13 countries, in a letter to the President, shared their
essential concerns including critical medicines, safe health care,
earning a decent living and protecting human rights. They suggest
ways in which the United States can help support them in their
efforts to address monumental needs created by the AIDS crisis.
The letter was coordinated by the Health Action AIDS a project of
Physicians for Human Rights. The health professionals work in
Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan, South Africa, Senegal, Rwanda,
Malawi, Kenya, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, and
Zimbabwe. (See http://www.phrusa.org and
http://www.healthactionaids.org for full text of letter and
"The President needs to step into AIDS-stricken communities, talk
to parents and children, and visit home-based care services to see
firsthand the devastating toll AIDS is taking on wide swaths of the
continent," said Dr. Leana Uys, Chair of South African Nurses in
AIDS Care. "Only then will he understand the true meaning of what
he said earlier this year, 'never has history offered the
opportunity to do so much for so many.'"
The letter underscores the importance of Congress appropriating $3
billion for HIV/AIDS for fiscal year 2004 (including support for
the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria) and the
need for the Administration to live up to its commitment of
treating 2 million people by 2006 and preventing 7 million new
infections. It is signed by leading American AIDS experts such as
Allan Rosenfield, MD, of the Mailman School of Public Health,
Columbia University; Karen Ivantic-Doucette, MSN, RN, ACRN, of
Marquette University College of Nursing and a member of the
Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS; Joia S. Mukherjee, MD,
MPH, Medical Director of Partners In Health and Director of HIV
Equity Initiative, Zanmi Lasante; Paul A. Volberding, MD, Professor
and Vice-Chair of Medicine, UCSF and Co-Director USCF-GIVI Center
for AIDS Research; and Eric Goosby, MD, CEO, Pangaea Global AIDS
Foundation. Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, MD, also signed
In addition to calling for the Bush initiative to fund essential
medicines including anti-retroviral drugs, the letter calls on the
President to help address the needs of the AIDS crisis by:
- Training doctors and nurses and other health workers how to
properly administer and monitor AIDS medication
- Providing logistical management support to ensure that
facilities are adequately stocked with supplies, health care
workers adhere to proper practices and resources are allocated
- Promoting safe health care, including injection safety and
universal precautions for health care workers so that they can
protect themselves. Basic supplies like gloves and single-use
syringes, better training, and proper ways to dispose of used
syringes and needles will go a long way on this front.
- Providing support so that health care workers can practice
medicine to the best of their abilities. For instance, doctors need
to earn a decent living so that they can concentrate on their
patients rather than on the survival of their families. In
addition, medical workers need to have access to adequate
facilities where clean water and electricity are in constant
- Eliciting local, on-the-ground, input in determining how the $15
billion Bush initiative will be spent.
- Basing the U.S. HIV/AIDS initiative on proven best practices,
which is particularly relevant for those in society who are least
popular and most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, including street children,
sex workers, homosexuals and injecting drug users.
- Supporting the strengthening of legal systems so that judicial
system prosecute rape, sex trafficking, and child prostitution and
protect those living with HIV/AIDS from discrimination. Protecting
the human rights of people living with HIV/AIDS particularly those
who are most vulnerable.
The medical leaders ask President Bush to "see people with HIV/AIDS
as we see them. We hope that you will see the whole person, a
person whose needs extend far beyond the narrow scope of
anti-retroviral medications and HIV prevention messages, a person
who also needs adequate nutrition and clean water, health and
education, hope for the future."
Date distributed (ymd): 030709
Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +economy/development+
+security/peace+ +US policy focus+
The Africa Action E-Journal is a free information service
provided by Africa Action, including both original
commentary and reposted documents. Africa Action provides this
information and analysis in order to promote U.S. and
international policies toward Africa that advance economic,
political and social justice and the full spectrum of