Dar es Salaam - President Barack Obama ends his Africa tour
Tuesday, with an unusual double act with his predecessor George W Bush, whose
HIV/Aids programme saved millions of lives on the continent.
Democrat Obama and Republican Bush will together lay a
wreath at a memorial to those killed in a US embassy bombing here in 1998, in
an appearance the White House says is proof that both feuding parties care
Obama will also visit the Ubungo power plant, after
unveiling a new $7bn programme, a mix of private and public funds, loan
guarantees and other instruments, to boost African electric power networks.
The initiative is designed to improve infrastructure to
incentivise foreign firms to invest and to improve conditions for Africans
seeking the kind of education that would help them compete in a global
Bush is in the country for a forum of regional first ladies,
hosted by his wife Laura, which will also be attended by Michelle Obama.
Obama came to power lambasting the former president over the
Iraq war and his economic policies, but White House aides say they now have good
personal relations - aided by Bush's decision not to publicly criticise his
But even Bush's political foes praise him for his plan to
fight HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria, which is now a decade old.
"This is one of his crowning achievements," Obama
said on Monday.
"Because of the commitment of the Bush administration
and the American people, millions of people's lives have been saved,"
Delighted crowds thronged Obama when he arrived on Monday,
free to drive home the message that he wanted to help "Africa to build
Africa, for Africans" after days paying tribute to his ailing political
hero Nelson Mandela.
As well as the power plan, Obama is pushing initiatives to
boost regional trade with America, to tear down customs and border logjams
delaying exports and to save Africa's endangered elephants and rhinos.
Tanzania, the final leg of an three-nation continental tour,
is the kind of African democracy, aided by US health and infrastructure
programs, that Washington wants to see duplicated in a region scarred by poor
"Ultimately the goal here is for Africa to build
Africa, for Africans," Obama said after talks with Tanzanian President
"And our job is to be a partner in that process, and
Tanzania's been one of our best partners," Obama said, saying that
"we are looking at a new model that's based not just on aid and
It did not escape Washington's notice that Xi Jinping
included Tanzania on his first foreign trip as president of China in March.
Throughout his Africa journey, which also included South
Africa and Senegal, Obama has implicitly touted US-style investment and
partnership as superior to Beijing's own Africa push, arguing US firms do more
to build local economic capacity.
When Air Force One touched down after a flight from Cape
Town in Dar es Salaam, Obama was serenaded by marching bands in red tunics and
traditional dancers clapping as a guard of honour blasted off a 21-gun salute.
Moment of great promise
Huge crowds, perhaps the biggest of his presidency, save for
a trip to Myanmar last year, packed the roads into town. Kikwete said he had
never seen such a welcome for a foreign leader.
"You are a true friend of Tanzania and a dear friend of
Africa," he said.
The promenade separating Tanzania's State House from the
glittering blue water of the Indian Ocean has been renamed Barack Obama Drive
and proclaimed its name with a freshly painted sign.
"In Africa we have so many countries, so Obama choosing
to come to Tanzania, it makes us feel happy," said Francis Gedyman, 26, a
On Tuesday, Obama will inspect a new invention that places a
generator unit inside a football, which can be taken home after a kick around
to power up lamps or even mobile electronic devices.
"Even as this continent faces great challenges this is
also a moment of great promise for Africa," Obama later said in a speech
on trade given to leading business figures from around the east Africa region.
"I see Africa as the world's next major economic
success story and the United States wants to be a partner in that success.
Obama and Bush last met when the president attended the
opening of the Republican's presidential library in Dallas in April.
The bombing of the US embassy in Tanzania which killed 11
people was timed to coincide with a separate attack on the US embassy in the
Kenyan capital Nairobi that left 213 dead and several thousand wounded.