George H.W. Bush took Africa seriously

President George H.W. Bush found Africa worthy of his attention, and as his assistant secretary of State for African affairs, I found his optimism towards the continent encouraging. “There is no reason why Africans and their governments can’t do as well as people in other regions,” he would say, and he worked to see that America helped.

Both as president and through his numerous other foreign-facing roles, Bush understood Africa’s potential, as well as the basis for its struggles. Bush supported financing democracy and good-governance programs in Africa, but our emphasis was on conflict resolution: he saw that there could be no progress in development while wars cut all of the gains. Bush’s hands-on approach led to a number of outstanding successes in the drive to end African…

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