During his six day tour in Africa last month Bush spent three nights in Tanzania. President Kikwete is a close friend of his and that friendship has paid off for the country. In Dar es Salaam Bush signed an agreement to give Tanzania over 700 million dollars for infrastructure repair (roads, electricity, clean water) and AIDS/malaria prevention over the next five years. It is the largest gift to date from the Millennium Challenge Corp. Tanzania has made good use of the money given in 2005 so they apparently have warranted more. Kikwete's recent firing of his prime minister and sacking of his cabinet for corruption has further endeared him to Americans and Tanzanians. Bush has been talking a lot about how only governments with strong democracies and less corruption will be getting donations. It is encouraging that the rest of the world is learning what a peaceful democracy Tanzania is. If anything, it will bring more tourist dollars as people flock there instead of their neighbor Kenya.
In Dar es Salaam Bush made a visit to Amana Hospital in Ilala district. This was the hospital where I trained with the midwives in 2000. A new spiffy maternity unit was built in 2005 and apparently some of the Millennium Challenge money was used to make more units to help with the treatment of HIV and Malaria (hence the visit from Bush). The photos of the outpatient waiting area were impressive. Some good paint, tiles and scrubbing went into that place before his visit.
Bush spent one day in Arusha to visit a bednet factory, district hospital (built with American funds) and the Emusoi Center school for Maasai girls (the Catholic version of the Lutheran's Maasai Girls Secondary School). He announced today that we were donating bednets for every child under the age of 5 in the country.
Bush is smart for focusing on this part of his legacy at the end of his term. The money the US has spent on these development projects so far through the Millennium Challenge has made a lot of difference.
Here are some links to stories and photo slide shows:
Bush in Arusha
Article about opinions of Bush and Obama with a good gallery of photos
Story about impressive drops in Malaria rates on Zanzibar
As we watch our tax dollars go to the government we like to tell ourselves that maybe all our money will go to these efforts.